What Sets Us Apart
Intensive, Block-Style Courses
Many of our educational programs are structured in consecutive blocks, allowing students to direct their energy to one topic at a time before moving on to the next. This model provides a great opportunity for developing connections with instructors, deeper focus, and overall retention of content. While it can sometimes take a little adjusting to, we have found intensive, block style courses very rewarding. We compliment this intensive, in-depth learning with broader discussions and learning opportunities that invite reflection and seek connections between themes.
Broad Perspectives on Complex Issues
Our courses are instructed by a mix of high impact professors from leading Canadian universities, local and traditional knowledge holders, and consultants who bring a professional perspective and fresh approach to teaching.
Our courses integrate many local community educators, people who live and work on Haida Gwaii, offering their first-hand experience, expertise, and well-developed opinions on issues examined in class. Field trips are often designed around these talks, allowing students to engage with guests in a variety of settings that reflect the context of the discussion.
By including many voices and considering different ways of knowing, we hope to provide a broad perspective on complex issues as well as opportunities for meaningful exchanges and cross-cultural learning. Local community educators are an integral and celebrated aspect of our approach to education.
The Islands are our Classroom
Our primary classroom is at the Haida Heritage Centre at Ḵay Llnagaay (Sea Lion Town), an award-winning multi-complex comprised of five contemporary cedar longhouses. This space includes the Haida Gwaii Museum, a carving shed for local artists, a performance house for community events, a bistro, a gift shop, classrooms, offices, and more. While the Haida Heritage Centre is an excellent classroom setting, our programs extend far beyond four walls and deep into the human and ecological communities of Haida Gwaii. We integrate frequent and diverse field trips to help ground course content and apply conceptual tools. In many ways, the Islands are our living, evolving classroom.
Experiential and Transformative Learning Opportunities
Our programs blend classroom instruction with opportunities for direct, hands-on learning experiences. Experiential education supports personal growth as well as the development of valuable academic and professional skills.
Through guided critical discussion and reflection, students are encouraged to explore new ways of thinking about and engaging with the world around them. Many of our alumni have found their experience to be transformative, inspiring a significant shift in their worldview.
Commitment to Community
The success of our organization depends on our relationship with the people of Haida Gwaii. We value the contribution of local educators and traditional knowledge holders, and the ongoing support of the Islands’ communities, who warmly welcome our students year after year.
We encourage local students to access our programs, with the hope of supporting more people in their post-secondary pursuits and to help build local capacity over the long term. About 10% of our graduates are from Haida Gwaii and we would like to see this number grow.
HGI fosters community economic development and diversification and works to have a positive impact on the local economy, particularly when our classes are in session during the quieter fall and winter months. As our organization continues to expand, we hope to offer more employment opportunities for local people.