Urban and Inner-City Studies Success Stories

Fri. Jul. 31, 2015

L to R: UIC Alumni Andrea Guimond, UICS Student Kevin Settee and Professor Jim Silver

L to R: UIC Alumni Andrea Guimond, UICS Student Kevin Settee and Professor Jim Silver

Student: Kevin Settee

A double major in UICS and Geography, Kevin Settee is already a community leader.

The current Vice-President External Affairs for The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association, Settee initially came to UICS while working as a mentor at the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre. He was impressed by the close connections UICS faculty members have with communities, and how the classes allow for an exchange of information with people who often aren’t heard.

Outside of class, Settee is known for organizing community events such as the All Nations Medicine Walk. He’s also the father of a baby boy, and is passionate about his culture and Indigenous ceremony.

Settee plans to pursue graduate studies at UWinnipeg, with a goal of contributing to social change in the West End, where he grew up. “The thing that really worries me and bothers me is the persistence of poverty in our communities,” he says.

Alumni: Andrea Guimond

Andrea Guimond began working as a community justice worker—which she describes as “exactly the type of work I wanted to get into”—just as she was finishing her final classes at UWinnipeg. Guimond initially came to the UICS campus for the Beginning University Successfully (BUS) Program, and eventually earned her BA with a double major in UICS and Criminal Justice.

Guimond says she confronted many of the barriers to education that Indigenous students often face. After several years working in child and family services, she went back to school assist those in the community who face systemic barriers.

Guimond says UICS courses appealed to her because they were community-driven and grounded. “You’re a community member there, you’re not just a student,” she says, adding that she appreciated learning from faculty who are working to help the North End thrive.

Faculty Member: Jim Silver

Jim Silver’s work has kept him where he wants to be: working with communities toward meaningful social change. Most recently, this has meant teaming with the North End Community Renewal Corporation on “the Merch”, an innovative development on Selkirk Avenue that will include affordable housing, space for the community and classrooms for UICS..

Silver is concerned with uncovering causes of social problems, and finding solutions. Last year he published About Canada: Poverty, a book outlining policy changes needed to address poverty. Books he coedited slated for release this year include one about the low-income housing crisis in Canada, and another about how inequality contributes to poor health.

Silver is purposeful in his research process, working closely with those who are “doing really cool things” to improve their communities. He is also connected with UICS students, and teaches both introductory and advanced-level courses.

About Urban and Inner-City Studies:

The Urban and Inner-City Studies program is an interdisciplinary major combining traditional urban studies education with a critical examination of the unique challenges experienced by marginalized members of Canada’s urban population — such as poverty, racism and social exclusion.

Students can work toward 3-year, 4-year and Honours Bachelor of Arts Degrees, or a Minor or Certificate.

The department’s location on Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg’s North End allows for experiential learning opportunities via relationships with nearby community organizations and agencies. The small campus also serves as a welcoming bridge to university for students from the inner city, who may form close relationships with the department’s supportive staff and faculty.

The fast-growing program is preparing for a January 2017 move to an innovative new location, Merchant’s Corner, at the site of the former Merchant’s Hotel, which will include affordable housing, retail development, community access, and space for the CEDA-Pathways to Education Program.