The Role of Community Partnerships in the Support of Postsecondary Students From Refugee Contexts
This qualitative study sought to identify how postsecondary institutions and non-profit organizations can work together to best support the needs of students from refugee contexts, particularly at a time when global refugee migration is high (UNICEF, 2016). A review of literature revealed that refugee and international students may face many challenges when transitioning to a new country and educational environment, and that postsecondary institutions can take steps to help ensure such students’ success. The study took place in two geographical areas in Southern Ontario in close proximity to one another. Fifteen individual interviews were conducted, each lasting an average of approximately 35 minutes, with staff and administrators from postsecondary institutions and non-profit organizations to develop an understanding of the services they have in place to support the needs of students from refugee contexts and what they feel would help them better support this group. Findings indicate that although there is a lack of services specific to students from refugee contexts being offered in the postsecondary sector, many services are offered for newcomers more generally. It was found that there is some collaboration between postsecondary institutions and non-profit organizations in support of newcomers, but there is also a desire for more. Participants in this study shared insights about how they can be supported in their goal to deliver effective programming to newcomers. The study concludes by offering a series of recommendations on how postsecondary institutions can work with non-profit organizations to better support students from refugee contexts.