Cape Breton University Announces Indigenous Dean of Unama’ki College

Cape Breton University has recently hired Laurianne Sylvester as the new Dean of Unama’ki College.

Born and raised as a Mi’kmaw woman in Membertou First Nation, Laurianne has worked in education for 20 years. Her educational journey began in her home community as an elementary teacher. She also served as Vice President of Membertou Elementary and, for more than 10 years, as the Director of Academic Services (formerly First Nation School Success Program) of Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey (MK).

“I am very much looking forward to this new experience as Dean,” says Sylvester. “My intention is to build on the existing assets, opportunities and strengths in Unama’ki College and CBU, and to integrate an Indigenous Framework that aligns with CBU’s Strategic and Academic Plans. Focusing on process and involving members from L’nu communities, their ideas, and their perspectives is a critical piece to Indigenizing the L’nu Way and Investing in Students, two major components of CBU’s strategic directions.”

As Dean, Sylvester will work to enhance Unama’ki College by supporting services and responding to L’nu students academically, emotionally, physically and spiritually, with the belief that student balance and wellness is key to student success. She looks forward to bringing her passion for Mi’kmaw Ways of Knowing and Being, and blending Mi’kmaw and Western Perspectives into the learning aspect.

“We are delighted that Ms. Sylvester has joined the Cape Breton University family as the new Dean of Unama’ki College,” says President and Vice-Chancellor, David C. Dingwall. “Through her strong leadership and sense of community, she will seek to help us build on our past and embrace new responsibilities as we grow, learn and prioritize education for Indigenous learners. Under Laurianne’s exceptional guidance we will look to further embed L’nu perspectives in the curriculum and in our campus traditions.”

Laurianne holds a Bachelor of Arts from CBU, a Bachelor of Education from St.FX and a Master’s in Education, Curriculum and Diverse Learners from MSVU. She is now working towards completing her Master’s in Leadership in Education from Acadia University.