This is the final week for applications to the four-year joint law degree program with the University of Saskatchewan at Nunavut Arctic College — the first time a law program has been offered in the territory for over a decade.
"So far, we have about 30 applications that we've received for the program and we have space for 25 students, so there will be a selection process," said Eric Corneau, dean of the Arctic College Nunatta Campus.
The deadline was extended from Dec. 30 to Jan. 6 to ensure everyone who was interested applied, said Corneau. This partnership is only set for one class to go through the four years, with no plans for it to continue afterwards.
"This is it. It's a one-shot deal, up to 25 students and that's it," said Martin Phillipson, dean of law at the University of Saskatchewan.
While the selection goes on for students in Iqaluit, at the University of Saskatchewan, Phillipson hopes to have the director of the program appointed by the end of January or early February.
"We have a very strong shortlist," he said.
The person will live in Iqaluit for the duration of the four-year program. The University of Saskatchewan's law program is a three-year program, so the first year in Nunavut is to prepare the students for legal studies, Phillipson said.
As the Nunavut students enter their second year of studies in September of 2018, they will have the same course load and course types as students in Saskatchewan.
Once that second year starts, "we'll be flying in faculty for sort of semi-intensive periods, six or eight weeks, to teach one or two classes at a time," Phillipson said.
The program will be delivered in English, but there are cultural components that the Arctic College will assist with, including ensuring there is an elder-in-residence and elders available to the students, he said.
And just because the program is in the North does not mean it will be any different in terms of quality, said Philipson.
"I am adamant that there will be no shortcuts, that they will get a high-quality U of S [law]degree.
"We will be working the local [legal] bar, local lawyers, and government and other things to make sure there are some courses that are of direct relevance to those who seek to practice law in Nunavut."
The program's goal is to have students who graduate stay and work in Nunavut. Applicants had to be a resident of Nunavut or a Nunavut Land Claims Beneficiary.
In preparing the program, the University of Saskatchewan drew on the experience from the last law program offered in the territory more than a decade ago. Phillipson said they spoke with professors and graduates from the University of Victoria partnership and read material that had been published.