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Queen’s welcomes new director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre

Kandice Baptiste joins the university community next month.


Kandice Baptiste
Kandice Baptiste has been appointed as the director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. She will take up the position in February. (Supplied Photo) 

Kandice Baptiste is looking forward to “returning home” after years in the post-secondary education sector in Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo. Ms. Baptiste, who is originally from Tyendinaga, will succeed Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) as the new director of the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre at Queen’s in February, now that Ms. Hill has become the university’s inaugural director, Office of Indigenous Initiatives.

"I’m humbled to have the opportunity to work on my own territory,” says Ms. Baptiste. "It’s exciting to join such a prestigious university that has taken a leadership role on reconciliation work. I look forward to continuing the work of Kanonhsyonne and the amazing staff and students at Four Directions, building a welcoming, inclusive, and diverse Indigenous community on campus.”

Ms. Baptiste most recently worked as manager, Indigenous Initiatives at Wilfrid Laurier University, where her responsibilities included managing the Indigenous Student Centre and its staff at the Brantford campus. She was previously senior project coordinator at the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) in Toronto, where she guided the development of the “Future Further” campaign. 

She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at Wilfrid Laurier, during which time she founded the Indigenous Students' Association, played varsity basketball, served as the university’s first Indigenous student intern, and was the driving student force as Laurier developed and launched its Office of Indigenous Initiatives. Ms. Baptiste began her professional career at Laurier as the institution’s first Indigenous student recruiter and retention officer. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Kandice to Queen’s and to the Student Affairs team,” says Corinna Fitzgerald, Assistant Dean, Student Life and Learning, Division of Student Affairs. “It’s an exciting time in Four Directions, as they continue to build upon the extensive work done under Jan’s leadership. In addition to her strong focus on students, Kandice brings with her a broad perspective from across the sector through her work with at the COU, and a thoughtful management style established in her time at Laurier.”

In the fall, Four Directions also welcomed Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) in a new role as an elder-in-residence and cultural counsellor. The centre has also expanded outreach initiatives in local elementary schools and, in partnership with Queen’s Residence Life, launched the Bimaadiziwin Ka’nikonhriyo Indigenous and Allies Living and Learning Community. 

The centre will be doubling in size this year; planning is underway for renovations to the existing building at 146 Barrie St., and to the building next door. The current plan is for one building to be used for gatherings and activities, including feasts and cultural programming, while the other will be offices, where students will meet one-on-one with staff, and student study spaces including a first-floor library.

Visit the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre  website to learn more.