Four Ways to Cultivate Indigenous Student Success

November 29, 2021
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Holistic and Systemic Thinking
  • SEM Plan Development
  • AM22 Supporting Today's Student
  • community
  • culture
  • indigenous students
  • tribal colleges
4 people stand in front of a projector displaying an image of nature with the words "culture at the heart" visible

SEM Session Presented by Lisa Silverstein, American Indian College Fund

A collective from the American Indian College Fund and five well-established Tribal colleges and universities (TCUs)—Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College, Salish Kootenai College, Stone Child College, United Tribes Technical College, and Oglala Lakota College—presented their SEM Conference session on Culture at the Heart: An Integrated Indigenous Approach to SEM Development. TCUs have been key players in the success of Native student postsecondary development. Although these institutions create a culturally connected environment for their faculty, staff, and students, many face a decline in degree completion and student retention rates. The presenters provided their research through unique social, cultural, and geographic lenses. 

Since they started their project in January of 2020, they have focused on cultivating Native student success by being "grounded in tradition [while] charging into the future." The presenters broke down their overarching objective into four specific action plans:

  • Increase institutional capacity to deliver more effective, efficient, and holistic student support services, which will increase student enrollment, persistence, and completion.
  • Improve annual enrollment, retention, and completion rates for American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) students and actively measure change throughout the grant period.
  • Build strategic community and tribal partnerships that leverage community resources to help remove socio-economic barriers and increase engagement for students to foster belonging and connections to tribal communities and cultures.
  • Identify best practices for increasing student success. Disseminate to colleges participating in the grant and within the tribal college system to achieve a more significant collective impact.

The research team's SEM plan of creating a community and culture of holistic student support development establishes itself through career planning services, transparency and partnerships, academic support and planning, and wellness and mental health.  

Want to learn more about AIAN culture, traditions, education, and languages? Reach out to AACRAO's Native American Caucus to gain their perspective and how you can get involved.

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