Lumina-AIHEC Project Will Re-define Success

Aug 15th, 2004 | By | Category: 16-1: Sovereignty in Indian Country, Tribal College News

The American Indian Higher Education Consortium(AIHEC) has launched the first comprehensive attempt to re-define American Indian college student success.

Funded by a $785,000 grant from Lumina Foundation for Education, AIHEC’s American Indian Measures for Success (AIMS) project will collect student success indicators at the nation’s 34 tribal college and universities. During the two-year project, AIHEC will develop culturally-relevant measures of American Indian success in higher education, which has never before been attempted on a large scale.

AIHEC has established an advisory committee of national and local experts to develop draft indicators of success. Members are: Dr. Karen Swisher, president, Haskell Indian Nations University; Cheryl Crazy Bull, president, Northwest Indian College; Dr. James Shanley, president, Fort Peck Community College; Jamie Merisotis, president, Institute for Higher Education Policy; Leslie Luna, registrar, Tohono O’odham Community College; Faith Richards, institutional data assistant, Oglala Lakota College;

Also Kyle Patterson-Cross, research director, United Tribes Technical College; John Gritts, tribal college liaison, American Indian College Fund; Karen Solomon, assistant director for accreditation services, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; Karen Suagee, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of Interior; Dr. Gerald Gipp, executive director, AIHEC; and Dr. Joe McDonald, president, Salish Kootenai College.

Over the past few months, AIHEC has conducted focus groups at tribal colleges to allow for additional feedback on the draft indicators from other tribal college presidents, administrators, and students.

“As demands for accountability increase at the nation’s colleges, the importance of collecting and analyzing student data grows exponentially,” said Martha D. Lamkin, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation.

AIHEC Director Gipp said: “This initiative will become a solid foundation for assisting tribal colleges and universities with increased federal reporting and accountability requirements, taking our cultural components into consideration, rather than alienating them.”

“This grant continues to underscore the Lumina Foundation’s history of working with under-represented and under-served student populations and the obstacles they face,” Gipp said.

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