United Tribes Creates Office of ResearchNov 15th, 2004 | By tcj | Category: 16-2: Tribal College Research, Tribal College News
United Tribes Technical College (UTTC, Bismarck, ND) has centered all of its research activities into one office, the Office of Research and Development, and hired a seasoned researcher to direct that office, Kyle Patterson Cross, Ed.D.
Established in November 2003, the new office is responsible for a broad array of duties including conducting research, training, and gathering information about the institution.
A member of the Tuscarora Nation of New York, Patterson Cross earned her doctorate from Harvard University in 2002. She developed expertise in institutional research when she served as the academic dean at Fort Berthold Community College in North Dakota. Her dissertation was on completion rates at that tribal college.
Working with UTTC’s integrated database management system, she is discovering how to extrapolate data for new purposes. The system allows better communication amongst the college’s various offices, such as admissions, registrar, financial aid, housing, advising, and placement.
Patterson Cross prepares reports on American Indian communities as requested. For example, the office has conducted focus groups on ethnicity and diversity at the college. It has also gathered demographic information about five urban Indian communities for the Northwest Area Foundation.
In addition, the office is responsible for training faculty, staff, and students to conduct research, analyze data, and present results, emphasizing culturally appropriate research methods.
Like other educational institutions, tribal colleges are under increasing pressure to provide data about their students, such as demographics, graduation rates and other success indicators. Institutional research also helps administrators to guide policy development, according to Patterson Cross. Her office provides templates of institutional information to be used in grant proposals.
Under her direction, UTTC is developing an Institutional Review Board (IRB). (See separate article about IRBs in this issue.) Patterson Cross is responsible for training staff and faculty about protecting human subjects and for consulting with tribes in North Dakota about how to establish their own tribal IRBs.
She also serves on the advisory board for a landmark American Indian Higher Education Consortium project to define more relevant ways to measure student success, the American Indian Measures for Student Success initiative.