SIPI Provides Distance Ed Classes In 4 States

May 15th, 2004 | By | Category: 15-4: Ancient Cultures Modern Technology, Tribal College News

Child care providers from several different tribal nations are earning their Early Childhood Education Associate of Arts degrees without leaving their homes and jobs, thanks to distance education classes offered by Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) in Albuquerque, NM.

SIPI expects 35 to graduate this spring and another 100 within the next two years. New federal regulations require childcare providers in Head Start to earn degrees, and without distance education classes, it would be difficult for them to do so.

SIPI has been engaged in distance education since 1999 and now serves several different tribal nations’ sites: 10 in New Mexico and one each in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Michigan. At this time, nearly 200 students are taking distance ed classes. The college works closely with tribes to assess their educational needs. SIPI also provides assistance in technology training and teleconferences to demonstrate how technology can facilitate communication among the tribal nations and information providers.

The success of the early childhood program has been a catalyst for additional tribal requests for classes delivered to them. SIPI is currently developing a bachelor’s degree in Tribal Business/Management/Leadership in collaboration with New Mexico State University. This program will include courses directly related to the management and economic development needs of tribes.

SIPI plans to offer a short course soon, “Introduction to Museum Work.” This results from collaboration between SIPI, Haskell Indian Nations University (Lawrence, KS), and the National Museum of the United States Army (NMUSA). SIPI and Haskell want to ensure that the stories of Native Americans are told correctly when the Army museum opens in 2009. Native Americans have served in the Army since its earliest days.

Grants from the Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, Lumina Foundation, RGIS, and private donors have underwritten SIPI’s distance education development.

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