Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College Attains Goals

Feb 15th, 2003 | By | Category: 14-3: Your Heroes Are Not Our Heroes, Tribal College News

The Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College (SCTC) in Mount Pleasant, MI, is one step closer to receiving accreditation. Following a site visit last November, a team of evaluators from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC/NCA) said it would recommend initial candidacy to the commission’s board of trustees. Official notification is expected in February.

Earlier in November, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) accepted the college as an applicant member of the organization of tribal colleges and universities. Once initial candidacy has been achieved, the college looks forward to becoming a regular member of AIHEC.

The Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Council on the Isabella Indian Reservation in Michigan chartered the college in 1998. The mission of the college is to “empower learners to reach their educational objectives” by providing higher education opportunities. The college offers three associate-level degree programs: occupational-technical education, developmental education, and continuing education. In academic year 2000-01, the college had 110 students.

“The attainment of initial candidacy will be the most significant event thus far in the history of the college,” according to the college president, Dr. Jeffrey Hamley. The chair of the college board of regents, Paul Johnson, echoed those sentiments. “It puts us in a whole new learning phase and levels the playing field,” he said. “It enhances our program tremendously and allows us to compete with Mid-Michigan Community College and Central Michigan University. Students will reap great benefits from our accreditation as they complete programs at the tribal college and move on. We’re a legitimate tool for improving their professional development.”

Hamley said the college’s next steps include establishing Bureau of Indian Affairs eligibility for federal Tribal College Act funds, writing grants to strengthen basic operations, and fundraising to diversify the funding base. Hamley has been president of the college since the board of regents selected him in October 2001. An enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe, Hamley earned doctorate and master’s degrees from Harvard University. Prior to becoming the college president, he served as the director of policy analysis and research at AIHEC and as a dean of two tribal colleges, the Institute of American Indians Arts in Santa Fe, NM, and Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, WA.

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