Moving Ahead Under New Five-Year Plan

Feb 15th, 1999 | By | Category: 10-3: Distance Education
By Marjane Ambler

Tribal College Journal will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this fall. That is remarkable for any new publication, but it is especially remarkable for the tribal colleges to sustain a publication for so long. As long time readers of the Tribal College Journal are well aware, the tribal colleges are chronically underfunded. The tribal colleges depend upon Congress for their core funding, and that dependence has caused frequent crises when the federal government fails to meet its commitment to the colleges. As we contact the dedicated people at the tribal colleges, we hear of their sacrifices—one can make no long distance calls, another asked its staff to give up one month’s salary to avoid layoffs, another had to eliminate its van transportation, forcing students to hitchhike to classes.

Nevertheless, ever since they founded the journal in 1989, the tribal colleges have been steadfast in their support of their journal. We rely upon their dues to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), and they also purchase the copies sent to their institutions. Several of the colleges advertise in the journal, paying the same rates as other advertisers. Members of our advisory board donate their time, not even getting the free lunch customary to other boards when they meet over lunch hour. Some of them carry the journal with them to meetings, promoting subscriptions to institutions that they believe should be reading the journal.  The AIHEC staff also promotes readership amongst federal agencies and members of Congress. The tribal colleges’ nonprofit, scholarship organization, the American Indian College Fund, also helps support the journal and promote readership. In addition, we have received grants from the Lannan Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

In hopes of reducing the financial burden on the tribal colleges, the staff and the advisory board recently completed a five-year business plan.  The plan began with a vision, a new mission statement (printed on this page), and a strategic plan. Our planning process demonstrated that the journal cannot be self-supporting in the near future, if ever. However, we envision dramatic increases in circulation and modest increases in advertising, under the able leadership of our marketing manager, Rachael Marchbanks. This will assist the journal financially. More importantly, it will increase the number of universities, libraries, and individuals who know about the tribal colleges.

It was 31 years ago that the Navajo Nation created the first tribal college. Yet, as many of you have discovered in your own circles, few people are aware that tribal colleges exist. Many people still think of reservations as grim, barren, impoverished, hopeless places. Many others see the headlines about the handful of successful casinos and believe that all Indian people are rich gambling barons.

As readers of Tribal College Journal, you know better. You know that the tribal colleges continually deliver hope for the future of Indian people, building a cadre of talented, proud graduates ready to tackle the world. We welcome your suggestions of institutions, groups, or individuals who might like to receive information about the Tribal College Journal.

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