Bay Mills College Focuses on Students

Feb 15th, 1997 | By | Category: 8-4: Racism, Tribal College News
By Mary L. Underwood

At Bay Mills Community College, “student centered” takes on a whole new meaning. “We are here to help the student go to school so we tend to arrange things around student needs instead of what’s convenient for the school,” says Martha McLeod, president of Bay Mills Community College in Brimley, Michigan.

To accommodate a student population that is 70 percent female with an average age of 37, classes don’t start until 9 in the morning, allowing people to get their children off to school. “Babies come to class with their parents until they can walk,” McLeod says. There are rocking chairs in the classrooms for nursing mothers.

Each prospective student must complete a test prior to registration. The results of this test have absolutely no bearing on the student’s acceptance to the school. The test is given to determine the level of remediation the student may need to re-enter the academic world successfully. “We don’t set our students up for failure,” says McLeod. “We find out if our students are auditory, visual, or hands-on learners and make our faculty aware of those differences so they teach to each style of learning.”

Bay Mills was chartered by the Bay Mills Tribe of Chippewa Indians in 1984 and began with only 11 students. There are now 500 students, half of which attend classes on the campus and half at extension classes offered on every reservation in Michigan and in many neighboring communities.

(This is excerpted with permission from an article in Above the Bridge Magazine, winter 1997.)

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