Alliance gives grant to IAIA as retention mentor

Feb 9th, 2012 | By | Category: 23-3: Technology and Culture, Tribal College News

In September, the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA, Santa Fe, NM) was one of eight institutions to receive the Mentor Institution Grant Award from the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education.

The $100,000 grants allow colleges to share their expertise in retaining and graduating first-generation college students. The two-year collaborative initiative implements a mentor/ protégé model that allows successful historically Black, Hispanic-serving, and tribal colleges and universities with developed recruitment and retention models to mentor other institutions who seek to develop retention plans.

The alliance awardees were selected through a highly competitive process. Successful strategies such as early outreach to high school students, summer enrichment programs, student orientation, first-year seminars for entering students, family nights, and faculty/ staff/student support sessions were identified by one or more of the minority-serving institutions (MSIs). Of all the tribal colleges and universities, IAIA and Leech Lake Tribal College (LLTC, Cass Lake, MN) were selected to mentor others.

In addition to the best practices identified by minority-serving institutions, IAIA also boasts the Learning Support Center (LSC) whose purpose is to support students’ learning and assist in their success. It is a place where students can rest, study, and seek assistance from faculty and staff. The LSC also includes comfortable living room couches, a full kitchen, and a large dining table where students can share a meal and/or study. It also houses a learning lab staffed by professional tutors, most of whom have master’s degrees.

The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education process then solicited applications from MSIs that wanted to be mentored and to receive training. Based on that selection process, IAIA will serve as a mentor to two other tribal colleges, Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, ND, and Ilisagvik College in Barrow, AK.

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