Telecommunications Project Receives Federal FundingAug 15th, 1992 | By tcj | Category: 4-2: Reshaping Tribal Economies, Tribal College News
A much discussed plan to link Indian controlled colleges through telecommunications moved forward another step this past summer. With a $250,000 grant from Congress, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium has hired a project director and is now piecing together a master plan.
The goal is to develop an electronic network of all Indian controlled colleges, allowing small and frequently isolated institutions to share classes, offer in-ser- vice training, and develop distance learning programs. Supporters believe it will also help administrators work with each other.
The project requires more than phone lines and computers, says Project Director Ed Lone Fight. The educational needs of the institutions must also be considered. “During this early phase in the project, we’re working with all the college representatives to address both academic and technical needs at each campus,” he says.
Lone Fight, an educational administrator and former chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, is working to develop a master technical, programming and operational plan. A group of five tribal college presidents, chaired by Northwest Indian College President Robert Lorence, make up an oversight board.
The one-year planning grant was appropriated by Congress to AIHEC which was later funded for a second year. Technical assistance is also being provided by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Public Television Facilities Program and the Public Broadcasting Service. A final report will be delivered to Congress and government agencies in Spring 1993.