SIPI plans for future

Nov 6th, 2012 | By | Category: 24-2: The Future of the Tribal College Movement, Tribal College News
By Catherine Abeita

As a federally chartered institution, the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI, Albuquerque, NM) has its roots in the early history of the tribal college movement, founded on the principals of equity and access to quality, culturally relevant educational opportunities for American Indian and Alaskan Native students and their communities.

In 1966 the U.S. Congress directed the Bureau of Indian Affairs to begin planning a school to be located in Albuquerque, NM. Construction began in 1969, and in 1971 SIPI opened its 164-acre residential campus to provide post-secondary and vocational training to students enrolled in federally recognized tribes throughout the United States. Unlike most tribal colleges that are tribally chartered by a single or limited number of tribes, SIPI is federally chartered and national in scope.

SIPI’s mission statement says it well — the tribal college partners with tribes, employers, and other organizations with a stake in Indian education and is dedicated to “preparing Native American students to be productive life-long learners as tribal members in an ever-changing global environment.” SIPI has many qualities that advance student success—from quality instruction, dedicated staff and faculty, residential living, and more—that are embedded in its mission documents.

SIPI has begun an important journey to plan, shape, and position the tribal college’s future successes. Over the past three years, SIPI has conducted a campus- wide planning process that has engaged faculty, staff, students, the Board of Regents, and its stakeholders in a discussion of the institution’s strategic goals and future vision, laying the foundation for a successful future.

SIPI’s planning processes identified strategic activities to implement as part of its Title III programs to strengthen instructional and student services capacity that includes establishing a Residential Task Force to make recommendations for policy and procedural changes as well as a model for implementation that links residential and academic programs; establishing a Student Life Committee to meet the needs of the student community through a culturally rich venue of events; establishing a coffee bar and bookstore to provide business students experience in developing and implementing business plans; and enhancing the Culinary Arts program to recruit, retain, and graduate students for job placement.

The very essence of SIPI stems from the dreams of its founders to help train American Indians and Alaskan Natives for jobs. Today, SIPI continues to provide career technical training and transfer degree programs. SIPI has a successful history of serving the educational needs of its students through comprehensive programs of education, extension education, and public service and is committed to continuing its history of service to Indian people and nations.

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