Leech Lake Granted Accreditation CandidacyMay 15th, 2002 | By tcj | Category: 13-4: The Many Faces of Leadership, Tribal College News
On Feb. 4, 2002, Leech Lake Tribal College, Cass Lake, MN, was granted initial candidacy accreditation status at the associate degree level from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
“Accreditation is a system for recognizing education institutions for a level of performance, integrity, and quality that entitles them to the confidence of the education community and the public they serve,” according to NCA guidelines. On the most practical level, accreditation signifies that students can easily transfer credits to other higher educational institutions.
The next on-site visit, tentatively scheduled for spring of 2004, will assess Leech Lake Tribal College’s fitness for full accreditation. Founded in 1990 by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the college was accredited in 1991 by NCA as a certificate granting technical institution. It did not have accreditation as a degree-granting college.
NCA’s report detailed nine strengths of the tribal college, highlighting in particular an overall “learning environment for students that is nurturing and caring.” The report included strong praise for the faculty, administration, and students. “Students have a strong sense of responsibility for and ownership of the institution,” the report said. It also cited the new president, Lenee Ross, and the governing board, chaired by Roger Aitken, as key strengths. Regarding the tribal college’s mission, the report said, “Faculty members are well positioned to provide national leadership in the preservation of the Ojibwe language and Anishinaabe culture.”
LLTC President Ross said, “We will continue to improve the quality of our transferable liberal arts degrees and vocational programs and provide the best teaching and scholarship possible.” A member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Ross became president of the college in September 2001.
The college has launched its capital campaign, hoping to raise $15 million for a new, state-of-the-art campus. Presently, most of the college classes and offices are in the old Cass Lake High School where Ross went to high school.