Since 2017, Achieving the Dream has partnered with 33 tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) that are members of the ATD Network as they work to build data capacity and implement evidence-based reforms that promote student success. During this time, they have presented at ATD’s annual DREAM conference, Data & Analytics Summits, and Holistic Student Supports Institutes, among other Network events.
On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, to celebrate and recognize the TCU leaders and teams that work tirelessly to support their students, we’re highlighting some of the inspiring student success work being carried out by TCUs in support of their communities.
Here are just five examples of the ongoing transformation, innovation, and leadership at ATD Network tribal colleges across the country:
Managing a leadership transition during times of uncertainty
Iḷisaġvik College is the northernmost community college in the United States, and Alaska’s only tribal college. In October 2020, Dr. Pearl K. Brower stepped down as president of the college and stayed on in an advising capacity through the end of the year to facilitate the transition. She spoke with Achieving the Dream about Iḷisaġvik College’s work with ATD, the strategies that helped her lead during a time of global upheaval, and the unique challenges and benefits of running one of the most remote institutions in the country. (Originally published January 27, 2021.)
Connecting health and history
As part of its rural health certificate program, Stone Child College (SCC) in Montana offers a course that aims to help students better understand the phenomenon of historical trauma as it relates to themselves, their community, and rural health at large. Ann Johnstone, human services instructor at SCC, spoke to ATD about the course and the teaching and learning goals that shape it. “The essential question from the first class is, ‘What length will a person go to survive?’ ” she said. (Originally published March 29, 2021.)
Preparing first-year students for success
At Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC) in North Dakota, students vary widely in age, educational background, and circumstance. Welcoming first-time students to NHSC in ways that were both personalized and accommodating had proven challenging over the years. So NHSC decided to try a new approach, seeking to combine the flexibility of on-demand resources with the personal touch of real-time conversations with instructors. The solution was to integrate the new-student orientation into the college’s Psychology of Student Success course, a change that positively impacted student success. (Originally published July 7, 2021.)
Building capacity from within: A data journey
Since joining the ATD Network, Bay Mills Community College in Michigan has made transformational changes to data practices, building capacity and generating positive outcomes for student success in the process. The college’s data journey underlines the importance of having dedicated data analyst or institutional researcher roles at an institution. These staff members are key to helping colleges better understand the student journey and identify how the institution can better support their success. (Originally published July 21, 2021.)
Leveraging localness in strategic planning
In 2020, Little Priest Tribal College (LPTC) in Nebraska began the intricate process of developing a new strategic plan centered around student success and inclusivity. From the beginning, the college embarked on a rigorous process that would ensure the strategic plan reflected the needs and goals of the entire Little Priest community. (Originally published October 6, 2021.)