Nebraska Indian Community College A SWOT study into the vital areas needed to meet student need.
Table of Contents I.
History of the Self Study Process
Goals of the Self Study Process
Review and update of the past review teamâ€™s concerns and insights
Criterion One: Mission and Integrity
Criterion Two: Preparing for the future
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching
Criterion Four: Acquisition, Discovery and Application of Knowledge
Criterion Five: Engagement and Service
Plans for the future
History of the Self Study Process The official self study process for the 2008 Self Study for the focus visit officially kicked off with a meeting beginning to organize the process on October 6, 2006. While this was the first meeting which took a focus on the March, 2008 visit, numerous planning meetings for the overall institution have taken place from the date of the last visit to this meeting. The October 6, 2006 meeting was successful in setting up five different workgroups to examine the five different and unique criterion. This meeting was also successful in laying out the following timetable. Original Time line of the Self Study October 6, 2006 •
Self Study Steering Committee Meeting to finalize the Self Study Plan
November, 2006 •
Draft copies of the criterion should be complete
December 15, 2006 •
Steering Committee Meeting to discuss issues and needs
January, 2007 •
Finalization of Criterion 1-5
February, 2007 •
Finalization of Criterion 1-5
March, 2007 •
Finalization of Criterion 1-5
April, 2007 •
Finalization of Criterion 1-5
Finalization of Criterion 1-5
June & July, 2007 •
Implementation of the survey material and additional materials gathered over the past year.
August, 2007 •
Finalization of the Self Study for public comment and review
December, 2007 •
Mail the Self Study to the appropriate sources (HLC staff liaison and visiting team members)
March, 2008 •
HLC Visiting Team to review the Self Study and the institution
The December 15, 2006 meeting that took place examined the issues of the planning process of the college and other general areas. Three of five of the draft criterion were submitted on time and reviewed in a timely fashion. The timeline and time table starting to disintegrate due a lack of leadership capacity at the institution. The college was not able to continue meeting efficiently because of the broad nature of responsibilities of the administration at the institution, including such reasons as multiple duties, a loss of our business officer, and the pregnancy complications of our Academic Dean. The revised time table for the expediated self study follows:
1. Review, refine and create a final draft self study 2. Create and insert additional survey information into the self study 3. Begin the creation of the online resource
room Gain feedback from all constituents on the self study document and the online
resource room Forward the self study and all pertinent
documents to the appropriate sources. Comprehensive Evaluation Visit
The revised self study process was expiated, but many of the processes of the self study itself have been slowly ingrained into the overall culture of the organization. Examples of this include the planning process and the implementation of action plans that address many of the issues of concern.
Goals of the Self Study Process The main goals of the self study are to: 1.
Gain a 10 year review process status with the Higher Learning Commission.
Review the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the college; and
Examine possible solutions for the challenges at the institution.
Review and update of the past review team’s concerns and insights The overarching comments of the past visiting team are listed below. Strengths of the College •
Tribal Council Support
Board of Director and Trustee Support
Dedication of the faculty, staff, and students
Learners find great value in the college
Progress in implementing technology
Plan for improving facilities
Significant effort to balance the budget
Challenges that require commission follow-up: •
December 2005 – Report on the audits from 2002, 2003, and 2004 and the response to those audits.
June 2006 – Report on the 2005 audit and the response to the audit
June 2006 – Report on the implementation and operation of systems that will support more data in the planning and development planning process
Challenges that require institutional follow-up: •
The strategic planning process must align with institutional priorities, increase the resources and activities.
Increase in resources and space
Increase in activities that are driven by the mission
Concern regarding the activities of the Chief Academic Officer, including leadership and function.
Concern regarding resources to support the libraries, including staff, materials, and technology
Assessment of student learning
Concerns about courses with lab components
Concern about the number of current course offerings, both physical and on paper.
Challenges that require additional feedback by May 15, 2005: •
Resolutions from the Omaha Tribe and Santee Nation affirming their continued financial support and commitment.
Certificate of discharge from the IRS regarding the payments due on payroll taxes.
Resolution of the legal dispute regarding the construction of the Macy Campus (or an alternative plan of action to proceed with construction)
Official verification from the DOE regarding the SSS application
Additionally, the team wrote: Financial Management As indicated in the assurance section and as acknowledged by the NICC, the priority concerns of the College relate to financial management and resource development. The assurance section provides specific recommendations and requirements relating to financial management. NICC must maintain a sense of urgency and vigilance in establishing and monitoring a system of financial controls. In the course of the visit, the team met representatives from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Iowa State University who seem supportive of NICC. It is recommended that the College ask these partners to provide assistance in the areas of financial and information management. Resource Development Regarding resource development, priority should be given to increasing student enrollment. One possible source of additional students would be non-Native American students (including Hispanics) in South Sioux City. In addition, various funding opportunities may assist the college with the critical issues it faces. For example, Title III Part A, Strengthening Institutions Programs for American Indian Tribally Controlled 8
Colleges and Universities provides funds to help institutions become self-sufficient to improve and strengthen their academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability. Working with both the Omaha and Santee Sioux Tribes on Native American Library Services Grants may provide initial steps toward improving library services for NICC students. Assessment of Student Learning Following effective attention to priority issues relating to finances, another issue that needs major attention is the assessment of student learning. It is recommended that the College start by carefully studying the new HLC guidelines, â€œStudent Learning, Assessment, and Accreditation.â€? NICC should identify another college (we suggest another tribal college) that has done a good job of implementing assessment and who would in turn be interested in helping NICC in its efforts to develop and institute a plan for assessment. Should the Higher Learning Commission develop an Institute for the Assessment of Student Learning, it is recommended that NICC participate in this endeavor. Regardless of the approach that NICC takes in its development and implementation of assessment, all faculty must be significantly involved. Someone must be designated to lead, but the effort will fail if this person is expected to do all of the work. The next HLC evaluation team should expect to see significant progress in the assessment and continuous improvement of student learning. Chief Academic Officer The Chief Academic Officer must have adequate time to fulfill the responsibilities required of this position. The College must make its own decision on how it titles, staffs, or structures the position. However, the person must have dedicated time for these responsibilities. From the teamâ€™s perspective, the current situation of expecting a full-
time faculty member to accomplish the Chief Academic Officer’s responsibilities is not workable over the long term, especially given the many challenges NICC faces. Adjunct Faculty Nebraska Indian Community College should consider strengthening the relationship between full-time and part-time faculty. The full-time faculty members are small in number and the reliance by NICC on the adjunct faculty is evident. Increased enrollment of students will require more full-time faculty; finding the funds for the full time positions will present a challenge to the institution that has limited available resources. Thus, NICC faculty should strive to assist adjunct faculty to become active participants at the college and enable them to take ownership and exhibit pride in much the same way that the current staff and faculty do. Current status of the college in relation to the concerns stated during the visit and in the Report of a Comprehensive Evaluation Visit to Nebraska Indian Community College March 7-9, 2005. Challenges that require commission follow-up: •
December 2005 – Report on the audits from 2002, 2003, and 2004 and the response to those audits.
June 2006 – Report on the 2005 audit and the response to the audit
The college has successfully completed all of the delinquent audits and corrective action plans. The college is in the process of repayment for questioned costs and has implemented a Business Policy and Procedures manual, which has been approved by the Board of Directors, to ensure that the financial situation of the institution has controls in place to allow for accurate reporting, expenditures, and audit completion. •
June 2006 – Report on the implementation and operation of systems that will support more data in the planning and development planning process
The college has purchased a Sage MIP Fund Accounting Software. The system is integrated into the collegeâ€™s Empower Records management system. The system was installed and operated to a lesser extent beginning in August 2006. The full implementation of the software was initiated in January of 2007. The Web Module for the Empower database has been purchased and training is set currently for October, 2007. The web module should make a variety of functions in the student records management system more user friendly for staff, faculty and learners. Challenges that require institutional follow-up: â€˘
The strategic planning process must align with institutional priorities, increase the resources and activities.
The college has developed a formal Strategic plan. A variety of meetings with learners, staff, faculty, the board of directors and open to the communities directly have occurred to assist with the implementation of goals and values and to determine the effectiveness of the college. The Nebraska Indian Community College's planning process focuses on the college's communities and constituents. Meetings have been held (such as February 18, 2005 on capacity building, March 18, 2005, February 15, 2006 on strategic planning, and the entirety of the 2005 Self Study) to ensure a wide range of input into the strategic goals for the institution. Public strategic planning sessions have occurred for 2005, 2006 and 2007. Meeting updates will occur once a year to review the strategic goals for future use. Further, the Board of Directors and the Staff and Faculty have annual retreats to further explore the planning process and the current planning initiatives. â€˘
Increase in resources and space
The college is constantly searching for additional resources and space. New and revised resources have been further implemented into the institution. Some examples of programs that have been implemented assist in meeting institutional needs and goals. One revision in the Title III program assists to more fully serve the institution through
student service positions and library services. Institute of Museum and Library Service grant fund portions of the Omaha and Santee Libraries housed at the college. The USDA Extension program provides a full-time position to provide education and outreach activities. The current USDA Equity program provides for a Â˝ time support position, and various faculty positions. The rewritten and extended USDA Equity program provides two full years of salary and support for Recruitment and Retention efforts. The USDA Endowment program provides for a partial faculty salary. The USDA Research and Conservation Innovation Grant provide salaries for our Natural Resources program. In conjunction with the Conservation Innovation Grant, the National Agri-forestry grant provides supportive funds. A Lance Armstrong foundation grant provides funding to work with community health clinics regarding cancer survivorship. A national tech prep grant allowed additional interaction with area high schools to work on articulations and transfer. Currently the college has also been awarded a Department of Defense grant to purchase equipment for our science labs, two Van Vlack family charitable trust for the purchase of science equipment, a planning Administration for Native Americans program for our Santee location, an Administration for Native Americans program grant for our Omaha location, and a Wisdom of the People program grant to increase our Isanti and Omaha coursework and languages. Additionally, partnerships and opportunities are in process with various agencies including the National Science Foundation, Housing Urban Development, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Kearney, and the Medical Center, United States Department of Agriculture, Bellevue University, National Endowment for the Humanities, National American University, Wayne State College, Dana College, Salish Kootenai College, Sinte Gleska University, Candeska Cikana Community College, Sisseton Wahpeton Community College, Little Priest, South Dakota State University, Oglala Lakota College, American Indian College Fund, American Indian Higher Education Consortium, and the Unidad Academica Campesina in Bolivia. The college is further concerned with the facility at the Macy Campus. The campus is still not adequate for an institution of higher education. Construction delays and funding restrictions have hampered a smooth progression into the campus. To date,
the Macy Campus is a functional shell, while the bid process for the internal structure is forecast to take place before the end of 2007, with completion of before graduation 2008. The Santee Campus development plans have been to work in conjunction with the University of Nebraska – Lincoln to develop a plan for proceeding with campus construction. The University will provide NICC’s Santee Campus development a comprehensive development plan, beginning with site selection/development through alternative construction methodologies. •
Increase in activities that are driven by the mission
The college has developed a strategic plan to assist in guiding the institution in this development phase. Activities of the institution have increased in relationship to the mission of the college. Some specific examples of this are the two ANA programs and the Wisdom of the People program grant, outlined previously, and the Administration for Native American planning grant with the Omaha Tribe. •
Concern regarding the activities of the Chief Academic Officer, including leadership and function.
The college, after the comments and insights provided during the past self study, opted to hire a full-time Academic Dean. •
Concern regarding resources to support the libraries, including staff, materials, and technology
The library and corresponding resources have been improved. The college has implemented a Title III position, the Library Media Specialist. The college has been successful at applying and receiving additional grant funds. College Survival and other courses have an integrated library component. The library has hosted a variety of workshops to inform and improve communication. New databases and technology have also been implemented. The library holdings are currently in the process of online catlogging. There is an updated library web page. Workshops for Tribal College Journal submission and a readers club are currently planned. A challenge that exists is the usage of the services by faculty and learners. Additionally, the weekly newsletter is coordinated through the Library Media Specialist position. •
Assessment of student learning
The faculty has discussed the issue of assessment of student learning on multiple occasions. Pre and post tests have been developed and implemented for a number of courses. These have been found to work well in Math courses especially. In the Summer of 2007, NICC sent a team to a Higher Learning Commission Assessment Workshop. There a strategic action plan for the assessment of student learning was formed. Discussion was initiated concerning this plan at both the Annual Staff and Faculty Retreat, and August 2007 Faculty Development Workshop. A bi-weekly working committee has been formed to implement the action plan. Individual divisions work together to form rubrics for chosen classes. Examples include Math 098, Math 110, English 099, and English 101. â€˘
Concerns about courses with lab components
The college currently has computer labs located on all campus locations. Language labs have been set up in all locations to accompany Native Language courses. The science lab component is still in progress. The college maintains a philosophy of community experiential lab components for both the Construction Technology and the Natural Resource programs. The college has a dedicated science lab at the South Sioux City location. The new facilities at the Macy and Santee sites will house state of the art science lab facilities. The college has received a Department of Defense grant to purchase significant equipment in order to implement research involving Native American plants, food sources, and dyes, building on our strengths in Natural Resources and Native American Studies to attract students into the sciences and provide opportunities for lab research experience. In addition faculty have worked diligently to provide more significant laboratory experiences in science classrooms each semester since 2005. â€˘
Concern about the number of current course offerings, both physical and on paper.
The faculty oversaw extended curriculum review and revision in the 2006-2007 calendar year. This included revising programs such as Early Childhood Education and Human Services/Counseling to meet state standards and community needs. All courses within the 2007-2009 General College Catalog have been reviewed and courses which
the college lacked the capacity to offer or which were deemed inadequate have been removed. Also all courses within the catalog are on a two year course rotation. Challenges that require additional feedback by May 15, 2005: •
Resolutions from the Omaha Tribe and Santee Nation affirming their continued financial support and commitment.
The resolutions from both chartering Tribes are located in the resource room for your review. •
Certificate of discharge from the IRS regarding the payments due on payroll taxes.
The discharge of the IRS debt for the delinquent payroll tax has not been discharged, but an arrangement through a Notice of Contract and repayment had been initiated beginning in 2004. Payments have been made to the IRS on a yearly basis for 2004, 2005, and 2006. Current and future payments have been included in the General Fund budget, and the Board is aware of this status. The college is up to date on its annual audits, and all indications and system requirements enforce audit completion. •
Resolution of the legal dispute regarding the construction of the Macy Campus (or an alternative plan of action to proceed with construction)
The legal dispute between the Nebraska Indian Community College and Wayne Postoak Incorporated has reached conclusion. The college accepted a settlement for the funding that was not refunded properly. The facility is progressing slowly based upon this and a variety of issues including new contractors, construction delays, and the increase in the price of construction materials, not to mention different interpretations of Department of Agriculture programs and regulations. •
Official verification from the DOE regarding the SSS application
The college did not receive the Department of Education Student Support Services grant; the student service positions contained within the program have been integrated into the Title III grant. A reapplication for the Student Support Services program will take place in the Summer of 2008. Additionally, the team wrote: Financial Management
“As indicated in the assurance section and as acknowledged by the NICC, the priority concerns of the College relate to financial management and resource development. The assurance section provides specific recommendations and requirements relating to financial management. NICC must maintain a sense of urgency and vigilance in establishing and monitoring a system of financial controls. In the course of the visit, the team met representatives from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Iowa State University who seem supportive of NICC. It is recommended that the College ask these partners to provide assistance in the areas of financial and information management.” The college has been successful in gaining control of the fiscal operations of the college. The college Resource Development Regarding resource development, priority should be given to increasing student enrollment. One possible source of additional students would be non-Native American students (including Hispanics) in South Sioux City. In addition, various funding opportunities may assist the college with the critical issues it faces. For example, Title III Part A, Strengthening Institutions Programs for American Indian Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities provides funds to help institutions become self-sufficient to improve and strengthen their academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability. Working with both the Omaha and Santee Sioux Tribes on Native American Library Services Grants may provide initial steps toward improving library services for NICC students. Assessment of Student Learning Following effective attention to priority issues relating to finances, another issue that needs major attention is the assessment of student learning. It is recommended that the College start by carefully studying the new HLC guidelines, “Student Learning, Assessment, and Accreditation.”
NICC should identify another college (we suggest another tribal college) that has done a good job of implementing assessment and who would in turn be interested in helping NICC in its efforts to develop and institute a plan for assessment. Should the Higher Learning Commission develop an Institute for the Assessment of Student Learning, it is recommended that NICC participate in this endeavor. Regardless of the approach that NICC takes in its development and implementation of assessment, all faculty must be significantly involved. Someone must be designated to lead, but the effort will fail if this person is expected to do all of the work. The next HLC evaluation team should expect to see significant progress in the assessment and continous improvement of student learning. Chief Academic Officer The Chief Academic Officer must have adequate time to fulfill the responsibilities required of this position. The College must make its own decision on how it titles, staffs, or structures the position. However, the person must have dedicated time for these responsibilities. From the teamâ€™s perspective, the current situation of expecting a fulltime faculty member to accomplish the Chief Academic Officerâ€™s responsibilities is not workable over the long term, especially given the many challenges NICC faces. Adjunct Faculty Nebraska Indian Community College should consider strengthening the relationship between full-time and part-time faculty. The full-time faculty members are small in number and the reliance by NICC on the adjunct faculty is evident. Increased enrollment of students will require more full-time faculty; finding the funds for the full time positions will present a challenge to the institution that has limited available resources. Thus, NICC faculty should strive to assist adjunct faculty to become active participants at the college and enable them to take ownership and exhibit pride in much the same way that the current staff and faculty do.
Criterion One: Mission and Integrity Core component – 1a. “The organization’s mission documents are clear and articulate publicly the organization’s commitments.” The Nebraska Indian Community College (NICC) is a Tribal college. NICC was created and designed to meet the higher educational needs of the Omaha Tribe and Santee Sioux Nation as well as near by off-reservation Native communities. NICC’s curriculum is designed to prepare individuals for their roles as effective Tribal members and citizens in a changing and complex environment. Graduates of NICC will be prepared to apply their knowledge and skills through career development in Agencies in Tribal communities and continue their learning in the achievement of more advanced degrees. NICC seeks to address these goals and needs among Native as well as non-Native students. Revised mission documents were adopted by the Board of Directors in March 2006. The revised documents consist of minor adjustments to the mission statement, addition of a vision statement with goals, and consolidation of the core values. These documents were designed with direct input from all constituencies of the College.
MISSION The Nebraska Indian Community College provides quality higher education and lifelong educational opportunities for Umonhon (Omaha), Isanti (Santee Dakota) and other learners. VISION
Nebraska Indian Community College is envisioned as a comprehensive Tribal College which values service through high quality education. The college is distinctive in serving the diverse people of the Umonhon (Omaha) and Isanti (Santee Dakota) Nations. NICC operates year round and provides an enriched environment for stakeholders. The identity of the college is framed by a substantive commitment to multicultural learning. Institutional programs value and cultivate the creative and productive talents of learners, faculty, and staff, and seek ways to contribute to the self-sufficiency of the Nations served, the well being of our communities, and the quality of life and development of its learners, faculty, and service areas. The overall goals of NICC, as reflected in the Vision Statement, are to: 1. Prepare individuals for their roles as effective tribal members and citizens in a changing and complex environment. 2. Integrate, revitalize and preserve Tribal culture throughout the college environment, including but not limited to: history, language, games, song, and the way of life. 3. Expose and expand knowledge of the arts, humanities, communication, sciences, mathematics, social sciences, and Native American studies. 4. Build skills for lifelong learning. 5. Provide an enhanced, sustainable, positive learning environment. 6. Organize, manage, and finance higher education for NICC as a model Tribal College.
CORE VALUES The College is also committed to the following beliefs and core values: •
Cultural preservation, continuity, and revitalization consistent with the Umonhon (Omaha) and Isanti (Santee Dakota) peoples' needs, including languages and Tribal knowledge, are key elements of the college.
Learning is a life-long process.
A safe and healthy working and learning environment promotes free expression and the exchange of ideas so that learners will be challenged to think holistically, and to live responsibly and productively in a Tribal and global society.
Administration, staff, faculty, students, Board of Directors and the two Native communities are continuously involved in the growth and strengthening of NICC. NICC’s Vision and goal statements serve as the active guide in this dynamic process. Examples of this dynamic process include the comprehensive review of the curriculum and the degree offerings of NICC by the Academic Council in 20062007. The results of this review are reflected in the 2007-2009 NICC catalog. Another example is the revision of the developmental math course at NICC. Due to an inadequate student success rate at college level math courses found in our assessment of student learning, the Math and Sciences Division met to consider how they could address the issue. As a result, Developmental Math 099 was reorganized into two courses, MATH 098 Basic Math and MATH 099 Math Foundations, in order to provide better preparation. Within this revision of curriculum, an assessment plan for placing students in math courses upon matriculation, as well as learning outcomes for the developmental math courses were developed. NICC has designed and implemented a comprehensive assessment process. This assessment of institutional effectiveness is essential for the continuing fulfillment of the mission, vision, and goals, and the core values of NICC. The feedback
received from this assessment process guides NICC in strengthening and, when appropriate, changing educational programming to more effectively meet the expectations of the academic excellence demanded in the mission and values of NICC. The math course revision, as mentioned above, provides an example of this dynamic process. The mission documents of NICC are publicly accessible online at www.thenicc.edu. They are also available in hard copy in the printed 2007-2009 College Catalog, which all students receive upon matriculation. Core component – 1b. “In its mission documents, the organization recognizes the diversity of its learners, other constituencies, and the greater society it serves.” While NICC primarily serves an underserved, diverse community of learners and is required by law to maintain 51% Native population (Public Law 95-471), we welcome and encourage any and all learners to further their educational goals at NICC. Our Mission is to serve the Omaha and Santee Sioux Nations foremost but to make education accessible to other students as well. The constituency of NICC’s students, staff, and faculty reflects its mission of diversity. NICC recognizes the continued need to review our strategies to address the diversity of our learning community, which is reflected in our Strategic Plan, as revised in 2006. NICC honors Native traditions. The College has set goals to prepare individuals as effective Tribal members and citizens in a changing and complex environment. These two aspects of NICC education are complimentary and prepare students to think holistically and live productively in a Tribal and global society. The college maintains high standards and expectations of behavior among its students, staff, faculty and Board of Directors. These behavioral standards are clearly articulated
in our catalog pages 11-13, Faculty and Employee Handbooks, and the revised bylaws of the Board of Directors.
Core component – 1c. “Understanding of and support for the mission pervade the organization.” NICC has a clearly defined and publicly posted mission statement which is supported by all NICC documents. NICC has a mission driven decision-making process where all constituencies are involved. Our budget, curriculum, and strategic planning documents support and reflect our mission, vision, and core values. As part of our strategic planning, Nebraska Indian Community College is continually upgrading our task lists to follow and reflect our mission. In March 2006, the Board, administration, faculty, staff, and students met to discuss and revise the Core Values and to continue to develop the Strategic Plan and educational goals for the institution. During the 2007 spring term the college held community luncheons at each campus. At each luncheon the college administration presented current issues for the college and received feedback, which was documented through notes and written surveys. The institution is focused on improving the learning of its students. The revision of the degree core requirements was recently completed in the catalog review process. The emphasis of our programming will focus on the needs of our degree requirements in support of the college’s mission. This review is challenging because of our Tribal ownership. It is important to NICC to maintain a balance with our multicultural society and our Tribal communities. Core component – 1d. The organization’s governance and administrative structures promote effective leadership and support collaborative processes that enable the organization to fulfill its mission.
The revised Board structure and recently revised by-laws demonstrate dedication to the collegeâ€™s desire to provide educational opportunities for Umonhon (Omaha), Isanti (Santee Dakota) and other learners. The Board of NICC supports the college president and does not micromanage the administration, staff, or faculty in the daily operations of the institution. The organizational flow chart and the committee structure clearly demonstrate the broad participation of the constituencies in the decision-making processes. This is reflected in the committee minutes. Faculty meetings include participation from full-time faculty, adjuncts, and other college staff. In the last two years, the Academic Council, chaired by the Academic Dean, has re-focused on taking ownership of all academic aspects of the institution. NICC has overcome some of the communications challenges presented by having personnel at three sites that span over 100 miles. Communication from all college constituencies takes place through committee meetings, internet messaging, email, newsletter, video teleconferencing, as well as routine daily contacts. NICC reviews, evaluates, and makes changes to structures and processes as needed through the annual meeting and the bi-weekly committee meetings. Core component â€“ 1e. The organization upholds and protects its integrity. Academic appeals are being done through department heads and by committee. The student grievance process has been revised and offers steps to resolution. The employee handbook, Administrative flow charts, committee structure, new catalog and Board of Director bylaws, serve to strengthen the integrity of the institution. Nebraska Indian Community College supplies reports from all departments, including the annual budget for Board approval. The Board meets quarterly and responsibly monitors
institutional activities with consideration for legal and fiscal responsibilities and with respect to the institutionâ€™s mission. The public vision of NICC has improved over the past two years with increased participation in the community: health fairs, cooperative projects with Head Start and the public schools, high school visits, pow-wows, traditional cultural activities, and individual efforts of faculty, staff and administration within the communities they serve. The institution remains dedicated to upholding its integrity through fairness and honesty by the implementation of the policies and procedures.
Criterion Two: Preparing for the Future Criterion Statement: The organizationâ€™s allocation of resources and its processes for evaluation and planning demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its education, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. ABSTRACT: This criterion describes how the Nebraska Indian Community College meets or exceeds criterion two by utilizing processes of review and evaluation to recognize trends and implement change. The college community and charter entities are working together to plan for the future of the institution. The planning is broadly participatory with goals set for accomplishing continuous improvements in the areas that affect students, faculty, staff and the communities in which the College serves. For the purpose of the self-study, the College has defined the sub-points of the criterion with the following terms: Trends, Resources, Assessment and Planning. Core Component â€“ 2a The organization realistically prepares for a future shaped by multiple societal and economic trends. Nebraska Indian Community College has a solid understanding of its current capacity to fulfill its mission, to enhance the quality of education, and to prepare for an uncertain future. The institution recognizes the importance of reviewing societal trends that can shape its future. NICC is grounded in its mission and confident that its mission can withstand the uncertain change that may lie ahead. Understanding & Recognizing Social Trends Along with basing all discussions and plans in relation to the institutionâ€™s mission statement, NICC also operates under the guidelines and principles of the Strategic Plan, updated in 2006. The Strategic Plan has assisted NICC in understanding the long-range vision of the institution and its impacts within an ever-changing society. The changes and growth factors that the Strategic Plan addresses are the financial strength and the
physical capacity of the institution. The objective of the financial plan within the Strategic Plan is focused on generating funding avenues to lessen the dependency on federal monies. Planning and preparing for the future can also be seen within the existing Information Technology Plan, Facilities and Maintenance Plan draft, Financial Action Plan draft, Corrective Action Plans, Library Three Year Plan, Academic Action Plan draft, and the various Recruitment and Retention Action Plan draft for NICC. The evolution and improvement of the curriculum, student assessment, learning assessment, college catalog, employee handbook, faculty handbook, disaster manual draft, distance technology, and Board of Directorsâ€™ bylaws is a continuing process at the college to streamline the college structure. These planning documents demonstrate the strength of the institution to plan for a future that can be shaped in many different ways. As an institution of higher learning, our planning for the future must be seen in the documents in which we base our operations. The Information Technology Plan is a plan in which the institution bases its daily operations and vision for the future. The rapid growth and change of technology provides an ongoing challenge for the College, both in instructional systems and technology to enhance the efficiency of operations. These challenges stress the importance of adhering to the planning document which allows technology to be shaped for its intended purposes within the academic and administrative areas of the College. Information Technology planning and incorporation of technology is further guided by our Title III project â€œStrengthening and Development.â€? The Title III grant is a five-year grant that will provide the College with 2.5 million dollars for technology infrastructure and academic implementation. This five-year grant has allowed the College to enhance the technology infrastructure, exposure, and future. Informational Technology Plan The Information Technology Plan is a document that is ongoing and is reviewed by the technology committee on an ongoing basis. The purpose of this review is to ensure that
the elements of the document are attainable and measurable. This is a document that is shaped by the needs and vision of the college wide technology committee. The Information Technology Plan has several goals that take shape from the vision which reads: â€œThe Nebraska Indian Community College shall serve as a catalyst for the communities it serves through information technology by providing quality educational programs, cultural continuity, preservation and transmission of tribal knowledge and language throughout our communities; the College is committed to the belief that learning is a lifelong process.â€? From this vision, the technology committee works on ensuring that the technology infrastructure and applications in the classroom, as well as involvement of the community, remain at the highest levels. Recruitment and Retention Action Plan Societal trends also drive the recruitment strategies of the institution. Previously, the Director of Admissions monitored data collected from students in the areas of demographics, societal trends, and academic interests and made appropriate changes to recruitment efforts. Currently, the information is stored in the Admissions, Recruitment, and Retention Counselorâ€™s Office with other data collected from the Admissions, Advising, Records Department Offices, Business Office, Title III Program, and various surveys and databases. The Registration and Student Services committee reviews the recruitment efforts to ensure that the marketing goals and objectives are met. Other committees and positions also make use of this data for projecting class needs and student demographics, as well as assessing curriculum, outcomes, and in institutional advancement. NICC operates at three locations, (Macy, Santee, and South Sioux City). The populations in these locations are diverse in culture, educational background, and setting. The
Recruitment and Retention Action Plan draft reflects the current need and future strategies for recruiting and serving the needs of NICC students within each site. Facilities and Maintenance Action Plan The Nebraska Indian Community College, through its governing board, has established a long-range planning document that addresses its facility needs. The Strategic Plan addresses planning in phases. The phases are listed below: •
Phase I - develop a comprehensive campus site at the Macy location. o 80% completed
Phase II - develop a comprehensive campus site at the Santee location. o Preliminary investigations completed, we are currently coordinating with University of Nebraska-Lincoln Architectural Department to provide surveying and architectural drawing needs.
Phase III - develop a modern campus site at South Sioux City o We have completed the purchase of the new 8900 square foot campus site in South Sioux City; renovations have been completed on the main level.
Phase IV - construct a 60-bed dormitory at Macy. o Planning will begin after the completion of the Macy campus
Phase V - construct a 40-bed dormitory at Santee. o Planning will begin after the completion of the Santee campus.
Phase VI - construct an alternative and renewable energy project using wind turbines to generate and meet the electrical needs of NICC. o An anemometer test tower has been placed at the Macy location to gather data to determine the feasibility of wind turbine energy. Based on the data received from the tests, wind energy has been determined to be a viable alternative for the Macy location. Currently, we are seeking funding to assist with construction of the wind turbine.
Financial Recovery Plan The financial recovery plan approved on July 12, 2004 by the Board of Directors has been implemented. It established an IRS payment schedule in order to repay all back taxes that are owed by the college beginning December 1, 2004. All payments have been made on schedule. Other issues that pertain to the recovery plan include the completion of yearly audits, an Expense Voucher system to control the approval process for expenditures, and a multi-year balanced budget that reflects actual revenue and expenses. At the time the plan was created, during this period of financial crisis, the Omaha Tribe and Santee Nation committed substantial financial support to the institution. Subsequent support has been and will be based on the financial resources available to these constituents.
Core Component â€“ 2b The organizationâ€™s resource base supports its educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future. Board of Directors While the campus community supports change, it does so within the parameters of decision-making authority, which are clearly defined. Authority regarding organizational goals is recognized at the College and the departmental levels through the Board of Directors Bylaws. The Board Policy Bylaws make it clear that the Board is responsible for the overall direction of the College, in addition to the hiring and evaluation of the President. The Board delegates to the President and the administration the responsibility for day-to-day operations and the success of the institution. Existing Resources
The organization’s human, physical, and financial resources allow it to achieve the educational quality it aspires to in its mission. The college’s main operational revenue is derived from three main sources. The Tribally Controlled Community College Act Public Law 95-471 is the largest source of funding for the institution and is allocated and appropriated annually through Congress. The second largest source of funding is tuition and fees, which are received from the students. Additional sources of revenue include funding from the state and indirect costs. The college operates the majority of its programs and activities through grant funding. The main grant programs at the institution include the Title III Strengthening and Development; USDA/CSREES Equity, Tribal Research, and Extension; American Indian Higher Education Consortium – NASA Enrichment (STEMA); Administration for Native Americans; Department of Defense; and Institute of Museum and Library Services Projects. The Title III deals directly with the Technology Leadership Studies programs, the libraries at the three locations, Student Support, and all technologically related areas at the institution. The USDA-CSREES Tribal Research program assists in providing for the Natural Resource portions of NICC’s curriculum as well as agricultural economic development. The STEMA Grant assists with the science and mathematics programs. The USDA-CSREES Equity grants support student recruitment and retention efforts for the institution, as well as faculty and curriculum development in business, science, and early childhood education. Administration for Native Americans grants allow for planning and implementing of tribal language and culture documentation, preservation, revitalization, instruction, and outreach, working directly with the communities to develop and strengthen our relations. A Department of Defense grant provides for science equipmentation and refurbishing of laboratory facilities. Institute of Museum and Library Services provide for additional library staff and resource procurement.
Core Component – 2c The organization’s ongoing evaluation and assessment processes provide reliable evidence of institutional effectiveness that clearly informs strategies for continuous improvement.
Evaluation Systems The College recognizes the necessity of determining the relationship between its past, present and future institutional effectiveness. It is committed to evaluation and assessment for management improvement and has a broad range of programs, processes, and initiatives to gather data and provide evidence. The committee structure provides the avenue to evaluate progress on an on-going basis. Additional items of assessment can be seen by examining the faculty and employee handbooks, SWOT analysis, performance appraisals, annual/quarterly reports for grants management, the self study process, community surveys, and academic assessments. Core Component – 2d All levels of planning align with the organization’s mission, thereby enhancing its capacity to fulfill that mission. Mission-based Planning All levels of planning align with the mission statement. The mission statement of the college is “The Nebraska Indian Community College provides quality higher education and opportunities for life long learning to the Umonhon and Isanti people, and other students,” as publicly stated in all college publications. The annual planning process establishes goals for the College. This mission statement outlines that the students will be prepared to live responsibly and productively in an ever-changing tribal society. In 1994, the Omaha Tribe stated that less than 1% of their total enrollments were identified as fluent speakers of the Omaha language. The Dakota Language is in a similar state of endangerment within the Santee Community. Due to this, the Nebraska Indian Community College is in the process of developing language and culture degree programs for the purpose of revitalization of the languages involved. NICC recognized the urgent need to establish a formal process for Native language teacher certification and, with the Tribes, spearheaded state law establishing the recognition of Tribal
authority. The Omaha Tribe and Santee Nation have both established, through resolutions, certificate processes as an exercise of sovereignty. These acts of Tribal legislation state that each sovereign nation, in coordination with NICC, controls and regulates the Native language teacher certification process and program. Mission Centered Planning Nebraska Indian Community College has a vision for the future of the institution and the people served by its mission. The mission of the institution centers on the educational opportunities for the Omaha Tribe and Santee Nation. NICC is committed to managing resources to realize the mission of the institution, even in times of economic uncertainty. Social, economic, and political events have led the institution to reorganize its human, financial, and physical resources and to focus more closely on the institutional mission. The institution has undertaken many future driven activities to assist the students and communities, which are served by NICC. For example, the College partnered with community health clinics to assist in forming a Cancer Strategic Action Plan for both communities. NICC is currently partnered with Omaha Nation Tribal Housing to provide construction education for their employees. The College works with area high schools to provided articulated credit opportunities for their students. Criterion Two: Preparing for the Future Summary Nebraska Indian Community College prepares for a future shaped by shifting socioeconomic trends by paying attention to its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of education, and meet future challenges. Clearly defined lines of decision making and goal-setting allow the College to react to change and maintain its mission to serve the students and communities of the Santee Nation and Omaha Tribe.
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching Criterion Statement: The organization provides evidence of student learning and teaching effectiveness that demonstrates it is fulfilling its educational mission. Core Component â€“ 3a The organizationâ€™s goals for student learning outcomes are clearly stated for each educational program and make effective assessment possible. While NICC has clearly stated general education goals (p.41 of 2007-2009 catalog), these goals are discipline specific and more applicable to individual programs and divisions than to the college as a whole. Due to this, NICC is currently revising these goals and, as a result, the programmatic goals and assessment of student learning. At 2005 Academic Council discussions, the process to assess student learning was started. It was noted that in 2003, after investigation into and training on the use of portfolios as assessment tools that this system was not feasible for NICC based on its current capacity. We re-investigated the possibility of e-portfolio for implementation in 2006 â€“ 2007 with Title III funds adding to our technological and financial capacity. Again, this was determined to be impractical due to financial and personnel considerations as well as the time commitment for the students. In August of 2004, the faculty met and proposed that the institution require that all instructors utilize a uniform pre-test and post-test instrument. These pre and post-tests were to be utilized by the faculty to check on the effectiveness of individual instruction and to implement a wider college wide assessment system. In examining the results of pre-post test implementation by NICC faculty, it was found that this was an effective assessment tool for certain disciplines, but was not adequately implemented or responsive to the needs for effective assessment of student learning for other areas. One area that has been positively affected by the pre-post test assessment model is mathematics. Through 2 years of pre-post testing it was determined that the lack of
completion was due to lack of preparedness in certain sub-areas in mathematics, and that much of this could be attributed to preparedness at the pre-college level including high school graduates, General Education Diploma recipients, and those passing our own MTH 099 Developmental Math course. Thus, the Math and Science instructors met, defined these sub-areas, discussed scope and sequence, and revised NICC’s Developmental Math course into two courses. The placement testing for math was also revised so that these students could be accurately placed in one or both of the Developmental courses based on their skills in the sub areas. These courses allowed students to gain stronger basic math skills such as the process of math sequence and the use of calculators before moving into college level course work. Instructors are able to allocate more time for each sub-area thus strengthening overall mastery of mathematic skills for these students. Furthermore, students who are ready for college level course work bypass this process through placement testing, and those have basic level ability but are still not prepared for college level math spend less time on the most basic sub-areas in the sequence. While reviewing the implementation of pre-post testing, the Academic Council noted that it didn’t reflect the needs of every discipline and that it failed to show the cohesiveness of the student learning goals of the institution as a whole. Currently, instructors determine learning outcomes for each course; these are defined in the course objectives on the standardized syllabi. NICC continues to employ and update a master standardized syllabus to be used for all courses. This syllabus contains a section identifying the course objectives. These objectives must be linked to the overall general education goals and outcomes (pg. 41 of the 2007-2009 catalog). However, the Academic Council, upon examining these goals, found that these too failed to show the cohesiveness of the student learning goals of the institution as a whole. For example, “application of research skills,” “ability to reason mathematically,” “ability to solve problems through algebraic methods,” and “application of methods of scientific inquiry” all intrinsically reference problem solving skills. Thus, these are really one overall general goal for student learning which pervades teaching in all disciplines rather
than independent goals. Currently, these general education goals and outcomes are being re-defined and consolidated to express the holistic, all-encompassing student learning goals of our institution. These goals, which are currently in development, are also being examined to ensure that they adequately reflect our mission, vision, and core values. The entire NICC family is involved in this process and therefore holds a stake in the overall outcome. Once these student learning outcomes have been revised, each division will form divisional student learning outcomes which relate to the general student learning outcomes and also incorporate specific needs within the division. Then, each courseâ€™s objectives can be linked to divisional and institutional student learning outcomes. To assess effectiveness in achieving these objectives, course instructors can choose from a variety of assessment tools. Courses in divisions such as mathematics will likely continue to employ a pre-post test for assessment. Other disciplines such at Early Childhood education are more likely to employ the development of a rubric related to objectives which can be utilized to assess learning through projects, exams, or even a portfolio. In the spring of 2008 three courses will be chosen to exemplify and inaugurate this assessment process. It should be noted that this process of assessment extends to all offerings. Results of which will be examined by the Academic Council in coordination with the Dean. Due to the fact that the faculty have been involved in this entire process, they are creating the strategies to determine whether those outcomes are achieved. The assessment of student learning provides evidence at multiple levels: course, program, and institutional. Assessment of student learning includes multiple direct and indirect measures of student learning. These measures include pre-post test results, results based on individual rubrics for a given course, course grades, GPA, retention rates for classes, semesterly and degree program retention rates, graduation rates for degrees, average time necessary to complete given programs by students, and other measures. Each semester students complete course evaluations. These were updated in 2007 to an online format which makes data collection and sharing easier. The faculty are dedicated to making sure
that core outcomes for each student are assessed and action steps are implemented to increase learner retention. Additionally, the collegeâ€™s admissions, advising and registration counselors continue to support direct and indirect measures of learning for our students through a series of interactive intervention areas. Advisors are always available for tutoring assistance to students when requested and work to provide support for faculty as well. This department has an instructor referral program designed to give a type of first warning of possible student issues in learning, including the acquisition and retention of knowledge. The results of student academic achievement are available to students through a variety of sources. The student/instructor interventions, student/advisors interventions, final grade reports, the Deanâ€™s List, the student catalog, and degree completion plans are all designed to assist in the area of student self- knowledge and assessment. Beginning in Fall 2007, the institution has empowered students to check midterm and final grades over an internet based system at their convenience. The overall results of student course evaluations (averaged for all courses) are made available to the students as well as all staff, faculty, and the community. The organization integrates into its assessment of student learning the data reported for purposes of external accountability through the Admissions, Advising, and Registration Office. All permanent academic records, graduation rates, placement rates, and transfer rates can be found in the Admissions, Advising, and Registration Office. Additionally the Admissions, Advising, and Registration Office houses the institutional database on student records. Institutional data relevant to the assessment of student learning, such as retention and graduation rates, are also reported annually to American Indian Measures Systems (AIMS) and IPEDS, which make this data available through an annual publication and online, respectively. Faculty and administrators routinely review the effectiveness and uses of the organizationâ€™s program to assess student learning. As can be seen by the current review
and revision of student learning assessment, the college routinely reviews assessment program on student learning and creates adjustments as necessary to assist in ensuring successful student acquisition of knowledge.
Core Component – 3b The organization values and supports effective teaching. NICC’s mission is to provide higher learning for the Isanti and Umonhon peoples, and other learners. Effective teaching is essential to fulfilling our mission. Thus, NICC values and supports effective teaching. Teacher effectiveness is operationalized through a number of direct and indirect measures at NICC. These include the student course evaluations mentioned above, student exit interviews at graduation, classroom visits by the Academic Dean, yearly reviews by the Academic Dean, student retention rates and grades, as well as nominations of faculty for awards such as “Faculty of the Year.” Effective teachers are commended through the “Faculty of the Year” award at commencement ceremonies, as well as through recognition in the letters written by the Academic Dean when visiting their classes. The salary formula at NICC also includes compensation for obtaining advanced degrees and for years of teaching at NICC. Both are considered relevant to teacher effectiveness. The importance of teacher effectiveness is underscored by the fact that our faculty, in conjunction with the Academic Dean, determine curricular content and strategies for instruction. The Academic Council maintains all control over college-wide curricular matters. This can be evidenced through previous faculty council and academic council minutes. The Academic Council forwards its recommendations, in motion form, to the Executive Council for discussion and implementation. In order to make effective teaching possible for NICC instructors, NICC provides for professional development opportunities. These include all-employee meetings, technology training, college-wide retreats, workshops, conferences, Faculty Summer Professional Development Institute, Faculty Winter Professional Development
Workshop, and a tuition waiver program, as well as financial assistance for degree related course work, conference travel and professional membership when possible.
The faculty are qualified in their areas of expertise. Examples of this evidence can be seen from examining the personnel files and credentials included in them. At this time, almost all faculty have a Master’s degree or have a demonstrated expertise area in their subject areas, both full-time and part-time faculty.
NICC has significantly increased its
number of faculty with Master’s degrees in the past year. The two new faculty hires (Early Childhood and Business) both have Master’s degrees. In addition, our Technology instructor obtained his Master’s degree this past summer. Our Math and Science Division Head has completed his coursework for his Master’s degree and is in the final stages of writing his thesis. The Academic Dean and also one adjunct instructor hold doctorates in their fields. NICC places a strong emphasis on hiring well-qualified faculty. As a strong sense of academic freedom permeates the college and individual faculty members have a large sense of control over their course work and methods, NICC strives to hire the most effective teachers. In addition to the degree qualifications mentioned above, NICC also preferentially hires Native American, especially Isanti and Umonhon, instructors and individuals with significant experience in their fields. Native instructors provide role modeling for our students and have knowledge of their ways. Thus, they are often extremely effective as teachers. NICC has recruited several new Native instructors (7) in the past two years. In addition, we have brought Elders into the classroom for several classes to provide the grounding and contact needed to make subjects more accessible and desirable. Also, we have worked to bring in community professionals, such as the director of the tribal alcohol program, in order to promote effective teaching. These professionals provide in-depth, real world knowledge, which engages the students on a deeper level. The college also demonstrates openness to innovative practices that enhance learning.
These include an emphasis on hands-on and collaborative learning techniques. All instructors strive to engage the students through providing them with opportunities for self-discovery of knowledge. Virtual learning and video learning techniques, with their positive and negative aspects have been instituted college-wide. This allows for a greater number of courses to be offered, as numbers are pooled from three campuses for each video teleconference class. It also allows for students at locations without an available instructor in a given discipline to have regular contact and courses with an instructor. However, this environment is not conducive to all learning styles. For example, it places barriers to visual learners, due to screen resolution and size. NICC has implemented the use of a number of supportive technologies (ELMO, starboards, symposia, etc.), regular updates and upgrades to equipment (e.g. projector purchase in Fall 2007 and continued research to upgrade T1 lines), and provides technological training for faculty in order to help maximize the video teleconference environment. The college supports faculty in keeping abreast of the research on teaching and learning, and of technological advances that can positively affect student learning and the delivery of instruction. NICC continually assesses the effectiveness of technology us in the NICC educational environment. In 2005-2006, NICC implemented online courses and discovered that the successful completion rate was under 5%. Faculty believes this is due to a variety of factors, including the lack of access to technology at home and student learning styles. Therefore, very few online courses are offered at this time, but there have been new initiatives to create hybrid courses. Core Component â€“ 3c The organization creates effective learning environments. At NICC, assessment results inform improvements in curriculum, pedagogy, instructional resources, and student services. Examples of this include the significant curriculum revisions that were made in the Math Department ( see section 1a), as well as revisions made in Human Service Counseling Degree and the Early Childhood Education Degree. The Math curriculum changes were made due to review of graduation completion rates,
semesterly grades, and student feedback in surveys and course evaluations, as well as instructor observation. The Human Services Counseling Degree was updated to meet state requirements for Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor certification due to instructor observation, student feedback, and discussion with community agencies. Our Early Childhood Education degree was revised in two ways based on assessment. First, as discussed above, online classes were minimized, contrary to state initiative, based on completion rate of these courses at NICC. Hybrid on-line and on-site courses were then introduced, but based on assessment of completion rate, course grades, and student evaluations, these, too, were discontinued for this program. Thus, the program became totally on-site and/or video teleconference in its offerings. Secondly, Early Childhood was revised to reflect state standards and initiatives in early childhood education. This was based on the Academic Deanâ€™s regular assessment of curriculum. This assessment is also utilized to improve our instructional resources and student services. We have incorporated line items for materials purchases for business and early childhood classes based on instructor and student evaluations of offering. The Omaha Language courses incorporated a materials fee to purchase supplies for immersion type classes due to student course evaluations and instructor assessments. This has allowed for true immersion classes to be offered with adequate instructional resources. The Admissions, Advising and Registration office has added a Recruitment and Retention Advisor position based on needs demonstrated in community forums, SWOT surveys collected at pow wows and community events, and other assessments including student admission and retention rates. NICC provides an environment that supports all learners and respects the diversity they bring. NICCâ€™s mission is to provide for the educational needs of the Isanti, Umonhon, and other learners. Not only do we serve students from multiple tribes, Latino, Caucasian, and African-American students attend NICC. Our students represent a broad range of ages and socio-economic backgrounds. To serve our populations, NICC offers missioncentered education, incorporating tribal values and knowledge throughout our curriculum and in all our initiatives. Funding from American Indian College Fund awarded to NICC
provides for both educational opportunities and financial aid for students. Other Nativebased insititutional initiatives include a Wisdom of the People project and two Administration for Native Americans projects. However, our mission-based service is not limited to Native American Studies based courses. It pervades our institution. For example, our current science laboratory initiative provides for culturally relevant labs based on Native foods and dyes. To serve all age groups we offer elderly tuition scholarships and high school tuition scholarships, as well as general financial aid. To serve all populations we offer financial aid earmarked for Native students as well as financial aid dedicated to students of all races. NICC strives to remove barriers to education â€“ whether they are physical, financial, or social. In order to remove physical barriers to education, NICC is dedicated to facility improvement. Currently, NICC has campuses located at Macy, Santee and South Sioux City, Nebraska. The environment at the South Sioux City location has been drastically improved for the college and the students. The college was able to make a building purchase and has since completed renovations including creation of modern science and technology labs. While the physical environment at Santee is adequate, we continue to try to improve the environment for student learning. Currently, NICC is engaged in negotiations to purchase property for a new build construction of a modern facility for the Santee Sioux Nation. The Macy campus is not a suitable place to house collegial operations. The current facility is crowded, outdated, and in high need of maintenance. Significant progress has been made since the last team visit in regard to a new Macy Campus. Construction of the building shell has been completed. Construction delays have occurred that have not been under the institutionâ€™s control, but an estimated Macy Campus completion date is May 2008 if all phases continue on schedule. The new campus will house full time faculty offices, administrative offices, a meeting room, and a large library upon its completion. Additionally, a cultural center will be located in the campus, focusing on our mission and becoming a community based center.
The Student Support Services continually strive to assist students who need help with their educational goals. The college has a formalized pre-test for developmental course placement at all campuses. This is proctored by Student Support Services to assist students starting their education in a positive manner. This process is completed because of the high rate of the NICC student body that is lacking formal high school training and who have come to the institution with general education degrees. A lack of academic preparation and low socio-economic student base has been a norm at the College. We maintain an open enrollment to welcome all who are interested in pursuing higher education. We support diversity and Omaha and Santee Sioux traditions. In the past 18 months, we have had an AIHEC-NASA grant that has supported tutoring for all areas that students need. Prior to that additional tutoring was supported by the TRIO SSS grant. We are currently looking for funding to continue supporting the students in this manner. Although our courses have low student to faculty ratios, some students need additional support outside the classroom. Many have been away from academia for sometime and are beginning their education as non-traditional students. Also due to the nature of video teleconferencing, it is necessary for them to have face-to-face time with a tutor. Advising systems focus on student learning, including the mastery of skills required for academic success. The advising and placement system utilized at NICC focuses on the learner. The placement system has been designed to identify possible weak areas in past academic preparation in an attempt to safe guard against setting students up to fail. The degree completion plans include sets of coursework designed to accomplish desired goals of the certain degree and core course work. This helps all Student Support Services to assist students in tracking their academic needs for graduation completion no matter what location they are attending. This is significant because it is not unusual for students to switch campuses on occasion. NICC employs new technologies whenever financials and capacity allow. The video teleconferencing (VTC) class setting has limited some of the interfaces of teaching, but it
has allowed NICC to continue a full schedule of classes each semester. This would not be possible due to the reduced number of students and to tightened fiscal realities at the institution at this time. We are maintaining graduation rates that also wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for this technology. We continue to improve the VTC technology with starboards and ELMO. While this is environment is difficult for some students we are trying to maintain tutors and other staff interventions to keep the students involved in the courses. We have course evaluations each term, meetings with informal discussion of “what’s working and what’s not,” and many meetings with students regarding how their learning experience is affected at NICC by environment. We continue to schedule meals and traditional activities for students. For example, during finals week, staff brings food to make sure that students have something to eat during testing. NICC also strives to continually update its assessments and assessment methods. In 2007, we tried a new collection system of evaluations via Survey Monkey. This process was well received and allows NICC to collect data more efficiently. We are currently investigating the possibility of using standardized, electronic pre-testing (Compass TM) to provide efficiency and impartiality to our pre-testing procedures. NICC’s assessment technology, coupled with the web based student data management system and the video classrooms, has enhanced the capacity of NICC technologically so that our student are preparing in our classrooms to move into a global, technological society. Core Component – 3d The organization’s learning resources support student learning and effective teaching. The organization ensures access to the resources (e.g., research laboratories, libraries, performance spaces, clinical practice sites) necessary to support learning and teaching. The college is a small institution and as such resources are limited, but while working to continually improve our resources, NICC partners with a number of institutions, agencies and individuals. The College has developed joint efforts with the high schools for
science labs. On site educational experiences include those at Omaha Tribal Housing for carpentry students, Omaha Head Start and other child care centers for Early Childhood Education students, and internships for the Human Services/Counseling students. The college also operates libraries at two locations (Macy and Santee) with internet access to further assist with access issues and concerns. NICC has received access to Nebraska Access which allows students to perform database searches from XXXXX. The college purchases all textbooks for the courses and then students are billed for their books, fees and tuition. There bills stay in the system until their financial aid packages arrive. We recognize that students may not have the financial ability to purchase their books prior to their financial aid receipt so NICC makes the learning resources available. The organization evaluates the use of its learning resources to enhance student learning and effective teaching. The assessment plan, Academic Council, Executive Council, Registration and Student Services Committee, and the Office of the President are all concerned about the learning resources NICC maintains.
Each year a limited amount of
funding is allocated to updating learning resources. Additionally, a number of grant programs provide for resource purchasing. This includes our Title III, Department of Defense, USDA-CSREES Tribal Education Equity and other grant programs. Evaluation of learning resources is performed regularly as a function of the Academic Council and the Registration and Student Services Committee. In addition to this, the Title III program has done extensive research and surveys on availability and utilization. The NSF-TCUP STEM Survey Grant project evaluated our science and math resources.
The organization supports students, staff, and faculty in using technology effectively. The main area of this support financially comes from the Title III program, which provide technological equipment and access. The college houses computer labs, video technology equipment, and internet access at all locations. In addition to this we address technology use and provide learning opportunities to students through course work, such
as College Survival, Intro to Computers, English Composition I, and Principles of College Math. Due to advances we have made in technology education, as well as other factors, student use has increased dramatically. Faculty and staff are also provided with technology learning opportunities through workshops, development meetings, and inservices. NICC provides effective staffing and support for its learning resources. The Academic Dean oversees 7 full time faculty and several adjuncts, and an Elder Coordinator that instructs full time. Nearly 100% of the adjuncts are funded through the general fund, and three of the five full time instructors are funded as such. Other people who are funded under the general fund are the President, the Business Office Director, the Financial Aid Director, and 85% of the Academic Dean’s position. Student Support Service positions are also partially General Fund positions. Under our current management structure, 60% plus of the positions at the institution are directly related to staffing for effective student development, while indirectly 100% of the general fund budget is allocated to student development. Grant funded positions also contribute directly to staffing and support of learning resources. The Title III program provides support for technology resources and staffing. A USDA-CSREES Tribal Education Equity project provides for staffing a laboratory position. This person will acquire the equipment to make Native foods and dyes labs and then implement these labs into our science curriculum. These exemplify how NICC works not only to acquire learning resources but also to effectively utilize them for student learning. The college’s systems and structures enable partnerships and innovations that enhance student learning and strengthen teaching effectiveness. The institution’s responsible, supportive use of the internet and video technology equipment exemplify the College’s commitment to the enhancement of student learning and teaching effectiveness. NICC partners with tribal and non-tribal agencies (e.g. Head Starts, Housing Departments, child care facilities, the Boys and Girls Home, Indian Health Services clinics, the Omaha
Tribal Alcohol Program, etc.) to enhance student learning through hands-on field experience. NICC collaborates with Bellevue University to facilitate our learners ability to pursue baccalaureate education. We have articulations with Wayne State College, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of South Dakota, National American University, Salish Kootenai College, and others which allow our students to continue their education without impediment. We are further working on 2+2 articulations with Dana College and University of Nebraska-Kearney at this time. Partnerships with other land grant institutions (e.g. University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of South Dakota) and partnerships with other Tribal Colleges through the American Indian Higher Education Consortium further strengthen our learning resources. One further aspect of the collegeâ€™s system that enhance student learning and teaching effectiveness is the affiliation with the higher learning commission and the self study process.
Criterion Four: Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge Criterion Statement: The organization promotes a life of learning for its faculty, administration, staff, and students by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity, practice, and social responsibility in ways consistent with its mission.
Nebraska Indian Community College is dedicated to implanting the seeds of knowledge through educational experiences that promote a life of learning for students, employees, and the organization itself. Students, through a broad range of courses and activities, are encouraged to master academic concepts to increase their skills and abilities. This also serves to promote living responsibly and productively in a changing, contemporary Tribal society within a larger diverse global framework. Faculty and staff evaluate themselves, making sure they show characteristics of being professional, cheerful, polite, helpful, concerned, ethical, and moral role models in terms of Tribal value models. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to further their own learning experiences regarding their own academic pursuits as well as furthering their knowledge of cultural language and practices. As an organization, NICC continues to find ways to better serve its communities while staying true to its mission and core values. Core Component â€“ 4a The organization demonstrates, through the actions of its board, administrators, students, faculty, and staff, that it values a life of learning.
The Nebraska Indian Community College promotes a life of learning for its faculty, administration, staff, and students by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity, practice, and social responsibility in ways consistent with its mission. The mission, vision, and core values of the college are:
MISSION The Nebraska Indian Community College provides quality higher education and lifelong educational opportunities for Umonhon (Omaha), Isanti (Santee Dakota) and other learners. VISION Nebraska Indian Community College is envisioned as a comprehensive Tribal College which values service through high quality education. The college is distinctive in serving the diverse people of the Umonhon (Omaha) and Isanti (Santee Dakota) Nations. It features an enriched living and learning environment and year-round operation. The identity of the college is framed by a substantive commitment to multicultural learning. Institutional programs value and cultivate the creative and productive talents of learners, faculty, and staff, and seek ways to contribute to the self-sufficiency of the Nations served, the well being of our communities, and the quality of life and development of its learners, faculty, and service areas. The overall goals of NICC are to: •
Prepare individuals for their roles as effective tribal members and citizens in a changing and complex environment.
Integrate, revitalize, and preserve Umon hon and Isanti culture throughout the college environment, including but not limited to: history, Umo nhon language, Dakota language, games, songs, arts/crafts, and the way of life.
Expose students to and expand the mission driven curriculum in the arts, humanities, communication, sciences, mathematics, social sciences, and Native American studies.
Build skills for lifelong learning.
Provide an enhanced, sustainable, positive learning environment.
Organize, manage, and finance higher education for NICC as a model Tribal College. 49
Integrate learning in ways that cultivate an individual's understanding and ability to think about large and complex subjects, formulate and analyze valid concepts, solve problems, and clarify values. Core Values
The College is also committed to the following beliefs and core values: •
Cultural preservation, continuity, and revitalization consistent with the Umonhon (Omaha) and Isanti (Santee Dakota) peoples' needs, including languages and Tribal knowledge, are key elements of the college.
Learning is a life-long process and that the learner centered atmosphere is of the utmost importance.
Safe and healthy, working and learning environment promotes free expression and the exchange of ideas so learners will be challenged to think holistically, and to live responsibly and productively in a Tribal and global society.
Based from the college’s goals and values, specific examples of the college’s commitment to lifelong learning are identified. Some of these types of goals include the college’s core belief that learning is a life-long process. One goal relating to this commitment is that the College will build skills for lifelong learning. A second goal is to integrate learning in ways that cultivate an individual's understanding and ability to think about complex subjects, formulate and analyze valid concepts, solve problems, and clarify values. Specific activities and sub goals are listed in the College’s strategic plan that relate to this criterion. Over the past year, the faculty and staff have been examining the educational outcome goals for the College to ensure that they reflect the educational needs of our constituents in line with the mission of NICC. These outcomes promote critical thinking, cultural grounding, and effective communication, which are the foundation for a life of learning and inquiry. NICC is an open enrollment institution, promoting access to learners of all ages. NICC offers scholarships to recent high school graduates and to Elders (senior citizens) in order to
provide life long learning opportunities. For the past two summers, NICC provided tuition waivers to students who could not receive other sources of financial aid and wanted to pursue their educations. The Board of Directors reflects our commitment to life long learning, with its members ranging from recent graduates of NICC to Elders. NICCâ€™s planning and budgeting processes demonstrate that it values and promotes a life of learning for its students, faculty, and staff. NICC maintains an annual balanced budget which places emphasis on providing for all aspects of student learning. The largest portion of our operating budget is consistently Academic Affairs. This provides for instructors and student advisors; people who have the most contact with students. NICC has placed an emphasis on providing students with a supportive learning environment. Fiscally, NICC has placed a priority on hiring a greater number of faculty and staff to provide improved student contact and an ideal student:teacher ratio. In 2007, one new full-time instructor, one Elder Coordinator, and one half-time instructor were hired. Plans are underway to hire one more faculty member. These hires addressed key areas of the Academic Strategic Plan, which emphasized a need for more curriculum oversight and staffing in Early Childhood and Business. The first two instructors hired were for these areas. The Elder Coordinator provides cultural instruction and increases community involvement at the institution, which is fundamental to our mission, vision, and values. Budgetary resources have also been allotted to provide increased opportunities for lifelong learning through the above mentioned institutional scholarships and waivers, including recent graduate, Elder, and summer tuition waivers. Recently, through a USDA-CSREES grant, we have been able to offer full tuition scholarships to five students per semester who seek degrees in Early Childhood and Business Administration. In spring 2007, NICC will offer four students tuition waivers and stipends to study Omaha language, culture, teaching, and acquisition methods to become Language Specialists. This, again, addresses our mission, vision, and values. Faculty at NICC are granted tuition and fee waivers to participate in Native language courses, helping them to advance their skills and become more able to provide mission-centered teaching. NICC
is constantly striving to make educational opportunities available to all learners throughout their lives. NICC has finished renovation of an updated facility at South Sioux City, NE, is in the process of constructing a new facility at Macy, NE, and has plans for construction of a new facility in Santee, NE. These efforts show a commitment to creating a healthy physical environment in which all students can learn. Studies like (Maxwell 2000) suggest that an improved learning environment positively affects student learning outcomes. NICC recognizes this and allocates significant resources toward this need for our learners.
NICC supports and promotes professional development opportunities, making them available to all of its administrators, faculty, and staff. The college shows its support for life-long learning through the use of professional development activities. NICCâ€™s employee learning activities coordinate and provide support for faculty (full-and parttime) and staff development and technology training. The purpose of all employee and organizational learning at NICC is, ultimately, to improve student learning. The goal is to develop higher levels of student performance and achievement. The support of the employee learning can be seen from NICCâ€™s professional development opportunities. These include all-employee meetings, technology training, college-wide retreats, workshops, conferences, Faculty Summer Professional Development Institute, Faculty Winter Professional Development Workshop, and a tuition waiver program. Everyone at NICC is encouraged to pursue professional development activities through the use of NICC coursework, tuition free. Fees are also waived for Native language coursework. Tuition and fee free cultural courses are also made available on a regular basis to faculty, staff, and students to promote mission-centered education. For example, Traditional Buffalo Kill and Brain Tanning classes have been offered at no charge to participants. Employees are granted up to six hours of educational leave time per week to pursue degree-related coursework as stated in the Employee Handbook page 23. Also the College provides one year of educational leave without pay if it is to the benefit of the
College which includes re-employment with the College. The Academic Dean, upon receipt of a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, was granted a two month summer sabbatical which focused on revitalization of traditional Omaha narratives, which will subsequently be utilized for coursework. NICC has a firm commitment to the intellectual growth of its employees. Additionally, from time to time, professional development activities are paid for by the College through grant programs, such as college coursework through the Title III program and the Higher Learning Commission meeting. The College provides professional memberships for the Business Officer, the Financial Aid Director, and the Admissions, Advising, and Registration Director as provided in the 2007-2008 College general fund budget. The USDA grant funded business instructor and science instructor have funding available for professional development as a line item in their budgets. The institution also supports scholarship and research for its own growth. One example of this is that the Board of Directors authorized the College president to include NICC in his doctoral research. This research and scholarship will accurately document the history of the College. A by-product of this research will be a database containing all of the College’s legal documentation (the articles of incorporation, board by-laws, board minutes, the employee handbook, student handbook, accreditation information, and contractual documentation). The success of NICC students is nurtured by a learning-centered college culture. The college acknowledges and rewards achievements of its students in a variety of ways. The College publicly acknowledges its students’ achievements through many programs and processes. For example, student achievements in learning are acknowledged through the presentation of degrees and certificates at the College’s commencement programs. Graduation ceremonies alternate between the Santee and the Omaha Tribal communities. The commencement ceremonies are consistently well attended by students, faculty, staff, students’ families and friends, and the general communities. Tribal traditions and ceremonies of both charter entities are included in the public commencement with key
participation from community Elders, drum groups, singers, and other Tribal members. The last commencement took place in Santee and a cedar ceremony (blessing the event) took place. The Tribal Chairman provided the keynote address. A Santee Dakota drum group, Maze Kute, which includes a Tribal Council Member and other community members, sang. A feast was held for all to celebrate. Beginning this year (2007), NICC is instituting a student recognition dinner at the end of the fall semester to recognize student achievements and contributions. This event will take place at an outside location with a catered meal for staff, faculty, students, and their families, fostering our community and acknowledging those in it. In addition to the traditional awarding of degrees, the College acknowledges the achievements of students in publications and communications, such as the NICC Newsletter, the Tribal College Journal, and the Niobrara Tribune, which is a local area newspaper read by many community members. Another form of recognizing student academic achievement is the Deanâ€™s List, which is published every academic semester. The Deanâ€™s List is sent to local papers (Pender Times, Niobrara Tribune, Sioux City Journal), faxed to both Tribal Councils and Tribal Higher Education Directors, and posted throughout the campuses and tribal communities to recognize these students. NICC also recognizes student learning achievements in numerous ways. Based on GPA, enrollment status, and other eligibility requirements, students are awarded scholarships such as the USDA-CSREES Tribal Education Equity Tribal Agribusiness, Early Childhood Education, American Indian College Fund, Coka-Cola and Ford Scholarships, NASA Science Grant Consortium, and other forms of merit-based scholarships. The annual Omaha and Santee Nationsâ€™ Pow Wows allow the College to communicate the achievements of the students with the community. Visitors from many states attend the two multi-day events.
NICC students are recognized for academic achievement and leadership qualities by being nominated and elected by the student body to the Student Senate. Two representatives and one alternate are elected from each campus for a one-year term. During their term, they have an opportunity to work closely with the Board, administration, faculty, and staff. They serve on the various NICC committees, advocating for student needs and gaining familiarity with higher learning decisionmaking processes. The Student Senate also coordinates various student sponsored activities, such as Handgames, Pow Wows, and fundraisers. The board has approved and disseminated statements supporting freedom of inquiry for the organization’s students, faculty, and staff, and honors those statements in its practices through the Board of Director By-laws, Employ Handbook and the Student Catalog. Core Component - 4b The organization demonstrates that acquisition of a breadth of knowledge and skills and the exercise of intellectual inquiry are integral to its educational programs. As a two-year community college, NICC has established itself as a learning-centered college with a spectrum of courses and career paths for students, as shown in its catalog and in each semester’s schedule of classes. These choices are available to students, whether their plan is to complete a certificate or degree program, to transfer to a four-year school, or to take special-interest courses only. The mission of NICC is “to provide a quality higher education and opportunities for life-long learning to the Umonhon (Omaha) and Isanti (Santee Dakota) people and other students.” Programs and services are continuously evaluated and improved to meet the needs of students, businesses, and the community. NICC’s general education and occupational curricula for degree and certificate programs are designed to help students obtain a breadth of knowledge, skills, and abilities. The college is committed to and demonstrates that the acquisition of a breadth of knowledge and skills and the exercise of intellectual inquiry are integral to its educational programs.
The college does this by requiring general education courses of all of its degree seeking learners. The general requirements for the degree programs can be found on page 41 of the 2007-2009 College Catalog, and the strategic goals which relate directly are: 1) To build skills for advanced and lifelong learning; 2) To expose individuals to the idea of thought and interpretation of the arts, humanities, communication, sciences, mathematics, and social science; 3) To integrate learning in ways that cultivate an individual's understanding and ability to think about large and complex subjects, to formulate and analyze valid concepts, to solve problems, and to clarify values; and 4) To prepare individuals for their roles as effective tribal members and citizens in a changing and complex society. General Education Goals and Outcomes These goals are all further broken down into the General Education Goals and Outcomes. Students completing either the Associate of Arts, the Associate of Science, or the Associate of Applied Science degree programs will be able to apply the knowledge, concepts and skills requisite of a general education. In the current catalog, the specific table which links the required courses to the strategic goals of the institution are: Communications: •
The ability to express in writing ideas that are effective and show a sound command of English grammar and mechanics.
The ability to develop and deliver effective oral presentations.
A basic knowledge and application of research skills.
Native American Studies: •
Knowledge and appreciation of Native American history and culture.
A basic knowledge of the structure, grammar, phonetics and vocabulary of either the Omaha or Dakota language.
Math, Science & Technology: •
An ability to reason mathematically and to perform mathematical operations involving percents, ratios and proportion.
An ability to solve problems through the use of algebraic methods.
An understanding and application of the methods of scientific inquiry.
Basic computer literacy
Fine Arts & Humanities: •
A basic knowledge of the arts or an appreciation of cultures to increase the understanding of how they enrich the human condition.
Health and Physical Education: •
An understanding of how proper exercise, diet and recreational sports contribute to a person's mental, physical and psychological well-being.
An understanding of the importance of continuing physical activities throughout the life span.
History and Social Science: •
A basic knowledge of historical events and the impact they have had on different societies and cultures of the world.
A basic understanding of human behavior and an appreciation of and a respect for human diversity.
An awareness of each person's responsibility in their own community and the world community.
These general education outcomes are currently being reviewed by the faculty in conjunction with the staff and students at NICC as part of our effort to assess student learning. A series of meetings has been held to create student learning outcomes which are cross-disciplinary and reflective of our tribal identity. For example, one student learning outcome currently being formalized is: 57
Students will be able to effectively communicate as demonstrated through written and oral speaking skills. ďƒ˜ These skills should be attained in both English and Native Languages and should reflect appropriate Native values. As can be seen in this revised student learning outcome, NICC is focused on tailoring its educational experience to its mission and constituency, constantly refining its goals and service accordingly. Furthermore, this outcome, rather than being discipline-specific as the earlier goals, is cross-disciplinary and can be striven toward by all disciplines on a variety of levels. This promotes holistic thinking and effective collaboration by the entire college. The Academic Dean, the Advising Director, and a faculty member attended a Higher Learning Commission workshop on assessment of student learning in order to develop better goals and learning outcomes for NICC students. The knowledge obtained was then shared with staff and faculty at the NICC summer retreat. This spearheaded the current initiative to refine our goals and learning outcomes. This effort has been widely supported throughout the institution with representatives from all areas participating in meetings and discussions. The general education core curriculum at NICC is also continually examined to ensure that we provide breadth of knowledge, skills, and an advancement of intellectual inquiry. Toward this effort, the Academic Council introduced, discussed, examined, and revised our general education core in 2006-2007. This resulted in greater inclusion of courses throughout the disciplines to fulfill core requirements based on skill building rather than discipline specific content. It also resulted in tailoring requirements based on the knowledge area or degree sought in order to best prepare students for the discipline they choose. This fine-tuning of our core requirements exemplifies NICCâ€™s commitment to helping students achieve a breadth of knowledge, skills, and abilities to be able to succeed as Tribal members and world citizens.
Each degree program at NICC also functions to promote breadth of knowledge in the degree. For example, in 2007, the Early Childhood Education curriculum was reviewed and retooled to ensure that students had a breadth of knowledge in the field â€“ from nutrition to psychology to administration. The Human Services/Counseling degree was also completely restructured to reflect student and community needs as well as state licensing requirements. In this process of curriculum revision, it became clear that students needed basic foundational work in general counseling techniques, but that they also needed courses specific to tribal communities and the ability to specialize within the counseling field. The resulting revisions in the Human Services/Counseling degree reflect the need to provide a broad knowledge base for students in this program but also to allow them to seek in depth knowledge in their specific area of interest. Degree programs and requirements are listed on pages 43-49 of the College catalog. In order to ensure that students receive a quality education which provides a breadth of knowledge and skills, fostering their abilities, and to make certain that they progress toward degree completion, NICC has instituted advising by both academic advisors and student support services, which function complimentarily. Each semester, a student works with their student support services advisor to review available classes and choose a schedule which fulfills their general education core and degree program requirements. This is then reviewed with the academic (degree program) advisor, who also discusses issues such as career goals, interests, and experiences in order to counsel the student on their choices from the perspective of an expert in the field. This replaces a past practice of having only non-academic advisors and better serves the needs of our students while theyâ€™re at NICC with an eye toward where they are going when they complete their degree.
NICC regularly reviews the relationship between its mission and values and the effectiveness of its general education. The effectiveness of NICCâ€™s general education is
reviewed regularly through a number of processes. The Academic Council regularly discusses this area in its biweekly meetings. Issues are then delegated to faculty members and working groups to research and present on to the Academic Council. At each step of this process, the relationship between the education and our mission and values is examined. For example, the need for examining our core requirements was discussed at a number of Academic Council meetings in Fall 2005 and Spring 2006. Much discussion centered on considering the needs of our communities and our students as tribal members. Debate occurred on whether our core requirements fulfilled this process or were in existence simply for convenience of transfer to other institutions. The Academic Dean then researched requirements at other tribal colleges, local transfer institutions, and other community colleges. The results of this research were then presented to the Academic Council. Division heads discussed the needs of students to work in given fields. Community forum discussions were considered. A working group specific to the A.S. degree met to discuss their needs in general education requirements. This was then also presented. Through a series of meetings, the general education core requirements for all degrees were then refined and finalized in Spring 2007. The Academic Dean also regularly reviews our general education as a part of her functions. She examines it in regard to transfer articulations, current trends with other related institutions, needs expressed by tribal leaders and agencies, and in working with other higher education administrators. She oversaw the most recent review of our general education and degree requirements. The Division Heads work in conjunction with Academic Dean to review their degree requirements and present suggested changes to the general Academic Council. A side result of examining core and degree requirements was the identification for fulltime faculty in order to provide more consistent instruction in degree programs. Programs such as Early Childhood Education and Business, which had been taught mainly by adjuncts in recent years, were seeing less general programmatic oversight due
to the structure of adjunct positions. The Academic Dean chose to immerse herself in the Early Childhood area, meet with many colleagues and professionals, and research programmatic needs. In other areas, Division Heads were able to address programmatic needs independently with collaboration from the Dean. It became apparent that popular degrees such as Early Childhood Education and Business would be much stronger and students in these areas would be better served with less adjunct instruction. Therefore, the Academic Dean sought and is continuing to seek funding in these areas for potential faculty. Currently, a full-time Business instructor and part-time Early Childhood Instructor have been hired. Another area that was noted to need better oversight was laboratory science. To this end, a full-time position is currently being advertised for which increased funding (NSF TCUP) has been applied. Community discussions at various formal events such as the community forums (Spring 2007) and informal discussions with stakeholders also serve to inform us on our general education effectiveness. These discussions with community members and agencies, as well as the Academic Council reviews, help maintain NICCâ€™s general education being linked to its mission to provide for the higher education needs of the Umonhon and Isanti peoples, as well as other learners. The result of this continual cycle of assessment and improvement of our general education has resulted in many positive dividends. These include the revised core, updated degree requirements, implementation of strengthened academic advising, and hiring of a full-time business instructor, a part-time early childhood education instructor, an extension educator, and currently, the search for a laboratory science instructor.
NICC gives its students a broader view of the world by including many curricular and experiential opportunities in diversity. NICC strives to provide a well-rounded education for our learners with varied enrichment opportunities. These include practica and internships in studentsâ€™ fields, fieldtrips to both close and distant locations, and experiential classes. For example, Early Childhood Education students are regularly
placed in local childcare programs and Head Starts. Human Services/Counseling students can intern in the tribal alcohol program (e.g. Umonhon Nita Tega Gaxa Monthin). The director of the Omaha Tribeâ€™s Alcohol Program, Umonhon Nita Tega Gaxa Monthin, regularly teaches as an adjunct for NICC. Students have been taken to visit transfer institutions, see authors, attend a Global Warming rally in Washington, D.C., visit a cadaver laboratory, and experience sacred places on their reservations. Curricular activities also expand studentâ€™s view of the world. Experiential classes such as a Traditional Buffalo Kill, Brain Tanning, Beadwork, and Traditional Singing help students to become empowered in their culture. Native American Studies classes such as Federal Indian Law help students to question the role and impact of others on their respective tribes. Western and non-western history classes, as well as Native American and western literature courses are other examples of the curricular offerings at NICC, which allow students to examine their own culture and society as well as those of others. Individual degree programs also allow for student examination of their chosen field both in a Native American framework as well as their general field. For example, students in the Human Services/Counseling field take HSC 115 Introduction to Native American Human Services as well as HSC 120 Introduction to Counseling Techniques. Tribal Leadership students take both general business courses and courses specific to tribal needs. Even when separate courses are not offered, because our students live in two worlds (Native and Non-Native), instructors strive in every course at NICC to provide reference to both. As upholding Native language and culture is one of our core values, each instructor is expected to integrate Native culture into every class, even those that are considered Western. Indeed, it is hoped that one day all classes offered will be from the Native perspective with integration of western components. Taken together, the experiences and classes offered by NICC help our students to broaden their view of the world.
Students at NICC are given opportunities for learning through activities involving experiential education and social responsibility. NICC demonstrates activities that
involve methods of scientific inquiry, the basic understanding of human behavior, an appreciation of and a respect for human diversity, and an appreciation of cultures to increase the understanding of how they enrich the human condition as detailed in the General Education Goals and Outcomes. Experiential learning is tantamount to NICCâ€™s learning philosophy; it is present in a majority of NICC courses. In our mission to empower tribal students with their own resources and the acquisition of knowledge from appropriate sources, Elders are brought into various classes. An Elder Coordinator provides guidance and teaches at the Macy site. Currently, we are seeking to create a similar position at the Santee site. Students learn hands-on in both traditional Native arts classes, such as beadwork, and classes considered more Western oriented, such as Business courses. Students and staff did not watch a video or even just watch others butchering a buffalo traditionally last spring; they participated in the butchering. Mrs. Margaret Maassâ€™s small business class did not just read and discuss businesses that exist, they created plans and models for their own businesses. Social responsibility is paramount for our students, who often are overcoming many challenges themselves. When students serve as Student Senators, they have a responsibility to promote all students. Our Natural Resources classes emphasize stewardship of the environment as tribal and global citizens. Our Native American Studies courses often delve into inequities, social responsibilities, and the process of decolonization. Native language and culture courses provide opportunities to further explore and practice cultural values and ethics.
Research projects in various courses
help students to examine issues in a multi-faceted approach which examines the ramifications of our actions. Traditional ethics courses are also offered as a general education course and as a course specific to human services professionals. NICC through its own institutional activities also helps foster social responsibility. Whenever possible, NICC feeds the community in events such as community forums, Elders dinners, and student recognition dinners. Sharing what one has with the community is an essential value of both Isanti and Umonhon people. This value has also been instantiated in Native language class dinners and the Traditional Buffalo Killâ€™s feed
and sharing of extra meat. Student Senate has sponsored powwows and Handgames which include feeding the community. The Omaha language classes have also hosted Handgames. Value for the sacredness of children is another community social responsibility upheld by NICC. Children are at NICC all the time. Recognizing that educating mothers and fathers is essential to our role in the community, faculty at NICC allow for children to come to class with their parent when necessary. At all events, entire families and not just individuals are welcomed. This is fundamental to the ways of our peoples. NICC encourages students to exercise skills of intellectual inquiry and creativity through curricular and co-curricular offerings. Exercising intellectual inquiry and creativity is essential to NICCâ€™s core value of promoting lifelong learning. Each field of study at NICC emphasizes intellectual curiosity and inquiry through analysis, examination, and reflection. This skill of inquiry is instantiated differently by each discipline but all function to promote the same abilities of our students. Communications classes, such as English Composition, emphasize research skills through locating, evaluating, and appropriately using information. Native American language courses promote linguistic analysis, finding and applying patterns in language to increase comprehension and production skills. Native American Studies courses in general emphasize utilizing appropriate sources (including oral history, Elder knowledge, and traditional means of obtaining wisdom), appropriately referencing and justly compensating sources, and deep evaluation of materials that are often taken for granted (such as the historical accuracy of written versus oral history). Mathematics courses utilize analytical thinking skills through algebraic method and other mathematical reasoning methods. Science classes employ scientific inquiry. Arts courses consider interpretation of data and the world through expressive art forms. Health courses examine how our physical choices impact our bodies and minds. Social science and history courses promote critical examination of past and present as well as our behaviors as humans. Every course, every discipline, every degree at NICC functions to increase our studentsâ€™ natural intellectual inquiry and promote the skills necessary to effectively exercise it and become a life long learner. This
goal of promoting inquiry and analysis is currently being formulated into one of NICCâ€™s updated learning outcomes. Creativity is also fostered at NICC in both curricular and co-curricular activities. Most obviously, this can be seen in arts courses such as Beadwork and Singing. However, it is an integral component to all of our work. Our students often survive on extremely limited funding in very difficult situations. Their lives are exercises in creativity and thinking outside the box to exist to the best of their abilities. Their innate creativity and ability to consider things from many angles with many different outcomes is an asset to our institution. Courses foster this through projects such as the business project referenced above in Mrs. Margaret Maassâ€™s class. It is also fostered in social science and Native American studies courses which examine history and trends from Native and nonNative perspectives. Natural Resource classes emphasize creativity to finding solutions to environmental issues and needs. For example, students consider riparian buffers as ways to promote soil conservation and create value-added products (e.g. nut trees can be used for soil conservation and for sale of nuts). Early Childhood courses emphasize utilization of basic materials in a number of creative ways to help engage children and let them explore their environment and materials. For example, a box is not just a container but can be a car, a house, a robot, a planet, a mountain, an elevator, a cave, a hat etc. Creativity is not just for expressive arts at NICC, it is integral to solution finding and investigation in all disciplines. Learning Outcomes It should be noted that the learning outcomes noted above incorporate the values of inquiry and creativity but do so in a discipline-specific (and often redundant) way. In order to express effectively that these are indeed goals of all disciplines, NICC is currently revamping their student learning outcomes. While this is still in process, those working on the goals have emphasized that one must express the development of skills in critical thinking, analysis, and inquiry.
Core Component - 4c The organization assesses the usefulness of its curricula to students who will live and work in a global, diverse, and technological society. In this rapidly changing world, education systems must challenge students to think holistically, to live responsibly and productively in a diverse, technological, global society. Students are provided with opportunities to develop awareness of global issues and tools to remain current. Examples include incorporation of internet and restricted database search techniques and data evaluation in course work, incorporation of GPS technology in Natural Resources coursework, creation of electronic language dictionaries, creation of Umonhon CDâ€™s and DVDâ€™s and Dakota language labs, and use of graphing calculators in math courses. One pertinent example of how NICC students remain current and aware of global changes involves the current use of technology in language work. Students Native language courses and the course Oral History and Tribal Tradition are exposed to best practices in digital recording for preserving and revitalizing language. Ethics of recording and the role of technology in language revitalization is considered critically. Students learn that technology is powerful in keeping a record but humans are needed to learn, teach, and speak. Technology is presented as tool to promote and increase learning and effective inquiry. The impacts of globalization and technology are readily apparent in our communities. These influences must be critically considered by our students as they have changed and are still affecting traditional ways of life and how we look upon the world. NICC promotes the investigation of these effects through requiring Native American history and language courses in the general education core requirements. Many other courses promote studentsâ€™ investigation and evaluation of these impacting factors through research, group discussion and examination, and other forms of inquiry. For example, communications courses can examine traditional forms of Native oration versus current media and English influenced forms. Science courses can examine traditional scientific practices of Umonhon and Isanti peoples (astronomy, plant knowledge, seasonal and weather pattern knowledge, to name just a few) and how these are supported by western scientific knowledge. In health and nutrition courses, the nutritional value of traditional Native foods can be compared with the modern western-influenced diet. Technology can
then be used to further examine this. NICC recently received a Department of Defense equipmentation grant to purchase the laboratory equipment necessary to investigate the chemical and physical properties of Native plants and dyes. These labs provide a link between traditional knowledge and modern technology and allow students to examine global impacts. Thus, it can be seen that NICC strives to maintain a curriculum that is relevant and supportive of our students who will live and work in a global, diverse, and technological society. NICC courses remain current and relevant through frequent evaluation, input, and review by faculty, staff, and administration. Regular academic program reviews include attention to the currency and relevancy of course offerings. NICC is implementing a well-defined process for developing, assessing, and revising curriculum. The Academic Council is committed to the development and improvement of curricular services, resources, and systems meeting the needs of the students. The Academic Council regularly discusses these areas in its biweekly meetings. Issues are then delegated to faculty members and working groups to research and present on to the Academic Council. Results of this process, which relate to keeping courses current and relevant, include the recent incorporation of several Human Services/Counseling courses, which are needed by students to fulfill requirements to become a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor. Many of our students pursuing the Human Services/Counseling degree want to attain this certification. Thus, our curriculum was reviewed and adjusted to fit this need. Natural Resources incorporated Small Business Operations as an elective in the major to reflect the needs of students in this major who are not transferring to a four year institution but rather desire to work as entrepreneurs in this field in their communities. The Librarian and Humanities Division Head noted the plethora of invalid information available to students using the Internet for research. They worked together and with Student Support Services to implement course content discussing Internet sources and evaluation. NICC strives through its processes and functions to assess the usefulness of its curricula to students who will live and work in a global, diverse, and technological society.
Core Component - 4d The organization provides support to ensure that faculty, students, and staff acquire, discover, and apply knowledge responsibly. The Nebraska Indian Community College provides support to ensure that faculty, students, and staff acquire, discover, and apply knowledge responsibly. As noted above, the evaluation of information using the Internet has been incorporated into a number of classes. Responsibility with knowledge is particularly a concern when acquiring, discovering, and applying traditional knowledge. Certain cultural knowledge is meant to be earned and shared in certain specific contexts. Native languages are sacred and speakers are treasures of wisdom. Prevention of exploitation of speakers, language, and knowledge is central to study at this institution. Funding providing for this has become available to NICC through Administration for Native Americans (ANA) grants at both the Macy and Santee campuses, as well as through a Wisdom of the People grant program. The Omaha ANA project serves to educate community members on language acquisition, teaching, documentation, and revitalization methods, including ethical considerations. This is done through both formal classes on these topics as well as through experiential learning in language immersion courses. An Eldersâ€™ Council provides direction and oversight for this project, utilizing a traditional practice of ensuring responsibility. The Santee ANA project serves to document the language while gaining input from the community on needs and desires for documentation and revitalization. This will ensure that the college works responsibly and responsively to the community. In order to promote responsible acquisition and application of scientific knowledge, the college is currently creating labs centered on Native knowledge of plants and dyes. Knowledge obtained through this project will be shared with other tribal colleges through Tribal College Journal and with the communities through classes and forums. Natural Resources classes work with the communities to educate and promote health practices through community and individual gardens, farmersâ€™ markets, and various environmental
projects. These initiatives have been funded by grant projects initiated by NICC and its faculty. Other examples of support for responsible utilization of knowledge include funding for student government, nutrition coursework, and elders in classes. NICC allocates moneys from its general fund each year to student senate to serve student needs. Senators must work to utilize student government and the knowledge obtained through it in order to serve their peers. NICC has utilized funding to provide courses to the community on nutrition and wellness, which are vitally needed in our communities. Tuition scholarships have been made available in the areas of business, early childhood, and nutrition recently to promote spread of knowledge and responsible use of it in these fields. By providing funding whenever possible for instructors to bring Elders into their classes, NICC has promoted responsible investigation and application of knowledge. Our Elders are able to provide not only wisdom that we seek but also appropriate channels for its use. The Title III department constantly considers responsible use of technology on campus to balance needs for inquiry with prohibitions against irresponsible use. Noting that chat was being used extensively on NICCâ€™s computers, the Academic Council and Title III began a prolonged discussion on its validity for use at an academic institution. Factors considered included the usual fears and realities related to spread of electronic viruses, pornographic and offensive content, but also centered on community needs for contact with distant relatives and friends in an area where many donâ€™t have telephones in the home and also the use of chat for college employees to effectively communicate between our campuses which are distant from each other. In this way, NICC used its own processes to responsibly analyze information and acted on it. NICC is grounded in its mission. The collegeâ€™s mission represents the philosophy that education thrives in a learning community that is ethical and moral using traditional culture, and to use knowledge responsibly throughout the communities and the world. Thus, through its own processes as well as through curricular and non-curricular content
and activities, we strive to promote the acquisition, discovery, and application of knowledge in responsible ways. NICC’s academic and learning support programs contribute to the development of student and employee skills and attitudes basic to responsible and ethical use of knowledge. NICC has implemented a number of policies regarding responsible and ethical use of knowledge. These are contained in the catalog so that all students, staff, and faculty have access to them. They include promotion of responsibility for acquisition and use of knowledge by students and also by employees. Policies related to student knowledge acquisition and use include Student Rights, Student Responsibilities, the Honesty Policy, and the Internet Use Policy. As stated in the NICC catalog, students have a numbers of rights that College has the responsibility to foster and protect. A number of these relate specifically to the responsible and ethical use of knowledge. These include: The right to pursue educational, recreational, social, religious, and cultural activities. The right to organize, join, and maintain membership in associations to promote lawful interests the student holds in common with other students, subject to reasonable and non-discriminatory College regulations. The right to appropriate available services of the faculty, administrative offices, and support services of the College. The right to fair and impartial evaluation of the student's academic work. The right, through representatives of the student's choice, to voice his or her opinion and to participate in the formulation of regulations affecting student affairs. The right to have the College maintain and protect the confidential status of the student's academic conduct, financial information, and counseling records,
as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). A copy of the FERPA Act may be requested through the Admissions/Advising/Records Office or at www.thenicc.edu under the “Current Student” link. Thus, students have rights to pursue knowledge, gain support in their pursuit, have just evaluation, utilize their knowledge through creation of regulations and student affairs participation, and have the right to have knowledge that the college has about them to be maintained and protected responsibly. The responsibilities of students which are related to responsible and ethical use of knowledge can also be found in NICC’s catalog. These student responsibilities include: 1. Students are responsible for their own learning and development by becoming active learners through attending class, completing class and laboratory assignments, and preparing in advance for their scheduled classes. 2. The final responsibility for planning courses, meeting requirements, and observing regulations lies with the student. It is the students' responsibility to know and observe all policies and procedures for their programs. 3. Students should assume responsibility for their own verbal and non-verbal communications, writings, and behavior. 4. Students shall maintain confidentiality when appropriate and indicated. 5. Students are responsible for appropriate use of services provided by the College. 6. Students are responsible to uphold the College's academic honesty policy. 7. Nebraska Indian Community College students are expected to abide by local, tribal, and applicable state and federal laws, as well as college regulations. The honesty policy directly reflects NICC’s emphasis on responsible use of knowledge. It is given below. HONESTY POLICY
The act of cheating, academic fraud, or plagiarism will not be tolerated at the Nebraska Indian Community College. Academic fraud is creating false documents, altering existing documents, or forging official signatures or credentials for academic purposes. Plagiarism is a special kind of cheating which often is poorly understood. It is defined as the conscious presentation of someone elseâ€™s ideas, words, or material as oneâ€™s own, without properly indicating by footnote or some other appropriate form of citation the source or origin of the material. Other authorâ€™s ideas, interpretations, and words are their personal and legal property. In the event that one wishes to use such material, one is required to give full credit to the original source. This also includes material that is paraphrased from another source or person. Plagiarism may be avoided by acknowledging, through some standard procedure, the sources for the ideas and interpretations as well as quoted phrases, sentences, or paragraphs. No matter the source of material used, whether quoted or paraphrased, acknowledgment of the source is required. Failure to give credit is plagiarism. The college reserves the right to place a student on academic probation and/or suspension if an instructor is able to sufficiently prove to the Academic Dean or the President that an incident has occurred. The instructor also has the opportunity to place an Academic Dishonesty Clause on the individual transcript if the accusation is proven for a first offense. Appeals of such actions must be submitted to the Scholastic Appeals Committee. Another NICC policy which directly references and supports responsible acquisition and use of knowledge is its Internet Use Policy. Responsible acquisition and use of knowledge is emphasized through it support of evaluation of materials obtained on the internet, compliance with copyright, and policy regarding accessing inappropriate materials. The entire policy is given below. INTERNET USE POLICY Purpose & Disclaimer 1. NICC provides access to the Internet as a service to its patrons.
2. The Internet is an immense global network, which is currently unregulated. It provides a wealth of materials that may be enriching to individuals. It also allows access to material that may be offensive or illegal. Patrons are encouraged to evaluate Internet sources carefully. NICC, the Santee Tribal Library, and the Omaha Tribal Library are not responsible for the material patrons’ access through the Internet. Patrons assume all responsibility for material accessed or copied from the Internet 3. Copyright laws apply to Internet material, just as they apply to other information in the library. It is the patron’s responsibility to comply with copyright law Policies •
Patrons will not access materials that are inappropriate. This includes information of a sexual or graphic nature. If patrons are found using the Internet for this type of material, they will be asked to leave.
Computer use is on a first-come, first-serve basis, UNLESS a patron has called ahead and scheduled an appointment.
If there are patrons waiting to use the computers, sessions will be limited to 30 minutes
On-line games are not allowed to be played on the computer
Patrons will be asked to sign a log-in sheet for computer use
Library staff will provide workshops on Internet use and research techniques for students, faculty and staff of the college as well as the general public
PRINTING: must get permission from library staff before printing.
Absolutely no food or drinks are allowed by the computers. You will be asked to leave, if you are asked to remove these items and do not comply.
Importantly, this policy references materials ownership (copyright) and quality (offensiveness), requiring responsible use. A number of NICC policies articulate its stance on the development of employee skills and attitudes basic to responsible and ethical use of knowledge. These include policies
on the Release of Student Information, Admissions, Academic Progress, Academic Appeals, Student Records, and Libraries. The Release of Student Information Policy emphasizes the responsible use of NICCâ€™s knowledge about the student. RELEASE OF STUDENT INFORMATION In general, the policy of the Nebraska Indian Community College is to keep student records confidential. It is the intention of the college to fully comply with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 2002, Section 507 of Public Law 107-56; as amended April 12, 2002, in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States that took place on September 11, 2001. The college has established policies and procedures to implement compliance. Our Admission Policy reinforces that any knowledge the institution has about the student (such as age or handicap) cannot be used to bar admission. ADMISSION POLICY The Nebraska Indian Community College has an open admissions policy. Any applicant who is sixteen years of age or older, is mentally and physically able to benefit from instruction, and has earned a high school diploma or GED certificate may apply for admission. All applicants are required to meet all the requirements as outlined in the "Admission Procedures" section of this catalog Under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 2002, Section 507 of Public Law 107-56; as amended April 12, 2002, students have certain rights to privacy and protection of information. Students have the right to inspect their records upon written request, and the right to give or withhold their written consent to the release of their educational records under certain circumstances.
The Nebraska Indian Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or any other extraneous considerations. Furthermore, the College will not deny access to an otherwise qualified applicant or student because of that applicant's or student's mental or physical handicap. As a Tribally-chartered Indian-controlled institution, the College, in the conduct of its employment program and some categorical grant programs, does reserve the right to exercise Indian preference to otherwise qualified applicants pursuant to Public Law 93-638, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, and the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968. Our Academic Progress Policy shows responsible use of student information by NICC. Based on knowledge of the studentsâ€™ academic progress, as determined by GPA and successful course completion rate, students are given various interventions to help them achieve satisfactory academic progress. For example, students failing to achieve satisfactory academic progress are required to meet with academic and student support advisors, to attend tutoring, or to enroll in a reduced course load based on lack of progress. These interventions, based on the knowledge of NICCâ€™s employees, are responsive to student needs. Rather than punitive measures, they are responsible measures used to help students. The Academic Progress Policy can be found below. ACADEMIC PROGRESS NICC's academic progress policies establish specific standards that must be met by all students enrolled for credit at the College. In order to demonstrate Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) students must maintain a cumulative 2.00 GPA (grade point average) and 66.7% successful course completion rate per semester. Students not meeting minimum standards will be subject to one or more of the following: Probation 1 - If a student has failed to maintain SAP, student must meet with both their faculty and student support advisor every two weeks. Students are allowed to register up to full-time status. If a student successfully
completes this period, student returns to satisfactory progress. If a student status is unsatisfactory after the Probation 1, student will move to Probation 2 (See below). Probation 2 â€“ The student must meet with both their faculty and student support advisor every week and if available and applicable, attend tutoring sessions. Student is allowed to enroll up to a half-time (6 hours) ONLY. If the student successfully completes this period, student returns to Probation 1 status. If student status is unsatisfactory after the Probation 2 status, the studentâ€™s status is classified as Suspension. (See below) Suspension: If a student does not attain satisfactory progress upon completion of the Probationary 2 semester, the student is considered to be making UNSATISFACTORY PROGRESS, and will be placed on suspension, which entails that the student meet with both their faculty and student support advisor every week and can enroll in ONLY one course. A student on suspension is ineligible to receive financial aid and must utilize his/her own resources to pay student costs. Regaining eligibility: If a student is placed on suspension because the minimum standards were not met, the student will not be eligible for any type of aid until the student meets the appropriate GPA and hours satisfactorily completed requirements stated above for the term currently attending. The studentâ€™s status will then be returned to a probationary 2 status. Aid granted after reinstatement will be based on the availability of funds and the student's financial need. Appeal: SEE BELOW Related to the Academic Progress Policy, the Academic Appeals Process also promotes responsible use of knowledge at NICC. It resolves disputes involving an academic decision considered by a student to be arbitrary or contrary to college policy. It allows
for new facts and clarification to be considered. This policy allows for decisions that form institutionally related knowledge about the student (e.g. grades) to be responsibly considered. It promotes that such knowledge must be used appropriately by providing a process for when it is not. The Grievance Policy provides a similar process for when nonacademic disputes need to be resolved. This can also occur in situations related to the ethical use of knowledge. The Office of Admissions, Advising, and Records maintains students’ permanent academic records. These are the institution’s knowledge concerning each students. Policies regarding the maintenance, privacy, and safety of this information demonstrate the College’s internal promotion of responsible use and application of knowledge. Library Policy also reveals NICC’s commitment to responsible application of knowledge. Objectives of the libraries include developing materials complementary to and supportive of the coursework at NICC and enabling patrons to have access to information of all types through electronic connection with the world at large. They also provide services such as Internet use for general searching as well as access to academic databases which can be used for research in class essays/assignments, as well as resources on the NICC library website (or in person by contacting the Librarian) that aide in researching topics and evaluating sources. Thus, NICC promotes responsible use of knowledge by students, staff, and faculty in all areas, including admissions, academics, records, and libraries. Instructors, students support counselors, and academic advisors all serve to further reinforce the need for responsible use of knowledge by the student. Counselors and advisors can help students evaluate where they need to acquire further knowledge and how this knowledge can be effectively applied at the College and in their discipline. Upholding institutional policy, responsibility for knowledge is supported. Our students each have a unique set of knowledge and skills which only they possess and are necessary for the survival and thriving of their tribes. We must work to help them with
their responsibility to utilize their skills and knowledge for their own betterment and that of their people. Tutoring and support from the librarians, counselors, and advisors all function to help students gain the skills needed to responsibly use knowledge gained. Professional development opportunities provided in-house at NICC help staff and faculty gain similar skills. This includes training in the record management software at faculty professional development institutes and workshops, as well as discussions there and at Academic Council on the issues of internet source use and evaluation. The Elder Coordinator helps faculty and staff to appropriately seek and utilize Native knowledge. A training is currently being arranged with University of Nebraska-Lincoln regarding privacy and student records and affairs, so that we enhance our skills at dealing with student information responsibly. As an educational institution, NICC strives constantly to promote a life of learning for its faculty, administration, staff, and students by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity, practice, and social responsibility in ways consistent with its mission.
Criterion 5 Engagement and Service Criterion Statement As called for by its mission, the organization identifies its constituencies and serves them in ways both value. Identified Constituencies: students, staff, faculty, communities, and partnerships. Data sources: Students:
Student course evaluations, grievances, community surveys
Community: PowWow surveys High School surveys Community surveys Language surveys Staff & faculty:
Community surveys, staff and faculty meeting minutes
Core Component - 5a The organization learns from the constituencies it serves and analyzes its capacity to serve their needs and expectations. Nebraska Indian Community College (NICC) continually responds to the needs of its constituencies utilizing currently available resources but also working toward building additional resources to address needs and expectations to the fullest extent possible. For example, science programming was noted by an advisor and students to lack rigor in laboratory experiences. Immediately, the advisor and Biology instructor met to discuss available resources in the Spring of 2005. Microscopes were procured from another campus and used to examine bread mold and demonstrate wet mounts. Discussion was held before the next semester with the future biology instructor as to possible laboratory experiments and necessary equipment for such. The instructor scheduled a cadaver lab visit, dissection of fish and flowers, and the purchase of basic dissection supplies, etc. These experiments utilized resources that were easily obtainable, quickly upgrading the
quality of laboratory experience at NICC. Further plans were then made to procure additional materials and equipment through the federal excess personal property program as well as through grant applications. The grant proposals included two Van Vlack Family Endowment Grants (2006, 2007) which were used to purchase anatomy software, portable lab tables with water supplies, scientific calculators, and refrigerators to hold dissection subjects. A National Science Foundation Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) survey project (2006-2007) created an inventory of science and math related resources available at NICC. Plans are underway to hold community forums to assess community STEM needs and desires, evaluate course offerings with reference to regional transfer institutions, visit STEM programs at other Tribal colleges, and create a STEM strategic action plan. A Department of Defense Equipmentation project (2007) is currently underway. This will enable NICC to purchase science equipment to conduct culturally relevant experimentation on Native plants and dyes. A USDA Tribal Colleges Research project (2007) strengthens resources and research in the area of Natural Resources. In the effort to address the needs of our constituencies and learn from their input, the Business Office has simplified student bills. These were noted in surveys by students and parents to be too complex to understand. As a result, student bills were simplified by implementation of the Student billing module of EMPOWER (records management) software in fall 2005. Also, training was provided for staff on financial aid and billing so students could be better served. Advisors currently explain student bills as needed. In the area of financial aid, students were noted to need better understanding of the processes, requirements, and time frames associated with aid distribution. This was found through advisor interactions, student grievances, and community forums. Committee meetings resulted in decisions aimed at creating a better understanding of the financial aid process and how financial aid is administered. In Fall of 2004 and again in 2007, the Financial Aid Director modified the financial aid policies and procedures manual, handouts on financial aid timeline for students, and a financial aid flowchart. Workshops were held with staff, students, and faculty regarding financial aid policies, procedures, and processes. Financial Aid Information Nights (FAIN) have been and are being held
with four regional high schools to acquaint prospective students with the financial aid process in advance of their registration. In the area of student support services, an opportunity for growth was noted on surveys and at community forums. The Macy campus, which serves the largest number of students, had only one advisor. It was found that students would be more effectively served by a greater number of advisors. Thus, a new admissions and recruitment position based at Macy campus was created. This Admissions Counselor meets with area high schools for recruitment and also provides assistance with admissions and registration, amongst other duties. In our first strategic planning meeting, the Board and faculty noted that mission-specific education related to Umonhon and Isanti culture and programming was inadequate, due to lack of fiscal resources. The Native American Studies program was reviewed and updated to better reflect student needs in this discipline. Courses were developed and implemented for 3rd and 4th semester Umonhon and Dakota, the languages of the Omaha Tribe and Santee Sioux Nation respectively. A course in Native American Traditional Foods was developed and implemented. For professional development opportunities for faculty and staff, Umonhon and Dakota language and culture courses are offered continually free of charge. Community members have worked and continue to work with NICC to create other mission-driven classes, such as the Traditional Buffalo Kill, brain tanning, Native singing, beadwork, and quillwork. Application for grant funds to better support this type of education (e.g. Administration for Native Americans 2005, 2007) were made and received. AICF National Endowment for the Humanities Cultural Preservation as well as Wisdom of the People funding has also been utilized to strengthen and enhance our mission-driven education.
NICC practices periodic environmental scanning to understand the changing needs of its constituencies and their communities. Each semester, the Academic Dean, in conjunction with Admissions, Advising and Registration staff, administers student evaluations of each course at each campus. The results for each class are reviewed by the Dean and shared with the instructors. The overall results for the campus are shared with faculty, staff, and students. This process has been streamlined through the implementation of electronic survey software in 2007. NICC conducted a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunties, and Threats surveys at the Omaha and Santee pow-wows in 2006 as well as at the college Handgame in 2005. A similar type of survey, as well as listening sessions, were hosted at each community in Spring 2007. Surveys of language and cultural needs and resources have been distributed and tabulated for the Macy campus and are planned for the Santee campus. Community forums for input have been incorporated into many grant programs such as the NSF TCUP STEM grant, the Lance Armstrong Cancer Survivorship grant, and the ANA Language Revitalization grants, Conservation for Innovation Grant, AgriForestry, and IFAFS. These types of activities ensure ongoing environmental scanning both on broader issues, such as institutional effectiveness, reputation, and response to community needs as well as on more specific issues such as community needs for language and science programming. NICC demonstrates attention to the diversity of the constituencies it serves. Having three distinct campuses, NICC primarily serves two nations, the Omaha and the Santee, but also serves other tribal and non-Native students. In the Fall 2007, 88% of the student body are enrolled Omaha or Santee students; 10% are non-native, and the remaining students are from other recognized Tribes. This has resulted in a number of policies in order to ensure equitable and responsive services. As noted above, the Institution, especially the Academic Dean and Academic Council, continually strive to implement and find resources for curriculum which is culturally responsive. In addition to the examples noted under mission-driven education, it should also be noted that the Faculty Professional Development Institute (Summer 2006) and Workshop (Winter 2007) both
included cultural lessons and sessions on incorporation of culture into curriculum by all instructors. According to Board directive, all language and cultural grants applied for must equally serve both tribes. That is, grant funds should not be applied for if only one population will benefit unless provisions are made for the other as well. Differential programming does occur at the different campuses in response to the unique needs of each population. For example, an Automotive course was offered at the Santee campus in Spring 2007 due to community desires and resources. In the area of Early Childhood Education (ECE), several different methods of instruction have been employed to better serve students at each campus. An example is that less than 4% of the ECE students completed the state initiative online courses. A first step in rectifying this issue was adding a course component to the online course structure. When this course structure was found to be in adequate the online format was no longer utilized. NICC currently works with community organizations, such as the Omaha Tribeâ€™s Head Start program and the Siouxland Family Center, to provide on-site and/or customized educational opportunities for their staff. NICC also plans events which are responsive to the cultural traditions of the populations served. Elders pray at NICC events and are explicitly consulted with regarding NICC directives. The President meets regularly with the Tribal Councils or their representatives. Resolutions of support by both Tribal Councils have been obtained for various initiatives. NICC has held traditional games, such as Handgames, in the past. NICC has always been respectful of gender roles in regard to cultural and social events, as well as ceremonies. At many events, such as graduation, Board of Director meetings, community dinners, ground breaking, etc., drum groups and Elders are incorporated. Elders are frequently invited to participate in classroom learning as well. NICC also serves a variety of student demographics. While in the past, the average student was older than the traditional aged college freshman. NICCâ€™s average student
was 28, female, and had a GED. In the Fall of 2006, our age and gender demographics changed with an influx of students who entered directly from high school. The mean, median and mode for the age of the student dropped below 25 and we have a larger percentage of males enrolled at the institution. The Admissions, Records, and Registration Director met with the Academic Dean to overview the programs of study in order to ensure that the college was able to meet the need of this changing demographic group. An example of the type of changes that have been made in response to the changing student body was the addition of business course offerings. Also, the Academic Council in their Winter professional development workshop, discussed the new obstacles encountered by the current student body. NICCâ€™s outreach programs respond to identified community needs. The recently completed Administration for Native Americans (ANA) Category I survey grant, responded to the needs of the Umonhon community for documentation of its endangered language. This included 60 plus recordings of over 35 Elders during the course of one year on a variety of topics, primarily in the Umonhon language. NICC is currently involved in both the ANA and the Wisdom of the People grants focusing on Dakota language preservation and revitalization. As constituents at both campuses have expressed a strong desire for nursing curriculum (Pow Wow surveys, High school surveys, and community forum notes), NICC has been working to develop a CNA certification program. A Nutrition class, taught earlier in NICCâ€™s history, was re-developed in order to fulfill the needs of students who go on from NICC to pursue a nursing degree. NICCâ€™s Tech Prep program offered a number of workshops on the importance of parental influence in student success, empowering parents in the various communities to help their college aged family members to succeed. Similarly, Financial Aid Information Nights (FAIN) are held to acquaint prospective students with the financial aid process in advance of their registration as high school counselors expressed this need. Regular high
school visits, as well as participation in college, health, tribal, and career fairs, within our service extend the outreach capacity of the college as well. An NICC newsletter has been established to increase the communication of the institution with its constituencies. Additionally, important events and news are posted around the campus and community as this is the main form of information dissemination for both tribal communities. NICC also holds booths at area powwows in order to promote higher education and to receive community feedback. In the Fall 2006, scholarships were given to 259 graduating seniors from community schools to help meet their educational needs. During the Fall 2007 over 300 High School Tuition Scholarships were offered. Another example of the type of outreach and extension activities that NICC pursues has been a partnership with both tribal health clinics to write and implement a grant concerning cancer survivorship when it was identified as a community need. The college is a 1994 Land Grant Institution. As such, part of our mission centers on extension and outreach programming and activities. In order to fulfill specialized and localized community needs associated with our directive as a Land Grant Institution, the college receives Extension and Equity funding, which has been utilized to develop institutional capacity. In responding to external constituencies, NICC is well-served by programs such as continuing education, outreach, customized training, and extension services. Examples of this include accounting courses were offered for tribal office employees in response to a need noted by the Umonhon Tribal Council. The Academic Dean is currently discussing possible personal finance courses and customer service training for Santee Tribal employees.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) has provided several outreach and customized training in-services for NICC to better meet changing demands. NICC works with UNL’s Indigenous Roots program in order to provide a Bachelor’s Degree in Education for tribal members. The college has also pursued the possibility of partnering with University of Nebraska at Kearney to offer a bachelor’s program in early childhood education for tribal educators. NICC staff and faculty regularly attend workshops and conferences to update their skills and overcome challenges. These include USA Funds (Recruitment & Retention), Nebraska Service Center (Retention and Development of Native American students in the Federal workforce), Nebraska Career Education, Higher Learning Commission (annual meeting, assessment workshop), etc. NICC belongs to several professional organizations which facilitate working towards the highest standards and utilizing best practices. These include the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, American Indian Higher Education Consortium, Higher Learning Commission, and various state committees with other institutions of higher education. NICC has also requested and hosted two Department of Education program visits in an effort to improve the college’s financial aid process and to remove the Heightened Cash Management II probationary status. These on-site reviews and trainings promote best practice in our financial aid processing and dissemination. Core Component - 5b The organization has the capacity and the commitment to engage with its identified constituencies and communities. NICC’s structures and processes enable effective connections with its communities. NICC’s Board of Directors are selected from our chartering Nations. The college maintains an open door policy for admissions. Administrative meetings occur on regularly scheduled days and are known to faculty, staff, students, and the community so that they are able to attend. The committee structure has been re-structured to better reflect student and institutional needs, as can be seen through the inclusion of students and faculty members on every committee.
Other instances that exemplify NICC’s commitment to engagement with identified constituencies include our library services, newsletter, recruitment and retention advisor, and co-curricular activities. The college’s libraries at the Santee and Macy Campuses also serve as the Tribal Public Libraries. These libraries offer public access computer labs and unrestricted material circulation. NICC’s newsletter is distributed to all staff and students as well as interested community members. Through the Admissions, Advising and Records Office, NICC regularly interacts with potential future students in the community. NICC’s co-curricular activities, such as community dinners and activities, engage students, staff, administrators, and faculty with external communities. Coursework and classroom practices have also served to strengthen ties to constituencies. NICC has established activity classes as intramural events between all campuses during the summer semester. Culturally centered courses, such as the Traditional Buffalo Kill, engage NICC with the communities on a regular basis. NICC has sought funding to help facilitate bringing Elders into the college on a more regular basis. The Student Senate has been established in order to empower students and their role in the institution. In 2008, a student senate course will further standardize senate policy and training, as well as provide scheduled time for cross-campus interaction. NICC utilizes video teleconferencing technology to connect the communities of learners it serves. NICC’s educational programs connect students with external communities. NICC regularly schedules practicums for degree work in the communities. For example, in Spring 2007, Early Childhood Education students with Wazhinga Tizhinga (Walthill School Daycare) as well as Santee’s Head Start for practicums. Human Services/Counseling students worked with the area clinics and the Umonhon Alcohol Program.
NICC has a policy of working to employ qualified local practitioners as educators for students, in order to provide role modeling and local opportunities. For example, the director of the Umonhon Alcohol Program, the director of Walthill Public Schools childcare program, an Educational Service Unit 1 (local school district) employee, and other community members have recently taught NICC courses in their expertise areas. NICC works to engage students with outside organizations such as Earth Link (global warming awareness), the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, transfer institutions (UNL, National American University, Wayne State College, Univerisity of South Dakota, University of Nebraska Kearny, Bellevue University), and other entities. Advisors regularly take students to visit transfer institutions. NICCâ€™s physical, financial, and human resources support effective programs of engagement and service. NICC is a service-oriented institution that promotes higher education. For example, NICC staff and students are involved in community gardening and tree planting. The college staff set non-traditional working hours to accommodate community needs. NICC staff provide information on community resources and referrals to all who inquire. NICC regularly provides support to local service entities such as Native American Church and Umonhon Nation Public School sports. The Carpentry Program regularly completes community service projects such as handicapped accessibility ramps, winterizing of Elder homes, and other student carpentry projects. NICC feeds our communities through community dinners when possible. NICC staff regularly attends community functions and events such as Handgames, ceremonies, powwows, community task force, and funerals. Our grant efforts, such as USDA Equity, ANA Language Revitalization, Lance Armstrong Cancer Survivorship and others focus on community engagement and service. Courses and degrees offered by NICC are responsive to community needs for service and engagement, such as Natural Resources, Carpentry, Human Services/Counseling, Native American Studies, Tribal Leadership, etc.
Planning processes project ongoing engagement and service. NICC has developed a number of Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) with area high schools to ensure that we serve their needs. MOA’s are also being developed for local agencies such as Siouxland Family Center to help better serve their educational needs. NICC’s planned implementation of new coursework (e.g. nursing) and programs of study (e.g. bachelor’s degrees in coordination with other colleges and universities) reflect our responsiveness to community needs. Eachh grant project proposed at NICC is reviewed to ensure that they reflect community needs and our mission-based needs. Institutional priority is given to programming which engages the students as part of their larger communities. Core Component - 5c The organization demonstrates its responsiveness to those constituencies that depend on it for service. NICC has collaborative ventures with other higher learning organizations and education sectors (e.g., K-12 partnerships, articulation arrangements, 2+2 programs). These include course articulations in business classes with the Santee Community School and ongoing talks on development of a similar articulation with Omaha Nation Public School. Course and program articulations are also in place with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Wayne State College of Nebraska, National American University, Bellevue University, Salish Kootenai College, and University of South Dakota, amongst other institutions. NICC has 2+2 agreements with National American University, Salish Kootenai College, and Wayne State College. Plans for a similar agreement are currently underway with Dana College and University of Nebraska-Kearney. NICC participates in statewide articulations in Early Childhood Education and Business. NICC collaborates with the UNL Indigenous Roots program which offers bachelor’s degrees for tribal students at reservation locations. NICC’s transfer policies and practices create an environment supportive of the mobility of learners. NICC is currently engaged in a discussion with Little Priest Tribal College and Northeast Community College to create possible course articulations as many of our
students transfer between these institutions (often repeatedly) while pursuing certificates and associate level degrees. Due to the fact that many tribal students prefer to receive online degrees above the associate’s level so they can continue to reside on the reservation, NICC has completed transfer articulations with National American University and Bellevue University. We will be hosting a Business Administration B.A. program for Bellevue University in Spring 2008 in order to meet community needs for higher education. As a number of NICC students transfer to University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UN-L), NICC continually works with UNL to help students transfer. Such efforts include participation by the Dean in UNL-Career Opportunities in Research board, participation by NICC in UNL Roots program, and work with their Transfer Dean to update articulations. In 2007, for example, one student was having difficulty transferring Math coursework to UNL as their Math program had changed. The Academic Dean, Math instructor, and UNL’s Transfer Dean and Math Transfer Coordinator worked together to satisfactorily address this issue for the student. Community leaders testify to the usefulness of the organization’s programs of engagement. Both Tribal Councils have provided resolutions of support for NICC’s language preservation efforts. Other resolutions of support have been obtained for other areas. At community dinners, Elders have spoken in support of cultural programming and community members have spoken in support of other programs as well such as Automotives, Human Services, Carpentry, and Natural Resources. NICC’s programs of engagement give evidence of building effective bridges among diverse communities. Omaha and Santee tribal members, other tribal members, and nonNatives regularly participate together as students, board members, faculty and staff. Non-Native and Native students, faculty, and staff regularly work together to effectively create a conducive learning environment due to our open door policy. Through work with transfer institutions and regional agencies, these outside institutions are introduced to Native students, culture, institutions, and education.
NICC participates in partnerships focused on shared educational, economic, and social goals. The above mentioned Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) and course articulations with area high schools, as well as course and program articulations with other postsecondary institutions and involvement in statewide articulations, provide evidence of partnerships based on shared educational goals. MOA’s being developed for local agencies such as Siouxland Family Center to help better serve their educational needs and collaboration with local agencies on grants such as Lance Armstrong Foundation, NSF TCUP, and Omaha Tribal Housing RELATE (Rehabilitation Labor Technician instantiate NICC’s commitment to partnerships based on shared economic goals. Shared social goals underly NICC’s cooperative efforts with Elders, Tribal Councils, schools, local agencies, and institutions all provide examples of NICC working to form partnerships to promote shared social goals. NICC’s partnerships and contractual arrangements uphold the organization’s integrity. Articulations, MOA’s, tribal resolutions, and partnerships with area institutions all are based on NICC’s priorities and the needs of its constituents. For example, the articulations with Salish Kootenai College and National American University uphold the rigor of our coursework while providing the opportunity for our Business and Natural Resources students to pursue four year degrees in a timely manner.
Core Component - 5d Internal and external constituencies value the services the organization provides. NICC’s evaluation of services involves the constituencies served. These evaluations include surveys of staff, students, and the community, as well as employee evaluations and community forums.
Service programs and student, faculty, and staff volunteer activities are well-received by the communities served. Outreach programs such as community specific programming have been met with strong support. For example, the Siouxland Family Center has asked to form a memorandum of agreement to document the strong partnership formed to offer relevant curriculum for their staff. Community members have shown appreciation at dinners for various outreach activities such as community gardens and the carpentry department’s work for handicapped access. The organization’s economic and workforce development activities are sought after and valued by civic and business leaders. NICC has offered business-related programming for tribal employees in the past. Since then, both tribal councils have approached NICC about further workforce development type programming. Organizations such as Head Start, local daycares, the Siouxland Family Center, and Tribal Housing work with NICC to provide community training. NICC has also been asked to provide classes at the Umonhon Alcohol Program. External constituents participate in the organization’s activities and co-curricular programs open to the public. Community forums have had good public attendance in the past. Other schools such as University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Oklahoma, and National American University have come to NICC to provide programming for our students and/or staff. Eduquest has helped to provide financial aid information. The Department of Education has provided site visits to further help our financial aid processes and procedures. Courses such as the Traditional Buffalo Kill and Brain Tanning have had participation by members of the surrounding communities as well as enrolled NICC students. The organization’s facilities are available to and used by the community. NICC provides the only public computing and internet facilities for both tribes that it serves. The libraries are the only public lending libraries for the towns which they serve.
The organization provides programs to meet the continuing education needs of licensed professionals in its community. Our Human Services/Counseling degree was recently revised to provide for the coursework needed to become a Nebraska Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor. NICC revitalized a nutrition course to help local food service workers meet necessary qualifications. The Early Childhood Education program curriculum has been reviewed and revised to be consistent with state guidelines.
Overall Observations/Planning for the Future During the self study process and the strategic planning process, the college has been successful in identifying strengths, weaknesses or challenge areas, and opportunities, and threats. The planning process is ongoing to assist in developing and transforming the institution in beneficial ways. Following is a description of some of the areas that have identified. Board of Directors Strength The strengths of the institution include a strong and supportive Board of Directors. The college in the past has had issues related to governance. These governance issues related to issues of non-meeting, micromanagement, and Tribal Council disruption. The current Board structure, consisting of an eight member board with two alternates, has made every meeting called in the past three and half years. The collegeâ€™s Board also allows the President and the administration to operate the institution free from micromanagement. As detailed in the by-laws, no Tribal Council members shall serve on the collegeâ€™s Board. Weakness Currently the Board of Director needs to reconstruct its By-Laws. The past system of a dual Board structure, a Board of Trustees and a Board of Directors, did not serve the institution well. The Board of Trustees was a ten member board which was to meet annually with the main functions of 1) repopulating the Board of Directors; and 2) to be the Tribal Council liaison. The Board of Directors, a board of five, which had the main responsibilities of 1) setting institutional policy; and 2) to hire and fire and the president; was to meet monthly. Issues with this dual board structure began to surface immediately. The largest issue and concern was the Board of Trustees began to call additional meetings and issues revolving policy were beginning to creep into the Board of Trustees. Others issues with the dual structure were that the Board structure was larger than the of full time people employed at the institution, their was not a clear line of communication between the Tribal Councils and the College because of the breakdown of communication between the Board of Trustees, and the additional expense related to a dual Board structure.
Currently the college operates as if it were a single Board structure. The councils have both approved adding the responsibility of Board repopulation and Tribal Council communication to the Board of Directors and in increasing the number of Board of Directors. A request for change was submitted to the Higher Learning Commission but has not yet been approved. The prime issues with the change in By-laws are items of a nature of less consequence than those described above. These items include changing the terms of members, changing some misquotes of the information, and requesting attorney review. The change will still occur but the process is a time consuming process to get the By-laws reviewed, changed, disseminated for public review and then final approval by the Board so that it can be resubmitted to the learning commission. Opportunities As stated previously, the collegeâ€™s Board is a strength of the college, but opportunities and threats do surround it. One prime example of an opportunity is that the Board could play a more active role in fund raising for the college. Threats A threat to the institution through the Board of Directors is one that exists everywhere, in that of micromanagement. The college must remain vigilant to ensure the board does not slip into micromanagement practices of the past. Another threat that could prove to be detrimental is that the college has been successful in recruiting successful individuals in their areas of expertise to serve as Board Members. This strength becomes a threat when it involves a possible set of isolation from the communities we serve. Because our board members are successful and some do not live in the communities we directly serve, issues could arise. This is not to say the Board members are not a part of the communities, but this is another issue that the college should remain vigilant to ensure that we are acting in a nature that is responsive to our constituent needs. Santee Sioux Nation and the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska Strength The Santee Sioux Nation and the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, the collegeâ€™s chartering Nations, are a strength of the institution. Both sovereign Nations have approved numerous documents pertaining to governance and for Grant applications.
Recently the college has initiated the process of seeking additional funding and the Chairman of each Nation have been very supportive of the efforts, including scheduling time to visit major donors. The councils meet with the college during various times throughout the year to gain informative updates and to discuss concerns. The Tribes have been and remain an important constituent group and strong supporter. Weaknesses The largest weakness in terms of Tribal support is in the area of financial support. The college does not receive a regular appropriation from either Tribal Council with the exception of emergency funding. Both the Omaha Tribe and the Santee Sioux Nation operate casinos and other Tribal enterprises, but the profit margins from these efforts have historically been marginal at best. The Tribes operate in the lowest income counties in the state of Nebraska, and as such, Tribal operational dollars are restricted. Opportunities Additional opportunities exist within each Tribal Nation. One area that still holds possibility is to have the college gain the reputation of a valuable and expert trainer so that the Tribal training funding will be funneled to the college. Another area, specifically in relation to finances, is to submit an annual budget request to both Nations from the college. Threats Threats also exist on both reservations that stem from the Tribal Councils. The largest threat is one of college separation. The college serves two distinct cultures, utilizing two unique languages, cultures, and histories, on a very limited budget. From time to time discussions of college separation arise because of the factor mentioned previously. The prime method of handling this threat is to utilize continued information sharing and advocacy. Neither Tribe can sustain a solely based institution of higher learning. Faculty/Staff Strength The faculty and staff are a strength of the college. Over half of the faculty and staff have been with the college for five or more years, with a quarter of the college staff and faculty being a part of the college for more than 10 years. All of the faculty and staff
maintain the appropriate credentials for the capacity that they serve. The college has a loyal and dedicated following. Weaknesses The collegeâ€™s main weaknesses in relation to faculty and staff are that 1) the size of the college is small; 2) the salary rates are not necessarily comparable to other institutions in the area; and 3) the decentralized nature of the college. The college needs additional faculty to support its programs. Also, the college is in need of increased support staff to assist in day to day operations. Additionally, all of the collegeâ€™s job descriptions should be updated. Opportunities The college should be looking into partnerships for staff and faculty with other organizations. The college currently utilizes some workforce development and Americorp participants in different methods, but additional types of these programs should be identified and assistance requested. Additionally, the college should further explore the possibility of creating internships and practicums with area Universities so that their students could instruct college level courses at the NICC. Threats Even though the college has a dedicated and loyal staff, plans for filling vacancies should be more thoroughly examined, especially at the top levels of the institution. A plan for the replacement of the president should be created and approved by the Board to eliminate a disruption in the administration of the college. This plan should include an interim succession and search plan. Plans for a more rewarding benefit and salary structure should be created to examine position salaries and benefits including a local salary analysis on at least an every five year basis. This plan should attempt to gain a salary scale of institutions in similar characteristics, especially in relation to student population, decentralized, multicampus, and Tribally chartered. Students Strength
The student body is another strength of the organization. The student body strongly represents our mission in that over 80% of the college’s student population is enrolled in the Santee Nation or the Omaha Tribe. Weaknesses The student body also contains weaknesses. One of these weaknesses is the size of the student body. The college’s student body is small and has seen small decreases in size despite the fact of increased enrollment efforts, including signage, advertisement and student visits. The main cause of this issue varies by campus, but the main explanation of the decrease in the overall college is the decrease of the Macy Campus, which saw a decrease of 40% from Spring of 2006 to Spring of 2007. The Macy Campus enrollment issue has been identified as the facility. Efforts are still in progress to get the new Macy Campus to a point that is operational. Opportunities Over half of the college’s associate degree graduates request transcripts to be sent to four institutions, indicating a high rate of student transfer into four year programs. An opportunity for increasing enrollment size is to offer more varied programs of study, which include Bachelor level programming. The college has began a partnership with Bellevue University to offer a Bachelor of Science program in Business on NICC’s campuses. The program, while still in its infancy should provide valuable information on whether or not the college would be able create and sustain such types of programs. Threats Other issues to help in explaining the large percentage student decrease include the general size of college. A loss of 20 students from a large campus does not even show up as blip, but a loss of 20 students is substantial for NICC. Ever changing policies and procedures of Tribal and State aid programs prove to have drastic effects on the college. One fine example of this is that a state assistance program changed its policies locally from a focus on general education to a more refined focus on short term educational certificates and training. This change in policy also assists in providing the reasoning behind some of the student enrollment issues. Facilities Strength
The college currently has plans to create college owned structures for each of its campus sites. The South Sioux City Campus is currently the only facility that is owned by the institution and utilized as a campus site. The new Macy Campus site has been under construction since 2001 to create a learning conducive site. Planning for land acquisition and facility construction for the Santee Site are underway. Weaknesses The college has huge weaknesses in the areas of its facilities. The Macy campus is a hazard to human health. The Santee Campus is in need of repair and does not have an adequate science lab. Opportunities Opportunities for growth of the facilities and campus locations exist. Various granting agencies, including the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture exist to assist in eliminating these campus related issues. The college will have real campuses at our reservation sites, which will be wholly owned and operated by the college. Donors are also in the currently being approached to assist in the development of these much needed locations. Threats The largest threat in the area of campus construction is the slow detour away from brick and mortar types of funding. Another detour area is the history of the college in producing much needed facilities because of grantor requirements, state issues, and legal debacles. Finances Strength The financing of the institution main strength is the current budgeting process. The current process is that the college president creates a budget based upon estimated costs for the upcoming year compared with the best hypothesis of income. The multiyear budgeting process is a simple flat rate process because of fluctuations that occur within student tuition collection and with the Tribal College Act funding. The A-133 Annual Budgets are completed and submitted on time. In past years, the college was forced into lay off situations to continue to exist. The college has not had a lay off period for three and half years, and as long as the
college’s main operational funding arrives in a timely fashion (October – February) the college will not need to take out a line of credit to make payroll and basic operational needs. Weaknesses Even though the A-133 audits are being completed and submitted on time, issues exist within the audits that need to rectified, such as the elimination of the findings so that the college can have a clean audit. The college is working to eliminate these findings. An example of this can be seen through the college resolution to refund its endowment to the area that it should be. Additional work with the new Business Officer, the college’s auditor, the accounting system, and the independent audit team should also assist in eliminating these issues. Another apparent issue in regards to financing is the lack of a huge resource base. The Tribes, as described previously, do not have the resources to fund the institution. The State of Nebraska does fund the college to an extent only provides minimal support. Currently the independent giving from outside the institution is minimal. The main source of operational funding for the college comes from the Tribally Controlled Community College and University Act funding. This funding is to be sent to the college by October 1 of every year, but the process is severely behind because of the continuing resolution process. Opportunities Various opportunities exist to improve the college’s financial situation. Advocacy in Congress for support of full and forward funding for the Tribally Controlled Community College and University Act is primarily sought and needs to continue to be sought from Congress on a yearly basis. Another opportunity exists within the state. Another Tribal College funding bill should be introduced to the state fund the college. Currently, the college receives funding from the state for our non-beneficiary students, but a bill was introduced a number of years ago to fund all of the college’s students because they are still members of the state. Finally, additional grant opportunities and an increased effort to maintain capital campaigns should be implemented at the institution. Threats
The prime threats that stem from the financial situation are a drop in funding from any of the sources of funding, including the Tribal College Act, State funding, Grant funding, and tuition collection. The methods that are utilized to handle these threats are strict budgetary control and advocacy with all levels. Academic Programming Strength The strengths in the academic programming area stem from the college’s increased ability to better offer its associate degree programs through additional qualified faculty members. Another strength of the college’s academic programming is the four year partnership with Bellevue University to offer four year degree programs on NICC campuses. A continued strength is the video technology that is utilized with every applicable to connect the campus locations. Weaknesses A weakness that still permeates the institution is that the college still needs additional faculty positions. The college needs to increase its faculty number from 7.5 to 12 to accommodate the number of degree programs. Efforts should also be more heavily mandated from the President’s Office to eliminate programs that are not sustainable and/or those with small enrollments. Opportunities Opportunities for growth exist through grant applications to expand the curriculum in needed areas as identified by the college constituents. One prime example of this is the need for four year programming on the reservation in specified programs, along with increased programming areas in specialized areas, such as heavy equipment programs, customer service, and nursing. The assessment of student learning needs to be finalized into a comprehensive institutional plan. The plan for student learning has been constructed and assessment has been ongoing, but additional efforts need to be made in this area. Threats The largest threat that exists to the area of academic programming is the college’s reputation. The reputation of the college can be seen as poor. The college, while much needed, has been mismanaged in the past and the academic area has suffered as such.
The college’s facilities need to be improved. The college needs to have additional time in the reaffirmation of accreditation process to further enhance the reputation of the institution. Further, the college simply needs to eliminate reputation issues through transfer agreements and information dissemination to interested parties, including the Tribes, alumni, and students. Planning and Informational Process Strength The college’s planning process should be considered as a strength of the institution. The college’s strategic plan was designed and implemented through a series of meeting sessions in 2004-2006. The planning process is ongoing. The strategic planning process allows the entire institution to provide input into the direction of the college. Currently, the college reviews the strategic on a yearly basis formally during its summer retreat sessions of the Board of Directors and the Faculty and Staff. During the faculty and staff retreat, students and other interested community members are invited to attend to add valuable input into the process. Currently actions plans are in the process of development to identify the most needed areas of improvement and to formalize the actions that should be taken to reach the desired goals. Additionally, the strategic plan and subsets of the plan are reviewed weekly and monthly informally through the committee structure. Weaknesses The weakness of the planning process is that it is a slow process. Another weakness is that the planning process may allow too much input, or not enough input. The large amount of input for the strategic plan may be centered on those who are more vocal, while the missing input is from those who are less vocal and, given the small nature of our college, are not at our table. Opportunities are missed because the college does not yet have strong relationships with major donors or others of considerable influence. Additionally, the college’s organizational chart and the committee structure have been in a state of ongoing change. The committee structure started out 3 ½ years ago as a 16 committee structure when the college could only afford to employ 15 people. The structure changed to a format of a three committee structure which consisted of an
academic council, an administrative council, and a general/executive council. The three committee structure resulted in very long meetings so a different committee of six committees was introduced. Another weakness was that the committee structure only fully functioned when the president was chairing the meetings. Currently the six committee structures have changed duties, functions, and duties. Issues still exist about meeting and making a quorum so additional examination of the committee structures should be taken to allow for appropriate information dissemination and decision making. Opportunities The planning and informational process can be improved. The college should take the time to review the committee structure chart and the organizational chart with other comparable institutions of higher learning to gain ideas and insights into improvement methods. Threats Threats exist in the planning and the informational process, including a possibility of too much control resting in the Presidentâ€™s Office. Most of the decisions of the institutions are made at the committee level of the college, but the president retains a veto power on all actions. This power could prove as an asset for the institution or as a hindrance. During the self study process many of the committees were placed on hold to take care of the self study process, and as such additional decision making authority was placed in the administrative offices. The planning process attempts to utilize all available information to make good decisions, but as all planning processes, constant assessment and adjustments need to be made. Financial Aid Process Strength The largest strength in regards to the financial aid process at the institution is that the college has improved the process of financial aid distribution. The college has requested and received multiple site visits from the Department of Education to assist with the collegeâ€™s process. Various financial aid workshops have also been attended by individual staff to improve their knowledge and relationships with students in regards to financial aid. Revised written policies and procedures have been submitted to the Board of Directors for review and approval.
Weaknesses The main weakness in regards to the financial aid process is that our financial aid distribution process has been slow. A meeting with the Santee Tribal Council brought to light the seriousness of this issue and every effort has been made to expedite the distribution process, including additional knowledge of the process posted to future and current students and in the communities. Another weakness of the financial aid process is that it is on the Departmentâ€™s Heightened Cash Management (HCM) II probation system. The system requires that the college submit all of a studentâ€™s actual documentation to the regional Department office which also delays the process. The college is working on getting removed from the this system. Opportunities Opportunities for the Financial Aid program to improve include additional state and national networking. The college, with its limited budget has had issues with assisting the current the staff in maintaining a current level of knowledge in their areas of expertise. Some funding sources have been identified through grant funds and the general fund budget to allow for this type of networking and training. Threats The largest threats to the financial aid process are the federal process and the need to maintain a fluency with the ever changing regulations. Changing regulations, including changes in the funding structures and mechanisms maintain a possibly threatening role for the college. Over 90% of the collegeâ€™s student body is low income, and as such the college relies heavily on Pell grant funding to fund the general operations of the institution. Partnerships Strength The college has in the past three years strengthened the partnership area as well. Partnerships have been strengthened with various Federal agencies, with area high schools, and with area four year institutions. Some examples of these partnerhips include high school visits, the Bellevue University, University of Nebraska, and Wayne State College partnerships, and increased and enhanced advocacy efforts with the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture. Last but not least are the increased
partnerships with our Tribal Councils. The college is currently working on a partnership to create a consortium of Tribal Colleges to form a Dakota Serving Alliance. Weaknesses Some weak areas still exist in the area of partnerships in that additional partnerships need to be identified and created to better enhance the college and to assist in fulfilling the collegeâ€™s mission at other institutions. A variety of these types of partnerships need to be further developed at area high schools, as an example. Opportunities Opportunities abound in the local and the national level to create partnerships that fulfill both institutional needs. The college should continue to develop relationships with institutions to determine if a partnership would beneficial for both institutions. Threats Threats exist in the area of partnerships in that the college must be vigilant to ensure that the partnership is a relationship that helps fulfill both institutional missions, and not a single institutional mission.
References Maxwell, L. E. 2000. A safe and welcoming school: what students, teachers, and parents think. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research v. 17 no. 4 (Winter 2000) p. 271-82. Self Study Minutes from October and December, 2006 2005 Final Self Study Report of the visiting team during the 2005 self study. 2005 Self Study Nebraska Indian Community College Audit year ending June 30, 2002 Nebraska Indian Community College Audit year ending June 30, 2003 Nebraska Indian Community College Audit year ending June 30, 2004 Nebraska Indian Community College Audit year ending June 30, 2005 Nebraska Indian Community College Audit year ending June 30, 2006 Nebraska Indian Community College Audit year ending June 30, 2007 (when available) Corrective Action letter for the Nebraska Indian Community College Audit year ending June 30, 2002 Corrective Action letter for the Nebraska Indian Community College Audit year ending June 30, 2003 Corrective Action letter for the Nebraska Indian Community College Audit year ending June 30, 2004 Corrective Action letter for the Nebraska Indian Community College Audit year ending June 30, 2005 Corrective Action letter for the Nebraska Indian Community College Audit year ending June 30, 2006 Corrective Action letter for the Nebraska Indian Community College Audit year ending June 30, 2007 (when available) Business Policy and Procedure manual 20060628 NCA Progress report on implementation and operation of an integrated management information system (by June 30, 2006) 20060911 Nebraska Indian Community College Strategic Plan 20060911 Attachment to the Nebraska Indian Community College Strategic Plan
Survey meetings with Santee, Macy, South Sioux City Strategic Planning Meetings August 2007, June 2005, June 2006. Board and NICC meetings Resolution from the Omaha Tribe Resolution from the Santee Sioux Nation