Innovative two-year program, developed with support from mainstream universities, builds research skills and prepares graduates for a wide range of “people” professions.
By Paul Boyer
While all tribal colleges are looking for ways to expand their STEM degree programs, offerings in the social and behavioral sciences sometimes lag behind. According to Scott Morgan, director of institutional development at Sisseton Wahpeton College located on the Lake Traverse Reservation of South Dakota, this is a missed opportunity.
“On our reservation, social service-type jobs are one of the primary sectors where people are needed,” said Morgan. This is true even when compared to the technology and the hard sciences. “If you look across the board at STEM, there are more jobs that relate to behavioral sciences than any other area.”
In response, Sisseton Wahpeton College is now offering a new two-year behavioral sciences degree. Developed with support from the National Science Foundation and in partnership with North Dakota State University and South Dakota State University, it is one of the first behavioral science degrees offered by a tribally controlled college and it is the first developed with support from the NSF.
How long does it take to explain the value of STEM education within tribally controlled colleges and universities?
About one minute and thirty seconds.
That’s the length of this excellent video, produced by the NSF, which neatly summarizes the variety of STEM programs at tribal and Native-serving institutions and their educational and economic benefits.
Take a look.
Several research projects developed by students at Salish Kootenai College and Northwest Indian College are featured in a publication sponsored by the American Geophysical Union.
A recent article published in The Prow spotlights student-led projects at Salish Kootenai College on the Flathead Reservation of Montana that deepen understanding of traditional foods and environmental factors “that may impact future food availabilities.” Northwest Indian College was cited for its “hands-on research projects related to species protection and restoration along the northernmost coastline of Washington.”
These examples illustrate efforts by Native communities to “combine culture, traditional knowledge and contemporary scientific practices,” according to the article’s authors. “All this happens in the face of longstanding and ongoing challenges to tribal sovereignty established by treaties with the U.S. government.”
The full story can be found here.
The NSF is seeking highly qualified individuals to serve on a newly established STEM Education Advisory Panel.
Established in collaboration with the Department of Education, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the panel is expected to advise the Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (CoSTEM), and assess progress in carrying out responsibilities related to the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act.
The sponsoring agencies are now soliciting recommendations for membership on this prestigious panel. According to information provided by the NSF, the eleven-member panel will include representatives of academic institutions, non-profits, and industry. Additionally, “other factors that may be considered are balance among diverse institutions, regions, and groups underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”
Recommendations should be submitted by November 30. Self recommendations are accepted.
For more information on the recommendation process, please visit https://nsf.gov/ehr/STEMEdAdvisory.jsp.
The National Science Foundation is encouraging tribally controlled colleges and other two-year Native-serving institutions to participate in the upcoming Community College Innovation Challenge.
According to the NSF, the Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC) “is a prestigious, two-stage competition where community college teams use science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to innovate solutions to real-world problems, compete for cash awards, and earn full travel support (students and faculty) to attend an Innovation Boot Camp in Washington, D.C.”
The CCIC is an annual event in its fourth year. It is sponsored by the NSF and the American Association of Community Colleges.
Submissions will be accepted until February 14, 2018. Details can be found at https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/communitycollege/index.jsp
On Friday, November 3, 2017 from 3-5 pm, the new Tribal Colleges Consortium on Genomics Training (TCCGT) is holding a pre-conference workshop at the First Americans Land-Grant Consortium (FALCON) 2017 Annual Conference at the Westin Crystal City in Virginia.
TCCGT aims to create a network of tribal colleges and universities dedicated to expanding training and grant opportunities in genomics for tribal college faculty, increasing recruitment and preparation of tribal college students interested in genomics, enhancing genomics curricula at TCUs, and incorporating genomics in the context of traditional views. Over coffee, treats, and snacks, workshop organizers will host an informal discussion of the new consortium’s purpose, structure, and outcomes.
The workshop is free to attend, but please register here.
By Katie Scarlett Brandt
Tribal colleges often collaborate with mainstream universities on research. So do historically black colleges. But why don’t different minority-serving institutions collaborate with each other?
That simple question led to a unique opportunity for a group of undergraduate students from four HBCUs and one tribally controlled college to take part in a 10-week research project this past summer at a school other than their own. Each student spent from May to July at their choice school, conducting research and meeting weekly with a mentor.
The National Science Foundation funded the project through a program called NSF INCLUDES—an initiative to enhance U.S. leadership in science and engineering by developing STEM talent from all societal sectors. The Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network took the lead on the program as part of an effort to wipe out disparities between under-represented groups in STEM education.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is inviting eligible tribal colleges to participate in its SEA-PHAGES program. The application deadline for fall 2018 classes is October 31, 2017.
SEA-PHAGES is an innovative undergraduate curriculum that replaces traditional introductory biology lab courses with a two-semester research-based course focusing on the isolation and analysis of bacteriophages from local soil samples. Over 100 colleges and universities, including four tribal colleges, now offer the SEA-PHAGES program.
Participating institutions receive faculty training, course materials, and an opportunity to participate in an annual SEA Symposium. NSF-TCUP awardee institutions are also eligible for supplemental funding from the NSF for program costs not covered by HHMI.
Program details and application forms are available at www.hhmi.org/SEA. For additional information, contact HHMI at SEA@hhmi.org.