Leadership Educating the Next Generation: The Future is Now!

Pride is a natural aspect to a people proud of their heritage, elders and culture. From the Standing Rock Code Talkers from 33 tribes in World War I, Native Americans across the U.S. proudly served their country. Today American Indian leaders proudly serve their communities and families as Tribal College and University (TCU) trustees as leaders educating the next generation.

Such loyalty and devotion to tribe and nation are exhibited in many ways. At the United Tribes Technical College Tribal Leaders Summit and Trade Show in Bismarck, North Dakota, September 4-6, 2018, thirty college presidents, executives, and trustees from seven TCUs participated in an all-day Governance Institute for Student Success (GISS) focused on preparing board members for their governing roles. This was the fourth annual TCU-GISS institute sponsored by ACCT in partnership with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC). It was funded by the Lumina Foundation and hosted by United Tribes Technical College at the Bismarck Event Center.


Entitled Leadership Educating the Next Generation: The Future is Now, the institute included topics such as characteristics of effective boards, board roles and responsibilities, avoiding micromanagement, reviewing student success data, conducting annual presidential and board evaluations, and boards supporting the college’s president and administration to implement student success policies.

The seven TCUs participating came from four Midwestern states and included:

  •  Cankdeska Cikana Community College, North Dakota
  • Leech Lake Tribal College, Minnesota
  • Little Big Horn, Montana
  • Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, North Dakota
  • Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College, Michigan
  • Sitting Bull College, North Dakota
  • United Tribes Technical College, North Dakota

The next GISS TCU is planned for White Horse Pass in Chandler, Arizona, in December 2018.

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AIHEC Research & Policy Associate, Katherine Cardell, presents an overview of student success data and trends.

For the fourth consecutive year, Katherine Cardell, AIHEC Research and Policy Associate, presented the colleges with student cohort data. The data tracked several years of five student success indicators (progress in developmental courses, retention, college-level math and English and completion). Participants studied their data, asked questions and identified areas for improvement.

Highlights of the institute included a student panel of six UTTC students in various stages of their programs and a local high school student whose mother gave one of the student presentations. Several board members asked the students questions about their college experiences, after which UTTC President Dr. Leander McDonald and UTTC Board Member and Tribal Chairman, David Flute, sang a ritual blessing for the students to honor them.

UTTC students pose around a table before their presentations at the TCU-GISS in North Dakota. From left to right, seated are Trenton Chalmers, Ahiticia Tasso (Criminal Justice), Kasa Honhenstein (Business Administration Bachelor’s) and her daughter Samira Sanchez, (a high school freshman). Standing are Ebony Schultz and Carlos Cocteau.

Sharing best practices, always a GISS feature, engaged trustees and executives in discussion of what works well in their respective institutions. Dr. Twyla Baker, President, and Robert Rainbow, Vice President of Academics, Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, both spoke about a successful THRIVE program in the rural college situated in a remote part of North Dakota. They both highlighted board policies such as no late registration and integrated supports that helped make a difference in student’s progress.

Dr. Cynthia Lindquist, President, Candeska Cikana Community College, addresses a question on the hardest parts of a president’s role. Seated are Marvin Dawes, Board Chair, Little Big Horn College; Lisa Lone Fight and Mavis Young Bear, trustees at Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College.

Of utmost importance, participants learned about sending in stories about student success in their respective colleges for a February 2019 ACCT/GISS publication entitled Celebrating TCU Successes. Format guidelines for the articles can be found on the GISS website or by clicking on this here.