Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

November 2010

NEO Scores $2 Million Federal Tribal Grant

 

NEO Title Grant
Local tribal chiefs and the Intertribal Council were helpful throughout the grant application process, and showed their support by attending the announcement.

Friday, Oct. 1, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College received notification from Congressman Dan Boren that the college was one of only seven institutions nationwide to be awarded a $2 million competitive, Federal Title III grant.

This particular Title III grant is designated for Native American serving non-tribal institutions, and NEO’s Native American students comprise 20 percent of the student population as a whole.

Local tribal chiefs and the Intertribal Council were helpful throughout the grant application process, and showed their support by attending the announcement.
Nationwide, while overall enrollment in public higher education is expected to grow by 15 percent, enrollment of Native American students is expected to increase by 32 percent by the year 2018. This means students of Native American descent are the second fastest growing population, after Hispanic enrollment.

NEO has not received a Title III grant designated for Native American serving non-tribal institutions in over a quarter of a century.

Funding from the grant will be utilized to renovate space for a Native American Success and Cultural Center and to hire personnel who will provide services such as advising, mentoring, tutoring, career aptitude assessment and electronic portfolio development. These services will be available to all NEO students.

“This announcement is such a tremendous statement to the strength of the partnership between the college and our nine area Tribal Nations,” said NEO A&M President Dr. Jeffery Hale. “This grant will allow NEO to partner closely with our local tribes to play a pivotal role in enhancing native student success and helping to preserve the strong American Indian heritage of our region.”

As mentioned earlier, NEO is one of seven schools to receive this Title III grant this year, and one of only fourteen schools to receive this type of grant within the last three years.
The grant was awarded on the basis of strengthening institutions for Native American serving, non-Tribal institutions. Native American students graduate at higher rates than other groups of students at NEO, according to institutional data.

NEO is a major provider of higher education to Native Americans nationwide. According to Diverse Issues in Higher Education, NEO ranks second in the nation for Native American students who earn psychology degrees, fifth for Native Americans entering a health-related profession, and eleventh for degree-seeking Native American students.

President Hale put together a team of faculty and staff last year to begin researching specific initiatives and services to better support the College’s large Native American student population.
NEO’s Director of the Center for Academic Success and Advisement, Rachel Lloyd, worked extensively on the proposal and said, “Although six colleges in Oklahoma applied for the grant, we are currently only aware of one other college in the state of Oklahoma that was selected to receive the award.”

Local tribal chiefs and the Intertribal Council were supportive and provided letters, interviews and quotes for the grant application. Grant funds will also provide a stipend for tribal elders from each of the area tribes to work closely with NEO students on culture and language preservation research projects.

“County Clerk land records dating back from 1890 tell us that Ottawa County has been home to a greater number of Indian tribes than any other county in the United States, and we are proud of the tribal diversity that enriches the community and plays an integral role in the College’s history and culture,” Hale said.

Funding from the grant will be utilized to renovate space for the Native American center and to hire personnel who will provide services such as advising, mentoring, tutoring, career aptitude assessment and electronic portfolio development.

“In the process of writing this grant proposal, the institution identified several initiatives to honor our Native American student population, including academic and support strategies that draw on their cultures and traditions,” Lloyd said. “A central facility created will house this support, and also act to instill a sense of community and pride to preserve the languages and cultures of our local tribes.”
Other initiatives will include culturally relevant wellness workshops, the development of student talking circles, financial literacy support, village gatherings that mirror cultural practices within the Native American community, undergraduate language preservation research projects, the development of an orientation course for Native American students and equipment to develop mobile phone applications that will extend access to students living in remote areas to campus services and course content.

Additionally, the project includes funds for cultural responsiveness training for NEO faculty and staff members.

“Training on tradition and culture could help the NEO community be better prepared to accommodate the cultural issues of Native students,” said Native American Student Association sponsor TeNona Kuhn.

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