5
Recommendations

The purpose of this letter report is to provide expert, objective, independent advice to the 11 tribal colleges working toward establishing a four-year engineering program. The conclusions and recommendations in this report are based on a consensus study, the chief data-gathering activity of which was a one and one-half day workshop with invited participation from academic engineering faculty and administrators, representatives of American Indian communities and professional associations, and representatives of governmental policy and funding agencies. Other data-collection activities included a review of relevant literature, the deliberations of committee members who were selected for their broad range of perspectives and knowledge relevant to the questions addressed in this report, observation at a workshop for TCU faculty sponsored by NSF, and telephone interviews with tribal college faculty and administrators.

Although, the charge to the committee suggests that establishing a four-year engineering program at a TCU is a foregone conclusion, the committee does not concur, at least not at this time. Before a recommendation for such an undertaking can be made, the most appropriate model, or models, for initiating, developing, implementing, and sustaining engineering studies at a TCU must be established, and further research must be done to define the needs to be addressed by the proposed program, the population to be served, the sources and continuity of required funding, partnering options, and so on.


Recommendation 1. An advisory group should be established to provide strategic direction to the working group to answer the questions noted above and access to contacts in organizations that can provide funding and other types of assistance. The advisory group should include faculty and administrators who have been involved in starting up engineering programs and in established engineering programs; tribal leaders and representatives of industry, engineering societies, federal agencies, and organizations, such as the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, American Indian Science and Engineering Society, American Indian College Fund, and Alliance for Equity in Higher Education.


Recommendation 2. Studies should be conducted to determine if in the near term, there is a sufficient number of academically prepared students and sufficient interest among these students, many of whom would have to travel long distances to participate in the program, to support a four-year engineering program at a tribal college or university. Research should include overall undergraduate retention rates for Native students and comparisons of retention rates for students who enter four-year programs directly from high school and students who transfer to four-year programs with two-year degrees from TCUs.


Recommendation 3. Benchmarking research should be conducted with other TCUs and other minority-serving institutions to build on, and be informed by, successful initiatives funded by the National Science Foundation and successful strategies of historically black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions. Benchmarking research would provide a basis for



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Engineering Studies at Tribal Colleges and Universities 5 Recommendations The purpose of this letter report is to provide expert, objective, independent advice to the 11 tribal colleges working toward establishing a four-year engineering program. The conclusions and recommendations in this report are based on a consensus study, the chief data-gathering activity of which was a one and one-half day workshop with invited participation from academic engineering faculty and administrators, representatives of American Indian communities and professional associations, and representatives of governmental policy and funding agencies. Other data-collection activities included a review of relevant literature, the deliberations of committee members who were selected for their broad range of perspectives and knowledge relevant to the questions addressed in this report, observation at a workshop for TCU faculty sponsored by NSF, and telephone interviews with tribal college faculty and administrators. Although, the charge to the committee suggests that establishing a four-year engineering program at a TCU is a foregone conclusion, the committee does not concur, at least not at this time. Before a recommendation for such an undertaking can be made, the most appropriate model, or models, for initiating, developing, implementing, and sustaining engineering studies at a TCU must be established, and further research must be done to define the needs to be addressed by the proposed program, the population to be served, the sources and continuity of required funding, partnering options, and so on. Recommendation 1. An advisory group should be established to provide strategic direction to the working group to answer the questions noted above and access to contacts in organizations that can provide funding and other types of assistance. The advisory group should include faculty and administrators who have been involved in starting up engineering programs and in established engineering programs; tribal leaders and representatives of industry, engineering societies, federal agencies, and organizations, such as the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, American Indian Science and Engineering Society, American Indian College Fund, and Alliance for Equity in Higher Education. Recommendation 2. Studies should be conducted to determine if in the near term, there is a sufficient number of academically prepared students and sufficient interest among these students, many of whom would have to travel long distances to participate in the program, to support a four-year engineering program at a tribal college or university. Research should include overall undergraduate retention rates for Native students and comparisons of retention rates for students who enter four-year programs directly from high school and students who transfer to four-year programs with two-year degrees from TCUs. Recommendation 3. Benchmarking research should be conducted with other TCUs and other minority-serving institutions to build on, and be informed by, successful initiatives funded by the National Science Foundation and successful strategies of historically black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions. Benchmarking research would provide a basis for