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“Pathways for Native Students: A Report on Washington State Colleges and Universities”

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  1. Presentation for PNARIP 2010 Conference Vancouver, BC October 3-5, 2010 Presenter: Barbara Smith, Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA “Pathways for Native Students: A Report on Washington State Colleges and Universities”

  2. Partnership for Native American College Access and Success Project • Northwest Indian College • The Evergreen State College • Grays Harbor College • Antioch University-Seattle • Muckleshoot Tribal College

  3. Who Wrote and Why • Who – • An inter-agency group that represented 4 years, 2 years, regional Indian college, tribes, state government and researchers • Why – • Grant-based project • Need for comprehensive look • Need for combining of data • Need for combining of Best Practices • Writing Team that Created Leveraging Opportunities

  4. How the Research was Done • Template Out to all Colleges and Universities • Multiple Levels of Contact • Persistence - took real effort to gather the information (them and us) • Had to get to the right person • Had to have presidential support repeatedly • Probed existing data bases • Disaggregated data, took existing data sets and reports, and reorganized

  5. Decisions about how to tell the research-based story • Stories – that make it come alive • Pictures • Data • Lively Narrative • Historical Context • Stress Best Practices • Stress Needed Arenas of Work • Called out Exceptional Schools

  6. Leveraged - • People and Positions • Numerous Contacts Pooled • Money • Vestment • Build position power • Build investment • Make Commitments • Used a Writing Team that Created Leveraging Opportunities

  7. How was the Research Conducted? A Strength-Based Approach to Encourage Dialogue • National Center for Educational Management Systems • IPEDS • WA State Higher Education Coordinating Board • State Board for Community and Technical Colleges • Tribal Statistics • 44 of Washington’s Colleges and Universities • Institutional Profiles • Best Practices • Lessons Learned

  8. Why is this Report and Strategy Different ? • Produced by the schools themselves as a collaborative effort • Cross-sector – K-20, private and public, 2 year - 4year • A whole institution view (Student Affairs and Academics) • Tied to a dissemination strategy

  9. Native Participation in Postsecondary Education in Washington State Approximately 7500 Native American Students are enrolled in Washington Colleges and Universities

  10. What do we know about Access & Success? • Retention & completion rates low • K-20 pipeline issue • Stopping out common • Gatekeeper classes should be a key focus • Basic studies/Dev Ed • Pilots show interventions work

  11. Institutional Profiles • Statistical profile of Native American/ Alaska Native faculty, staff, and students • Academic courses & programs focusing on Native Americans • Public service programs and initiatives focusing on Native Americans • Student support services and student organizations focusing on Native Americans • Best practices and lessons

  12. 12 Recommendations 1. Create/support vehicles to foster collaboration • Support mechanisms for tribes to share • Washington leaders must make greater investment • Tackle financial barriers to college that remain significant • Institutions must pay attention to the needs • Build the pipeline - bridging the gaps between the sectors (K-12 and two-year and four year colleges) • Find effective approaches in gateway courses/key transition points • Find successful approaches in underrepresented fields • Diversifying the faculty and staff is a key element in student success • Make linkages between needs of Native students and other underserved populations to more efficiently address service and awareness gaps • Maintain a long term focus on Native student success • More research and data is needed to fully understand challenges and effectiveness of institutions and programs. Involve Native stakeholders in holistic evaluation strategies, continuous improvement and dissemination.

  13. A Report is Only a Report Unless… • People Read It • Widely Circulated to the Right People • Has a Dissemination Strategy • Reaches Important Opinion Leaders & Change Agents • Backed up by Influential Funders

  14. Productive Competition • Bandwagon Effect • Comparisons and Contrasts • Surfaces Hidden Gems • Showed Programming that was Innovative and Works

  15. Agencies, Universities, Colleges, and Tribes Work Together • Lots of efforts to involve all at multiple levels • Lots of efforts to circulate info • Lots of efforts to get feedback from all • Lots of efforts to find and include other’s research • Lots of efforts to find key researchers

  16. Taking Advantage of Convergent Opportunities • From Where the Sun Rises report just released • Convergence with tribal recognition that education matters MORE • Tribes feeling that they can influence education – passing of HB 1495 • Government to Government cooperation framework established

  17. Environmental Issues/Need • WASL pass rates • Rates of Native going from HS to college plummets • Continuing HS dropout rates very high • Tribal economies growing and diversifying • Tribal Councils wanting to employ tribal members

  18. Dissemination Strategies and Feedback • Pathways Conference -Where, why & impact • Mail to Institutions & Tribes -Top down and bottom up • Suggested Distributions Lists -Libraries, IR , VPs, Tribal Ed Offices, Tribal Council, Agencies, Affiliates, Major Foundations, Gov Office, OSPI • Presentations

  19. Impacts • Awareness Raised • Governors Indian Office • Indian Education Offices using as guidance • Other States asking to repeat process • Survey Monkey Responses

  20. Responses to the Pathways Report • Value rating of 4.81 on 5 point scale • 98% would recommend to others • Of special value: best practices, data all in one place, comprehensiveness, stories, institutional profiles, contact information, seeing how institutions are working together

  21. Why Is Diversity Not Discussed More? • Commitment Shallow at Various Levels • Financial Pool Threatened • Misperceptions about what is doable • Advocates isolated from the decision making structure • Roles seen in a narrow way • IR has ability to influence with data and to strategize

  22. Is this Project Repeatable?? • Other Groups • Other States /Provinces • Why is it important

  23. Questions Barbara Leigh Smith, Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA smithb@evergreen.edu