Published August 20, 2017
CLOQUET, MINNESOTA – Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College has received accreditation by the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium.
After publishing a comprehensive self-study document and hosting an intensive campus site visit in April 2017, the official recommendation for ten-year unconditional accreditation was awarded to Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College during the annual meeting of World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) member schools in Toronto, Canada, in early August.
Now deemed to have met the criteria established by the WINHEC Accreditation Authority, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College is a full voting member of the WINHEC Accreditation Authority Board with all rights and privileges.
“This is another tremendous accomplishment and recognition of the quality education and opportunities available at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College,” said Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College President Larry Anderson. “Accreditation is not an easy task to complete successfully, and it is a process we take seriously to ensure our college is a strong, consistent, and vibrant institution of higher learning within the communities we serve.”
Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College is the only college in the nation which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium.
The WINHEC accreditation specifically applies to Anishinaabeg Gikendaasowinan (the People’s way of knowing) American Indian Programs at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. Anishinaabeg Gikendaasowinan’s mission is to promote, honor and value the language, history, worldview, and knowledge of the Ojibwe-Anishinaabe people, thereby ensuring the longevity of the Ojibwe-Anishinaabeg culture.
Specific program areas include the American Indian Studies Associate of Arts degree program, the Environmental Institute’s extension and community outreach programs, the Ojibwe language Teach the Teacher Immersion and Fellowship programs, and the bachelor’s degree program in Elementary and American Indian Education. The accreditation recognition indicates that the college’s American Indian programs have been carefully and thoroughly examined and have been found to be achieving the desired goals, purposes, and outcomes in a satisfactory manner.
“Traditional knowledge and the Ojibwe-Anishinaabe peoples’ way of knowing have guided and directed Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College since our inception,” said Roxanne DeLille, FDLTCC faculty member who coordinated the college’s WINHEC accreditation proposal. “The use of indigenous knowledge can be seen throughout the campus, from the architecture of the building to weekly and seasonal events, to programmatic and course design to the strategic plan. Every program and course acknowledges the indigenous people of this region.”
“What differs between this review process and others is that accreditation by the WINHEC Accreditation Authority recognizes that our college and programs are framed by the indigenous philosophies of the native communities we serve,” said DeLille. “We demonstrated that our programs are soundly conceived and intelligently devised, integrate indigenous culture, language, and worldviews into programing, and are purposefully presented in a manner to merit continued confidence by the indigenous constituencies being served.”
WINHEC accreditation considers and supports the diversity which exists among indigenous-serving educational institutions, schools, and programs throughout the world. Quality is evaluated in terms of the purposes the institution seeks to accomplish.
“Accreditation performs a number of important functions including the validation of credibility on the part of the public being served and encouragement of efforts toward maximum educational effectiveness,” said DeLille. “The WINHEC accrediting process requires educational institutions and programs to examine their goals, operations, and achievements with consideration of native peoples’ philosophies and worldviews. It also provides the expert critiques and suggestions of an external review team and the recommendations of the accrediting body.”
“In our thirty years of existence, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College has demonstrated that partnerships and collaboration works,” said President Anderson. “We know that from the perspective of our primary stakeholder, our students, the college is attractive and is preferred by many American Indian students, as well as all students interested in attending an institution that values diversity, access, and opportunities. The new WINHEC accreditation is another tangible validation that our mission and efforts are valuable to the communities we serve, and that our programs meet specific standards for purpose and quality.”
Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College is a regionally-accredited institution through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Every ten years, the college completes a comprehensive self-study process leading to continued accreditation. The self-study process, most recently completed in 2015, is designed to identify strengths, areas for improvement, and required follow-up reporting. The college’s Law Enforcement Program is certified by the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training. The Nursing Program is approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.