More than 100 participants representing 17 higher education institutions, tribal education offices and workforce development centers registered to attend the Oklahoma Native American Attainment Convening at Rose State College on Feb. 27. The convening, sponsored by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Oklahoma Works, and Reach Higher, the State Regents’ adult degree completion initiative, was held to allow recipients of the Native American Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI) grant and Oklahoma’s non-NASNTI designated institutions to share best practices with colleagues from across the state.
Featured speaker Dr. Courtney Brown from Lumina Foundation shared data related to attainment, equity, and workforce gaps, and provided information about key attainment benchmarks for the Native student population. Panelists from tribal higher education departments and colleges and universities focused on a variety of topics with a specific emphasis on serving Native students, including student support resources, financial assistance, and program funding opportunities.
“In 2017, there were more than 17,000 identified Native students enrolled in public higher education systemwide,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “The State Regents remain committed to increasing educational opportunities and outcomes for American Indian and Alaskan native students.”
The State Regents entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tribal Education Departments National Assembly (TEDNA) in May 2017 to formalize the state system’s commitment to serving tribal members seeking higher education in Oklahoma. The agreement with TEDNA has strengthened public institutions’ relationships with tribal education offices to meet the higher education needs of tribal members across the state. Additionally, Reach Higher, Oklahoma’s adult degree completion initiative, works directly with tribal education offices across the state to increase the number of tribal citizens seeking a degree in Oklahoma. For more information about Reach Higher programs, visit reachhigherok.org.