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New science curriculum at UTTC
12 January 2005
by Jen Janecek

      United Tribes Technical College has established a new career and technical education discipline. The Tribal Environmental Science (TES) program was established through a National Science Foundation Tribal College and Universities Program grant.

      The five-year project will support UTTC in planning and implementing an innovative program for students interested in environmental science. The program is slated to be fully developed by summer 2005; two students have already been accepted.

      The project is called "United Tribes Pathways to Success" (UTPASS). Twenty students will be supported each year with subsistence and computer technology resources as well as internships in the field. The program will create a STEM student support system starting with a Summer Pathways Institute (SPI), a three week long intensive STEM student skill-building program.

      Other program activities include action research throughout the STEM courses and improvement in UTTC's STEM faculty's content knowledge and teaching practices. The coursework will lead to receiving a two-year associate of applied science degree in Tribal Environmental Science.

      The UTPASS staff consists of Jen Janecek, department chair and project director; E. Mike Collins, Environmental Science Instructor; and Andrew Reed, Student Facilitator. Mike comes to UTTC with seven years of Tribal College Science instruction experience. He has interests in geology, water quality and tribal sovereignty issues. Andrew Reed (Hidatsa/Arikara) is from the MHA Nation. Andrew brings a rich background in student support and data management skills to the department. He is also passionate about increasing the numbers of American Indians in STEM related fields. As project director, I came to UTTC as a member of the United Tribes Rural Systemic Initiative team. My duties include directing a summer math, science, and technology and culture camp for elementary students and elementary teachers in collaboration with the Nokota Conservancy, and coordinating STEM grants for the college.

      UTTC Dean of Vocational and Academic services Phil Baird (Sicangu Lakota) will serve as principal investigator. He has prior research experience in USDA Tribal land grant programs including the areas of nutrition, bison restoration, and beef production.


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