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United Tribes, Minot State sign partnership agreement
12 June 2007

BISMARCK (UTN) - David M. Gipp, president of United Tribes Technical College, and David G. Fuller, president of Minot State University, signed a three-year agreement June 12 for educational partnerships between the two colleges.

      "This is a new model for collaboration between United Tribes Technical College and a higher education institution in the North Dakota University System," said Gipp. "It's an opportunity to grow a relationship between the two institutions that will lead to benefits for the community and students."

Partnership agreement signing
Staff members from United Tribes and Minot State look on as David M. Gipp, left, and David G. Fuller sign a partnership agreement between the two colleges June 12. United Tribes News photo.

      Under the memorandum of understanding, the two institutions agree to work toward a "two-plus-two" collaboration model, which means courses students complete at UTTC will be accepted by Minot State University and will apply toward a four-year degree at MSU.

      UTTC is one of five tribal colleges in the state. It was founded in 1969 as a non-profit corporation incorporated in the State of North Dakota and is operated by the five tribes located wholly or in part in the state: Three Affiliated Tribes, Spirit Lake Tribe, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. The college is governed by a ten-member board of directors made up of the chairperson and one delegate selected from each of the tribes.

      "One of the primary strategies of our new strategic plan is to build a multicultural campus," said Fuller. "We want to increase diversity and strengthening our relationships with the tribal colleges is an important part of that. We are honored to have United Tribes Technical College choose to partner with us."

      Additional initiatives in the agreement include exploring other academic program collaborations; sharing of existing facilities and resources as host institutions; sharing of information and invitation to relevant projects, programs and activities; promoting of service learning and civic engagement; joint seeking of external resources, and enhancing Native American studies programs.

      The MOU also agrees to equal status and full autonomy for each institution.

      Fuller and Gipp said that making both institutions stronger is a key reason for making the agreement.

      "The agreement addresses the transfer of credits. More of our graduates will be able to make a smooth transition to Minot State," said Gipp. "It also could enhance diversity at MSU. It can lead to collaborations with American Indian educators, and more accurate and meaningful learning about Native people and topics. I believe that a closer relationship with tribal people and organizations in the state will enrich the MSU Native American studies program."

      Fuller agreed, saying, "Agreements like this form the groundwork to make faculty exchanges, student exchanges, curriculum development and program development easier. But most importantly, they make the learning environment more supportive and richer for our students."

      Under Fuller's leadership, MSU has also entered memorandums of understanding with Fort Berthold Community College, New Town, ND, and Turtle Mountain Community College, Belcourt, ND.

      The signing ceremony in the Healing Room of the Lewis Goodhouse Wellness Center on the UTTC campus included a prayer and reception.


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