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Beyond The 40th Anniversary
By Dr. Phil Baird (Sicangu Lakota), Vice President, Academic-Career-Tech Education

21 December 2009

BISMARCK (UTN) - On behalf of the academic departments of United Tribes, I take this opportunity to welcome students and staff back to college studies for the spring 2010 semester.

      Looking at the number 2010 on the calendar makes me think of something out of a sci-fi movie. When you think about it, your time this semester as part of the United Tribes community will help shape the future of the college. I mean that!

      During the first half of our 2009-2010 academic year, we created some quality moments by reflecting on the college’s history. We marked anniversary dates that helped us recall the humble beginnings, gigantic challenges and important accomplishments of the past 40 years. And we connected with our greatest resource by remembering and recognizing the people who were involved.

      But, recalling history is an exercise that achieves its highest potential when it brings us a fresh perspective on contemporary issues.

      During the second half of this college year, our focus as a campus community will again turn toward the future. On the agenda will be the perennial challenges we face as an institution of tribal higher education: financial resources, program development, re-accreditation and facilities development.

      Students should know that the college’s board and administrative leadership continue to seek the financial resources necessary for Native people to gain access to postsecondary education. We know financial aid is foremost in your mind.

      The college will continue to develop academic programs, in particular, baccalaureate degree programs. Administrators will become even more adept in refining student support services to promote student success.

      Institutional self-study activities will gain momentum to prepare the college for a re-accreditation visit in April 2011 by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. With re-accreditation, the college will further evolve as one of the premier tribal colleges in the nation.

      One tangible indicator that you can use to gauge the progress is the new building on the south campus. As the state-of-the-art Science and Technology building rises from an open field, you will see the next chapter unfold in the United Tribes story. And, as student or staff member, you are more than just a witness; you are a player in helping to shape the future of United Tribes Technical College.

      So, welcome to the spring 2010 semester and the beginning of UTTC’s next 40 years!