Sisseton Wahpeton College Press Release
Last updated 7/25/2021 at 2:45pm
NACTEP Grant Award: Sisseton Wahpeton College would like to announce the recent Grant Award for the Carl Perkins Native American Career and Technical Education Programs (NACTEP) through the Department of Education. This $2.5 million grant to be administered through the college for the next 5 years.
This project will provide the resources for SWC to significantly expand and improve our career and technical program offerings. Although this was the foundation upon which the College was originally built. Over the previous two decades these programs were allowed to languish as the focus shifted towards liberal arts and other academic offerings. More recently, the College has recognized the need to renew our mission for both pathways which must be vigorously pursued to meet the needs of the SWO and the communities of the Lake Traverse Reservation.
The Sisseton Wahpeton College has excellent facilities and significant resources for a small institution, which are needed to support and expand the technical and career education programming envision within this proposal. Additional facilities are being considered for future growth. SWC is currently working with an architectural firm, funded through a grant from the American Indian College Fund, to develop a new campus master plan. This plan will guide future development to support the growth of our CTE programming while at the same time bringing us closer to our goal of a net-zero carbon footprint. SWC is already well on its way, utilizing geothermal, wind energy, and a small amount of solar energy.
Sisseton Wahpeton College offers several vocational certificates and degree programs such as Building Trades, Certified Nursing Assistant, Business Specialist, Multimedia Technology, and recently the College added a new certificate in Culinary Food Science. The primary focus of this proposed project to redesign and expand the Building Trades program to cover a wider range of skills that will prepare students for a greater number of job opportunities. This will be accomplished by creating a collection of certifications using a Modular Design encompassed with the hands-on experience of building houses to be delivered to the SWO Housing Authority.
The programming targeted in this NACTEP grant will be:
• Building Trades
o Residential Drafting
o Building Design & Print Reading
o Fundamentals of Plumbing
Low Voltage Systems
• Computer Aided Design (CAD) & 3D Printing
• Culinary Food Science
Other SWC News: In January 2021, SWC applied for substantive changes in programing through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC is the accreditation body for the college along with many other colleges and universities in the U.S. Sisseton Wahpeton College was first accredited by the HLC (then called the North Central Association's Commission on Institutions of Higher Education) in 1990 and has been ever since.
SWC applied for a substantive change from a 2-year degree granting institution to a 4-year degree granting institution by requesting to be approved for two 4-year baccalaureate degrees. The college has undergone many changes in its 40 plus years of delivering career and technical education as well as academic programming on the Lake Traverse Reservation. A recent analysis has revealed that Sisseton Wahpeton College has granted around 1000 degrees and certificates. Additional analysis deemed that Business Administration and Behavioral Science were the most likely candidates for SWC to offer 4-year degrees in.
On June 28, 2021 Dr. Kimberly Long and Dr. Daisy Halvorson, Reviewers for the Higher Learning Commission reviewed the colleges applications for two 4-year degree offerings and distance (online) education. Dr. Long was in Kansas via Zoom while Dr. Halvorson was onsite. The two HLC reviewers deliberated on the data received from the college as well as the many interviews they had with faculty, staff, administration, students, and Board of Trustees. The final outcome for this team was they recommended approval for all 3 substantive changes!
It's not a done-deal for the college in terms of offering the new 4-year degree programs, but we are optimistic. The HLC Team's recommendation for approval must now go to the Institutional Action Council (IAC) who have the final say on whether the college has met their requirements. In 2017 SWC went through this process and was denied by IAC. We feel more confident that this will not be the case for SWC, but it is still ultimately up to the IAC. IAC meets in August 2021 and will review the HLC Teams report.
If we are successful in this major step for SWC, it is our intention to begin offering the 4-year programs in Spring 2022!
Dr. Lane Azure
President, Sisseton Wahpeton College