OPINION: United Tribes College welcome to Rapid CityRapid City is becoming a center for post-secondary education, with the recent announcement that United Tribes Technical College of Bismarck, N.D., is opening a new center at the former National American University campus.
By: Editorial board, Rapid City Journal
Rapid City is becoming a center for post-secondary education, with the recent announcement that United Tribes Technical College of Bismarck, N.D., is opening a new center at the former National American University campus.
The college is dedicated to educating Native Americans and has an enrollment of about 1,400 students. The fully accredited school offers three bachelor of science degree programs, 12 associate of applied science degrees, 13 certificate programs and six online associate of applied science programs.
College officials made the announcement during the Lakota Nation Invitational in Rapid City. Officials hope the college’s online programs will become available to area students this summer with the former NAU campus ready by fall 2013. The learning center will provide computer access, technical support and financial aid programs.
United Tribes College has agreements to work with South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and Western Dakota Technical Institute, as well as the Department of Interior’s criminal justice system. Officials said the school would not compete with other educational institutions, particularly Oglala Lakota College, but will provide additional education opportunities for Native students.
The college also said it intended to offer dual enrollment for Native American high school students in order to better prepare them for college.
Phil Baird, vice-president for academic, career and technical education for United Tribes college, said the Rapid City center could eventually become a full-service satellite campus, serving Native American students nation-wide.
“It would be a university without walls and the beginning of creating a very unique educational experience,” Baird said. “The seeds of that vision are being planted.”
The expansion of United Tribes College to Rapid City is good news. Giving Native American students in the Black Hills area more opportunities to obtain a higher degree and improve their job skills is a welcome idea. It’s also a good use for the former NAU campus.
We welcome United Tribes College to Rapid City and wish it success in its expansion.