MSU and Turtle Mountain Community College Sign Partnership Agreement
The presidents of Minot State University and Turtle Mountain Community College today signed a three-year partnership agreement they said will make both institutions stronger.
"Historically, there has been collaboration between the two to improve our institutions," said Jim Davis, president of Turtle Mountain Community College. Of the agreement he said, "It is good to identify clear direction and put it on paper."
Davis said Minot State University President David Fuller has "a passion for working with Native American people and their communities" and cited similar relationship-building that Fuller nurtured at previous institutions where he worked.
Fuller visited TMCC within a few months of becoming president at MSU in July 2004 and the partnership agreement has been in the works for about two years.
Representing the Turtle Mountain Tribal Council were Stuart LaFountain, member, and Ted Henry, vice chairman, who signed the agreement along with the two college presidents.
Under the memorandum of understanding (MOU), the two institutions agree to work toward a "two-plus-two" collaboration model, which means courses students complete at Turtle Mountain Community College will be accepted by Minot State University and will apply toward a four-year degree at MSU.
Fuller pledged his commitment for MSU to work actively in fulfilling the terms of the agreement.
"One of the primary strategies of our new strategic plan is to build a multicultural campus. We want to increase diversity and strengthening our relationships with the tribal colleges is an important part of that."
Additional initiatives in the agreement include exploration of other academic program collaboration; sharing of existing facilities and resources as host institutions; sharing of information and invitation to relevant projects, programs and activities; promotion of service learning and civic engagement; joint seeking of external resources and enhancement of Native American studies programs.
The MOU also agrees to equal status and full autonomy for each institution.
Both presidents said that promoting better understanding is a key reason for making the agreement.
Davis said exchanges can be developed that will help both institutions and that he sees the agreement as a way of opening the doors of communication. "We can't solve all the problems on the reservation by ourselves."
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."
Instructor Cecelia Myerion offered a prayer in the Ojibwa language and faculty, staff and students performed a flag song and an honor song for the occasion.
TMCC President Davis presented MSU President Fuller with a hand-carved turtle, made by a local artist, representing longevity and strength. Fuller gifted Davis with a print of "Indian in Minot," a painting made by Fritz Scholder. Scholder, an internationally renowned Native American artist, created the artwork at Minot State University while he was a guest in 1995. The artist passed away about one year ago and the original painting hangs in the Gordon B. Olson Library at MSU.
Other members in the delegation representing Minot State University included Gary Rabe, vice president for academic affairs, the five academic deans, Linda Cresap, Yueh-Ting Lee, JoAnn Linrud, Neil Nordquist and Kris Warmoth, Kim Thompson, director of public information, and Wylie Hammond, director of multicultural services.