Dec. 15, 2003 by Jeany Llorente NMSU News Center
Business students who start a degree program at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute will have the opportunity to complete a four-year program at New Mexico State University.
Officials at SIPI and New Mexico State agreed to improve the process of transferring academic credits from the community college to the university during a ceremony today, Dec. 15, at the SIPI campus in Albuquerque.
SIPI President Joseph Martin and NMSU Interim President William Flores signed an articulation agreement to formalize the relationship.
“This agreement is historic because it represents a coming together of land-grant institutions,” said NMSU Interim President William Flores. “We look forward to having a working relationship with SIPI that grows every day.”
“This (relationship) will give our students a more well-rounded educational opportunity to capitalize on,” said SIPI President Joseph Martin. “This is a tremendous opportunity to support tribal economic development and leadership. We are not doing it alone, we are now getting support through NMSU.”
Kathleen Brook, associate dean of NMSU’s College of Business Administration and Economics, said the agreement allows students who start a degree program at SIPI to transfer to NMSU after two years of course work, and then complete a degree at NMSU with a total of no more than 128 credits.
“If students take the course work we’ve laid out, they won’t lose any credits in the transfer process– all SIPI credits will be applicable here,” she said.
Wilfred Beaupre, department chair for business and technologies at SIPI, said the agreement lets students know clearly what courses they will need to take at SIPI that will be accepted at NMSU.
“We are taking our business administration degree and making sure that it transfers 100 percent,” said Beaupre. “We are working together to achieve common educational goals for Native American students — that is our mission.”
Other than traditional associate degree courses in business administration, students will take classes in tribal law, tribal management, tribal leadership and tribal resource development at SIPI. Once they arrive at New Mexico State, students will major in general business and have the option to study tribal management, which will be done through internships in tribal enterprises. There is also the option of distance education for students who wish to stay in the area.
Troy Webster, 24, student senate president at SIPI, said the relationship will open doors for Native American students.
“This will allow for all of us at SIPI, an institution that gives us a great foundation, to look beyond the boundaries of SIPI and move on to a great institution like NMSU,” he said.
“The idea is to prepare Native American students to serve their tribes, pueblos or nations in a business capacity,” Brook said. “They have often found that they’ve had to go outside their community to find people with the business skills necessary to oversee business operations.”
New Mexico State University, which began in 1888 as an agricultural college and preparatory school, is a comprehensive institution dedicated to teaching, research and service at the graduate and undergraduate level. It is the only land-grant institution that is also classified as Hispanic-serving by the federal government and classified by the Carnegie Foundation in the top research category, Research-Extensive. Total fall 2003 enrollment for the main and branch campuses was more than 23,000.
A national Indian community college, SIPI is a 1994 land-grant institution and a member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC). The college is located at the center of New Mexico’s agricultural and technological corridors and has a student body of more than 900 students from more than 100 tribes from across the country. SIPI has a retention rate of 80 percent, which is attributed to a strong educational pathway that addresses basic academic skills through technical and industry specific skills training as well as offering degree program options.