SCSU Strategic Planning & Reporting
Student Life & Development

DEPARTMENT: American Indian Center
PHONE NUMBER: 654-5449


The mission of the Saint Cloud State University American Indian Center is to respond to the self-defined educational needs and goals of the current American Indian students and communities alike. To this end, the American Indian Center, utilizing both internal and external resources, empowers indigenous people through quality educational programming. The Center's outreach activities promote awareness, better understanding, and sensitivity to the American Indian culture.


  • Providing the highest quality services possible to our constituents.
  • Respect differences and working toward greater diversity and inclusiveness.
  • Demonstrate civility in all discourse.
  • Responsible use of fiscal and human resources to serve students in filling the goals of Student Life and Development and the university mission.

Department Strengths:

  • The AIC staff. The Student Services Coordinator and Secretary are great. These two individuals are the major reasons the Center is heading in the right direction. The AIC staff are dedicated, well trained, knowledgeable and excited about their work.
  • The AIC student employees. Almost all the student employees the AIC employed last year returned this year. They are an exceptional group of student employees that eagerly volunteer for every social and cultural activity the Center sponsors.
  • The AIC's unique mission allows us to be creative in our retention and recruitment initiatives.
  • The AIC's extensive community connections allows us to interact with many different individuals and organizations in the SCSU service region, statewide and nationally. These connections bring much needed support and human resources to our institution.
  • Adaptability. The AIC staff has personnel that can teach, lecture, serve and coordinate. The AIC staff have assisted many other offices and programs with their initiatives when requested. The AIC staff have helped SCSU with many cultural diversity and sensitivity training initiatives across the campus.
  • The physical structure of the AIC is one of the best in the state. We have a beautifully renovated house with a Resource Library, office space and relatively modern computers. The physical structure of the AIC is impressive to potential students visiting SCSU.

Department Weaknesses:

  • The AIC is still fighting a general lack of credibility from many American Indian students attending SCSU. Only last year's new entering Freshmen and this year's Freshmen are unaware of the minimal amount of services the AIC provided in years' past. I believe it will take time to establish the AIC credibility, but it will happen only by providing a good quality of on-going support services available to all American Indian students.
  • The under-representation of American Indian faculty teaching Indian and non- Indian content courses negatively impacts our recruitment efforts.
  • The AIC's professional staff have been, and will continue to be stretched too thin in terms of committee assignments and extra-curricular activities.


  • Recruitment in the immediate SCSU service region and recruitment statewide for high quality academic American Indian students is exciting. The American Indian student enrollment increased from 56 in the fall of 1997 to 69 students in the fall of 1998. This year, extensive recruitment plans are being implemented to increase this number significantly. The AIC made some key personnel changes last year that will enable us to actually implement retention and recruitment initiatives this year.
  • With the establishment of the Indian Studies minor scheduled for the Fall of 1999, the AIC will be in an even better position to promote SCSU as thee place for American Indian students to attend a post-secondary school.
  • By increasing the American Indian student headcount, retention rates, and ultimate graduation rates, SCSU is developing a "tradition" of serving American Indian students well. Through AIC staff connections to Indian communities statewide and by being quite visible statewide in terms of the social, cultural and academic offerings we have, SCSU is developing a reputation of serving Indian students well.


  • "Wanna-Be's" - a relatively derogatory term used to describe non-Indians who claim to be Indian for self-serving reasons. In this particular case, SCSU has two very visible wanna-be's that attempt to represent all American Indian students on campus without their knowledge or permission. If this isn't bad enough, the verbiage these two non-Indians spew out is usually negative, anti-SCSU, and often outright lies. Because of the freedom to speak laws, neither the AIC or SCSU can stop these two from saying whatever they want to whoever will listen to them. This has hurt the AIC recruitment efforts and image.
  • Staff burn-out. Excited employees can burn-out if not well supervised. Especially when their supervisor has many ideas, not all of which turn out as successful as anticipated.

External Environment:

  • SCSU is receiving statewide recognition through AIC associations with the Preserve Our Ojibwe Language Society, Blandin Foundation Indian Education Task-Force and the Minnesota Indian Education Association.
  • SCSU is receiving recognition in secondary schools statewide through implementation of the Hospitality Project conceived of last year by Tom Andrus, Student Services Coordinator. The Hospitality Project is an indirect recruitment initiative where high school students visit SCSU for a day visit, or a day & night visit.
  • SCSU is receiving external recognition because of some social and cultural activities the AIC is sponsoring that is open to the general public such as: traditional pow wows, fun runs/walks and miscellaneous social gatherings.


  • There is currently an increasing number of American Indian high school student graduates in Minnesota and nationally.
  • Almost all institutions of higher education that have a significant American Indian student population are developing or expanding their support services to those students. Institutions of higher education that have developed or expanded their support services for American Indian students are realizing proportional retention rate increases.
  • American Indian students attending post-secondary schools are transferring from one institution to another with greater frequency than in years' past. This trend is attributed to social, cultural or economic reasons, as well as having greater mobility from rural to urban areas.

University Themes

Academic Distinction goes to the heart of the University's aspirations and springs from its heritage of excellence.

Student Life and Development will, through its programs, services and cooperative ventures with faculty, compliment the academic mission of the University. In addition, Student Life and Development staff will provide students with distinctive opportunities to develop cultural, sensitivity, leadership, social and career oriented skills necessary for future success.

The American Indian Center goals and objectives that are being implemented to meet the "Academic Distinction" component of the Strategic Planning Document will include:

Current Initiatives:

  • Don Day, American Indian Center Director co-teaches a "Contemporary American Indian Issues" class each semester on a voluntary basis. There are 40 students enrolled in Fall Semester's class.
  • Tom Andrus, American Indian Center Student Service Coordinator teaches a "American Experience II" class Fall Semester 1998.
  • Both Don and Tom lecture in classes when requested. This transpires frequently each semester in a variety of academic disciplines including Social Work, American Indian Literature, Human Relations, World Cultures and Music, English and Social Science.
  • Don and Tom are academic advisors to a variety of students on campus. We assist students in registering in appropriate classes that will help them reach their academic career goals.
  • Don serves on the American Indian Studies Minor Committee that is developing the first American Indian Studies minor ever at Saint Cloud State University.
  • The American Indian Center has developed an academic tracking system where we contact each American Indian student on campus at least once per semester to check on their social, cultural and academic status. We carefully examine the academic transcripts of all American Indian students and send out appropriate follow-up letters based on their transcripts. Personal contacts are the most effective means of academically following-up with students, although telephone and paper correspondence is necessary from time to time for difficult to reach students.

New Initiatives:

  • Don is serving as a voluntary "Teaching Assistant" in the Elementary Ojibwe language class in 1998-1999.
  • Don is securing funding for a "Ojibwe Culture" class for Spring Semester. The class will be limited to 20 students. Don will serve as a voluntary "Teaching Assistant" for this class.
  • Development of a renowned "American Indian Resource Library." The American Indian Center currently has about 1000 items in their Resource Library (e.g. hard cover books, soft cover books, tapes, manuscripts, magazines, journals, audio-tapes, VHS tapes, films, newspaper subscriptions). The American Indian Center secured a $1,000 grant from the Cultural Diversity Program this fall semester. We will be purchasing 40-60 books with this allocation to add to the Resource Center.

Future Initiatives:

  • Development of an "American Indian Student Mentor-Tutor Program" designed to address any academic weaknesses American Indian students have as they attend Saint Cloud State University. The Mentor-Tutor Program will be composed of Saint Cloud State University students that are academically excelling and are willing to mentor and/or tutor American Indian students.
  • Development of a "Native Americans Into Medicine Program" designed to identify, recruit and retain American Indian students interested in health or allied health careers, especially medicine. This program will be under the direction of the American Indian Center, but with a mission to serve only American Indian students in specific health and allied health career tracts.

A Service Community will lead to a more respectful and secure campus environment for everyone.

Student Life and Development Goal:

Student Life and Development will put students first in everything that we do. Guided by periodic assessment, we will provide the highest quality student services possible, cognizant of the diverse needs of our students. Further, SLD will model and advance the values of civility and service to others in an effort to develop a safer and more effective living-learning community.

The American Indian Center goals and objectives that are being implemented to meet the "Service Community" component of the Strategic Planning document include:

Current Initiatives:

  • Saint Cloud State University's American Indian Center offers a variety of social, cultural, and on-going activities designed to create opportunities for current American Indian students attending Saint Cloud State University to become more involved with the institution. The more students identify with the institution the more likely they are to feel they are an accepted part of the campus and not just a visitor. Creating social activities also provides an opportunity for the students' families to visit campus and learn more about the activities available here. Current social, cultural and on-going activities include First Gathering Pipe Ceremonies; storytelling evenings; pow wows; Thanksgiving pot lucks; Winter Celebrations; sledding parties; and personal/career/financial/academic counseling.
  • Outcome measures include the number of activities offered each academic year and the number of students participating in each respective activity from one year to the next. "Student focus groups" will be a means to evaluate the effectiveness of each activity. This will be done in the spring of each year along with "student satisfaction surveys" that are distributed and collected from students each spring.

New Initiatives:

  • Initiatives that are being implemented in 1998-99 that have never been tried before include a 5K Fun Run/Walk; a bowling night; a Halloween Party; an Ojibwe Bingo Night; sending personal birthday and Christmas cards to all students from the AIC staff; and a Recognition Dinner to honor our academically excelling students and our graduates.
  • Outcome measures include the number of students participating in each new activity and a qualitative evaluation of the activity by participants. This can be conducted through "student focus groups" which the AIC coordinates each spring, and through students satisfaction surveys which the AIC distributes and collects each spring.

Future Initiatives:

  • The American Indian Center would like to establish a "Summer Bridge Program" where we would accept 25-30 American Indian high school graduating seniors for a 8-credit, 6-week summer experience at SCSU. Participants would be enrolled in an English class, a Multicultural Education class and a Physical Education class. Cultural activities would be offered as well as structured social activities. The students would be tracked for an entire year by program staff and encouraged or required to take a pre-determined set of courses toward their intended majors.
  • Outcome measures include the actual number of students participating in the summer bridge program, the number of students enrolling in classes at SCSU in the Fall, and the number of students continuing their education at SCSU through to graduation.
  • To make this future initiative a reality, partnerships would have to be established with the English Department, Physical Education Department and College of Education. Partnerships would also have to be established with the Academic Affairs Department, the Minority Student Services Program, the Sponsored Programs Department and a variety of Student Life and Development Offices.

Diversity and Justice will allow the University to better serve our rapidly changing world and foster a community of people of many backgrounds and perspectives working successfully together.

Student Life and Development through staff contacts, programs and services will foster an understanding of human differences and promote a just community in which every student is free to learn and grow.

Departments within Student Life and Development will provide a supportive, civil and welcoming environment for all members of the University community.

Student Life and Development personnel will improve staff understanding of human differences and needs as they pertain to the delivery of services.

The American Indian Center goals and objectives that are being implemented to meet the "Diversity and Justice" component of the Strategic Planning Document includes:

Current Initiatives:

  • By the very mission and nature of the American Indian Center, almost everything we do revolves around diversity and justice. By serving non-traditional students and students from unique backgrounds, the American Indian Center at Saint Cloud State University is one of only a few programs that concentrates specifically on diversity and justice issues and activities on a daily basis.
  • Don Day (American Indian Center Director) and Tom Andrus (American Indian Center Student Services Coordinator) both lecture in classes on the need for culturally diverse activities and environments and the need for faculty, staff and students to embrace culturally diverse people more readily.
  • Don Day conducts prejudice reduction workshops across campus as needed and when requested.
  • The American Indian Center sponsors a variety of programs and events that celebrates the rich and beautiful cultural diversity of American Indian people such as pow wows, an American Indian Speaker Series, singers, artists and performers.
  • Through personal and academic advisement, American Indian Center staff advocate for students in a wide range of areas including financial aid, social integration, cultural issues and institutional environment issues.

New Initiatives:

  • A new diversity activity the American Indian Center initiated this year was the "American Indian Art Expo", where Daryl No Heart (a Lakota Indian and artist) was commissioned to develop a 7'x9' mural for us to be displayed in a campus building. The unveiling ceremony transpired in September 1998 at the College of Education building.
  • Another new diversity activity the American Indian Center initiated this year was a "Food feature Day" where American Indian cuisine was offered at Atwood Memorial Center's Valhalla Room. Other ethnic food days are scheduled to transpire this academic year.
  • The Saint Cloud State University American Indian Advisory Board has been established, institutionally approved, and implemented this Fall Semester. This Board is designed to advocate for American Indian students on any issues, concerns and/or ideas that pertain American Indian students on campus.
  • Don Day serves on a newly formed "Students of Color Recruitment Committee" that is designing a comprehensive recruitment plan for Saint Cloud State University that will allow the University to culturally diversify more readily in the future than we are currently doing.

Future Initiatives:

  • The American Indian Center will attempt to create opportunities for all Saint Cloud State University faculty, staff and students to participate in cultural diversity activities directly or indirectly. Directly by social action projects such as the "winter coat collections" project where coats are being collected for distribution to disadvantaged families in the community; participation in the "6th Annual Traditional Pow Wow"; and participation in events that promote diversity and racial harmony on campus. Indirectly by verbally and philosophically supporting cultural diversity initiatives and other initiatives that support racial and gender equity across campus. These future initiatives will be most effective if co-sponsored by a variety of other programs and departments across campus.

Information Technology is an important tool to realize many strategies.

Student Life and Development will develop and utilize information technology ethically and appropriately to improve services and program access to students and other constituents, with the goals of enhancing academic success and learning in the context of a global society.

The American Indian Center goals and objectives that are being implemented to meet the "Information Technology" component of the Strategic Planning Document include:

Current Initiatives:

  • All staff and Graduate Assistants have PC computers and all have at least a modicum knowledge base on how to effectively and efficiently use the computers.
  • The AIC maintains 6 PC computers and 1 MacIntosh computer for student use. AIC staff provide computer support to students as needed.
  • All annual activities and many daily (on-going) activities are computerized. Examples include: mailing lists, quarterly newsletters, brochure development, recruitment projects, annual reports, employee evaluations, etc.
  • The AIC has a relatively decent photocopy machine and fax machine.
  • All "Speaker Series" presenters are videotaped with the tapes available for review during regular office hours.
  • Other on-campus programs and departments work in conjunction with the AIC in our retention and recruitment efforts via the information technology highway. Examples include: Admissions shares with us the American Indian high school seniors who took the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) as juniors so we can put them on our recruitment lists; Records & Registration sends us all the American Indian students' academic transcripts each semester so we can make appropriate contacts with our students; the Alumni Office shares with us their list of American Indian graduates so we can develop accurate recruitment and retention brochures, etc.
  • All AIC staff are perfectly clear that all student records and data are strictly confidential.

New Initiatives:

  • The AIC staff is constantly training themselves on how to utilize more software packages available with computers (e-mail, internet, zip mail, etc.).
  • In conjunction with the Learning Resources Center, the AIC has created a 6-minute video about the AIC and SCSU in general. The video is designed for both retention and recruitment.

Future Initiatives:

  • The AIC needs to be hooked up to the rest of the campus so we can access more computer stations on campus than we currently do. Once we are connected to the mainframe, we will be able to check our library collections in and out with computer scans and offer our holdings through the library's mainframe system.
  • Integrated with the mainframe, the American Indian Center is able to provide stability to computer resources. We will be able to offer additional software applications, internet access, and virus protection on computers located in the student computer lab. The American Indian Center just purchased nine site licenses for virus protection scanners in order to curtail corruption of computer files and programs on both lab and office computers.

University-External Relationships will be the key to many of our aspirations.

Community perceptions of the value that the University provides determines the level of our support. As a public university, Saint Cloud State University has the responsibility to be a leading force in the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of our service region. Saint Cloud State University has a responsibility to be a major contributor to the fabric of central Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.

Student Life and Development, through its programs and staff leadership, will contribute to the intellectual, cultural and economic development of the citizens of central Minnesota.

Student Life and Development will promote and model positive involvement in the community by Saint Cloud State University students and staff.

The American Indian Center goals and objectives that are being implemented to meet the "University-External Relationships" component of the Strategic Planning Document include:

Current Initiatives:

  • Don Day (AIC Director) and Tom Andrus (AIC Student Services Coordinator) make a variety of public presentations across campus and in the community when requested. Most of the presentation requests concentrate on American Indian issues and/or perspectives. This is an excellent means to promote our program and the issues of student development across campus and in the surrounding communities.
  • The American Indian Center sponsors a variety of social and cultural activities each year that promotes our program, students, and our initiatives on-campus and in the surrounding communities. Some of these university-external relationship initiatives include:
    • Daryl No Heart Reception: a Lakota Indian who created a 7'x9' mural for SCSU that depicts a traditional Indian teaching style used by American Indian people for many centuries. This mural is displayed in the College of Education building so future teachers and the general public may have an opportunity to view/study it.
    • Traditional Pow Wow: a celebration of cultural diversity and friendship. A wonderful means to enjoy and learn more about American Indian culture in an academic environment.
    • Winter Celebration: a celebration of the holiday season. "Indian Santa" was there to give presents to all the good little boys and girls who were in attendance. This is a great way for the parents of students and for the children of students to come on campus to help see what, where and why their family members are going to college.
    • Storytelling Evening: an event open to the entire campus and community where an American Indian storyteller will tell stories of humor, history and culture.
    • Speaker Series: a series of American Indian speakers invited to SCSU to share their insights on a wide range of topics from education to tribal government to cultural celebrations. These programs are free and open to the public.
    • The AIC publishes a quarterly newsletter depicting all upcoming AIC sponsored events. The newsletter is an effective tool to let faculty, staff, students and community folks know what is being planned and implemented at SCSU.
    • The AIC facilitates all SCSU American Indian Advisory Board meetings. The SCSU American Indian Advisory Board is composed of faculty, staff, students and community members supportive of SCSU. This Board is a very effective means to draw support and input from the community for SCSU initiatives.
    • AIC staff serve on a variety of committees on-campus and off-campus. Participation on these committees gives our program, and ultimately SCSU, a much better position to impact activities and initiatives that impact our faculty, staff and students that are sponsored by on-campus and off-campus entities. An example of some of these committees include
      (On-Campus): SCSU American Indian Advisory Board, Cultural Diversity Committee, Student Advocates Committee, Prejudice Reductions Committee.
      (Off-Campus): Minnesota Indian Education Association, Blandin Foundation Indian Education Task-Force, Preserve Our Ojibwe Language Society.

New Initiatives:

  • Inaugural Great Pumpkin 5K Fun Run/Walk. A cultural diversity event open to the entire campus and community. A means to bring faculty, staff, students and community members on campus for an enjoyable event.
  • Halloween Party. This is a social event designed for the children of students currently attending SCSU. The more families know about SCSU, the more affinity they will have with this institution.
  • Food Feature Days. The AIC, in conjunction with ARA Food Services is sponsoring two food feature days in 1998-99. The food feature days will emphasize "Indian Tacos" and traditional American Indian fine art and music. This is a cultural diversity event open to the public and a wonderful means to share traditional American Indian foods and culture with the surrounding community.
  • Ojibwe Bingo. A fun evening open to the campus community and the surrounding community. A great way to learn how to count in Ojibwe.
  • AIC Recruitment Video. The AIC, in conjunction with the Learning Resources Center has created a 6-minute recruitment video describing the AIC and SCSU in general. The video will be mainly for recruitment purposes, but also an excellent means to remind high school students that higher education is an option that must be considered as they graduate from high school.

Future Initiatives:

  • Sponsor and coordinate annual social action projects that will benefit SCSU faculty, staff, students and non-students in the local communities. An example of a social action project the AIC may wish to sponsor in the future is a fundraising initiative to raise money to buy playground equipment for some of the local city parks. This is a win-win situation that can be led by the American Indian students on-campus, but helped with by many other organizations on and off campus. This type of annual initiative will allow ethnic and non-ethnic minority people to work together on a common humanitarian cause. Not only will the end result be something positive for the community (playground equipment), but also, and maybe even more importantly, the sense of community that will be developed by minority and non-minority people working together for a prolonged period of time. This may be the single, most effective method for dealing with racism and discrimination in the St. Cloud area we will ever undertake. Social action projects can take many forms. The aforementioned one about playground equipment is just an example.
  • The AIC Resource Library only has about 1000 items in its collections, but 20% or more of its holdings are checked out at all times. This is a clear indication that the library is being heavily used. The need to expand its holdings are evident in the heavy use the library receives. The AIC will be developing ideas and activities to expand the library holdings significantly in the future.
  • I believe the American Indian student population at SCSU will be so large in the future that we will need to expand our office space and resources. I can envision the day we buy the house adjacent to the AIC:
    • More office space for new hires (American Indians Into Medicine Program Director, American Indian Science & Engineering Society Director, etc.).
    • More room for a larger Resource library
    • A area displaying American Indian art, paintings, drawings, fine art work, and other items depicting American Indian culture. This display area could be used for student recruitment and for cultural diversity projects initiated by local schools.
    • The expanded American Indian Center could be used by the administration, individual colleges, departments and students as a place for receptions and other social gatherings.