NACC: Annual Report 2021-22

In the academic year 2021-2022, the Native American Cultural Center (NACC) at Colorado State University provided vital support to 112 individual students through a total of over 1,968 office visits. Students sought out the NACC for various reasons, including computer access, studying, socializing, and receiving tutoring.

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individual students visited

Overcoming Issues

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NACC continued to make a significant impact on campus, alumni, and the local community. Through the coordination of nine diverse programs, including the highly anticipated Native American History Month with its nine events, the NACC engaged approximately 841 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members from Denver and Fort Collins.

However, program attendance and office visits experienced a decrease compared to pre-pandemic numbers due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic. This included the NACC office visits, the tutoring program, the mentorship program, and the cancellation of fall and spring break outreach events.

Notably, an adjustment to the office's leadership retreat yielded positive results by combining it with the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center, fostering stronger collaborations that may continue in the future. Throughout its endeavors, the NACC remains dedicated to prioritizing people and culture, emphasizing the importance of belonging as a foundational element of its offerings.

2021-22 NACC Programs

NACC’s programs for 2021-2022 focused on student recruitment, retention and graduation with a focus on actively increasing the number of Native American Students at Colorado State University. Assessment metrics are tracked against these goals. Programs include:
All Nations Leadership Retreat

Held in collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Cultural center this year, this program was established to enhance personal growth through development of leadership skills, communication, responsibility, diversity awareness, outreach, cultural awareness and networking among CSU staff, faculty and students.

The retreat historically garners high marks from participant evaluations, with positive commentary regarding the ability to meet and network with other students, share their personal stories and enjoy increased diversity in the University environment.

Eagle Feather Tutoring Program

This program provides free tutoring to students in core subject areas like composition, biology, chemistry and math. To assess program success, data regarding student participation, GPA, tutoring subjects and program retention are tracked each semester. The benchmark goal is for at least 70 percent of students earn a grade “C” or better in classes which they were tutored. In 2021-22, 100 percent of courses tutored were for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Graduate Support Assistants and Undergraduate Student Interns

NACC provided opportunities for one graduate student and six undergraduate students and one summer intern to gain valuable work experience while providing administrative support to the NACC office. These support and intern positions collaborated with communities from the campus to the global level for beneficial knowledge and resource exchanges that benefited all involved. Work within these positions included support of the NACC mentoring program to student and office support to planning and development with the Division of Student Affairs at Colorado State.

K-12 STEM Outreach Programs

In collaboration with CSU Physics Department’s “Little Shop of Physics,” and the College of Engineering, this program provides outreach to K-12 schools with predominantly Native American student populations in southwest Colorado, northwest New Mexico, Northeast Arizona and South Dakota. For participating schools, it enhances student interest in science, engages parents and community and provides teachers with alternative methods to teach scientific concepts. Fall and spring semester trips normally conducted over break were canceled this year due to COVID-19 concerns.

The program fosters student development in cross-cultural and global awareness and social responsibility by providing experiential opportunities for CSU student volunteers. It also provides recruiting opportunities and University alumni connections with locals.

Native American Heritage Month

Held for the 18th consecutive year at Colorado State, this program consists of nine events held virtually and in-person through the months of October and November, these events focused on sharing the knowledge and culture behind Native American heritage. Ongoing partnerships with RamEvents and Campus Activities allows for more student feedback through focus groups and evaluations to help determine future programming.

Events included Indigenous Peoples Day programming on the LSC Plaza, an LGBTQ+ and Native American Heritage Month Keynote speaker, documentary showings and more. As a precaution for COVID-19, the AISES Annual Pow Wow was not hosted.

North Star Peer Mentoring Program

Upper class student mentors serve as a resource for self-identified Native American students who are new to the University or a university environment. Mentors assist participants with transition to life at a major university and in-turn, are professionally trained for the role and receive credit for a PSY486, a psychology practicum course. Collaborators include NACC, the Psychology Department and the CSU Health Network. Semester-to-semester retention rates are tracked to assess the program’s success.

Undergraduate Research Experience

NACC partnered with CSU’s Warner College of Natural Sciences and CSU Extension to receive a CSU Extension grant that supports two undergraduate research positions at $4000 each for summer 2022. Entities like the National Science Foundation (NSF) regard undergraduate research as a high-impact approach to enhance student engagement, enrich student learning experiences and encourage students to consider graduate school and positively impacts student retention. The Center sponsored two undergraduate researchers with this program.