DeSmet Higher Education Program
First DeSmet Graduates - Bachelor's Degree in Business Management - 1997 - Vicki Abraham, Megan Harding, Brenda Abraham, John Abraham, and myself
In a partnership between Lewis-Clark State College and the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, I helped initiate and coordinate two baccalaureate "learning communities," one in Business Management, and the other in Elementary Education. An "articulation agreement" was established between the tribe and LCSC during the 1992-93 school year. As this would be a new, off-campus program, a "Notice of Intent" was submitted to and approved by the Idaho State Board of Education in June of 1993. To better server a "place-bound" student population, all classes were offered at DeSmet, on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation, (with the exception of the senior year of the Elementary Education program). The Business learning community begun in the fall of 1993, with the Education learning community initiating the following year
What was particularly unique and exciting about the program was the possibility of completing a bachelors degree in four years, while taking no more than two courses at a time! Because of the two-course load, students where thus able to maintain family and employment commitments while still going to school. I structured the program so that students would take two evening courses over a six-week period, with two six-week sessions during the fall semester and three six-week sessions in the spring, thus completing over the academic year the necessary thirty credits to stay on a four-year plan. In order not to compromise academic integrity, I offered some of the courses as "linked." For example, the "skills-oriented" assignments of an English Composition course were "linked" and integrated with the "content-oriented" projects required in a Marketing course.
The ultimate success of the program must be attributed to the students themselves. They were highly motivated and, as they progressed through the program taking the same courses together, they developed a strong support system for one another. As anticipated, four years after beginning the coursework we had our first graduates, in May of 1997.
The partnership with the Coeur d'Alene Tribe has now come to include North Idaho College as well. For additional information, contact Dianne Allen, Director of Education for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, at 208-686-5704.
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