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Dina Horwedel, Director of Public Education, American Indian College Fund

Colleen R. Billiot, Public Education Coordinator, American Indian College Fund

American Indian College Fund Invests in Tribal College Faculty Development

Project to Build a Culture of Research for Transformative Change

October 6, 2022, Denver, Colo.— Faculty are essential to creating a thriving academic and cultural environment at tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). They teach and advise students, develop culturally relevant curricula, and take on administrative duties. Yet faculty often are unable to learn from one another or foster relationships in the research arena to focus on research activities and further learning for themselves.

Thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, the American Indian College Fund (the College Fund) will support TCU faculty to become scholars, mentors, and leaders through its Investing in Tribal College Faculty: Building a Culture of Research for Transformative Change project. This project will help grow a culture of research across TCUs, increase Indigenous representation and voice in academic research, and strengthen Native communities through research activities.

The project has six areas of focus:

  1. Expanding the size and scope of the Faculty Advisory Board to provide deeper insights into the needs of TCU faculty.
  2. Hosting professional development opportunities for TCU faculty that better align with faculty needs and interests,
  3. Providing grants to TCUs to promote integration of faculty development programming into operations.
  4. Offering intensive writing retreats to assist faculty with publishing their research.
  5. Publishing Volumes 7 and 8 of the Tribal College and University Research Journal to amplify Indigenous perspectives and to showcase topics of importance to the TCUs and Native nations.
  6. Expanding the annual TCU Faculty Research Convening into a premier conference where TCU and non-TCU faculty, peer organizations, and higher education leaders can build lasting relationships and translate research insights into practice.

“This project supports and supplements TCU faculty research and highlights the importance of conducting and publishing research, doing so in a way that is culturally sensitive and focused on issues important to Native people,” said David Sanders, Vice President of Research, Evaluation, and Faculty Development. “The impact of this work goes far beyond faculty members’ professional development. Tribal colleges and universities, students, and Native communities will benefit from the research findings.”

About the American Indian College Fund—The American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 33 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $15.5 million in scholarships and other direct student support to American Indian students in 2020-21. Since its founding in 1989 the College Fund has provided more than $259 million in scholarships, programmatic and community support. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit

About the Henry Luce Foundation – The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to enrich public discourse by promoting innovative scholarship, cultivating new leaders, and fostering international understanding. Established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time, Inc., the Luce Foundation advances its mission through grantmaking and leadership programs in the fields of Asia, higher education, religion and theology, art, and public policy.

Journalists—The American Indian College Fund does not use the acronym AICF. On second reference, please use the College Fund.

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