About The Program
In 2013, the College Fund conducted listening sessions with twelve tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) in the upper Midwest region (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin). The purpose of the sessions was to determine areas of interest and need related to institutional, faculty, and student development in the environmental and sustainability fields at the TCUs.
Shared values expressed from these listening sessions:
- Need for culturally informed sustainability practices
- Contextualization of education
- Faculty and student research opportunities that are relevant to community
- Increase technology use and skills among TCU faculty, staff, and students
Indigenous principles for sustainability and environmental science programming:
- Preservation and restoration of Native lifeways
- Intergenerational knowledge transfer
- Place-based capacity building
The development of the Building Sustainability Pathways (BSP) program from 2014-2017 was informed by these listening sessions and was designed to support capacity building at TCUs through increasing qualifications and skills of faculty, providing resources that support student completion of bachelor’s programs, and supporting development of expanded and new programs in environmental studies, sciences, natural resources, wildlife management, sustainability, and related fields. Further, academic program and course development and faculty and student development opportunities incorporated place-based and intergenerational knowledge transfer.
In 2017, Kai Teague was hired as a program administrator to oversee the BSP program. They conducted site-visits and interviews, and were intentional in developing relationships with TCU faculty, project directors, and students to understand how this work was being enacted. Insights from TCU sharing greatly informed the following Scholarly Emergence for Environmental Design and Stewardship (SEEDS) 2017-2020 program, which included the creation of dynamic capacity building grant opportunities focused on integrated components to support a more comprehensive and holistic approach.