Montana State University’s Native American Studies department has been recognized as internationally accredited, the first mainstream program to be recognized.
Dr. Walter Fleming, Native American Studies department chair, describes the process of receiving accreditation from the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium.
A self-study was prepared for the accreditation team’s visit with a focus on student wellness and culture.
“We’re really tested or measured on how well we encourage our students and encourage our staff to put culture first…” Fleming said, “It was a rigorous process.”
With the accreditation awarded, the MSU Native American Department will now be able to expand their reach and programming on the international scale.
“The whole programming is built around the community,” Fleming said, “Places like the agriculture college, it’s important for our own visibility and the work that we get to do in the future,” Fleming said.
Students in the program will have the advantage of studying while having access to a large array of programs, but also the comfort that their interests will be at the forefront of learning.
“Validation, that when they come to MSU that we will put their interests first, and we’re going to work with where they are on their journeys, and they recognize—because it’s a student well-being model—that their concerns will be heard,” Fleming said.