Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

October 14, 2010

Salish Kootenai College offers new degrees in Hydrology

PABLO Water is a key natural resource in today's world, and with that in mind Salish Kootenai College has received approval by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities to offer both an Associate and Bachelor of Science in Hydrology, the first such degree among the tribal colleges and universities in North America.

The addition of this degree program is aligned with the SKC's Strategic Plan 2010-2015, which calls for the college to, "Become a center of science education with an emphasis on Native American worldview and application of science to indigenous issues."

In keeping with this plan, SKC is adding the degrees along with the recently added Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education degree, and the existing bachelor degree programs in Forestry, Environmental Science, Information Technology, and Computer Engineering. In addition, a bachelor degree program in Life Science is nearly complete and expected to be accredited soon.

The addition of the Hydrology program will afford students the opportunity for interdisciplinary study of physical, chemical, and biological water resources and their management. This opportunity will address the need to expand geosciences education for Native students and their communities.

Currently the nation awards only 20-30 degrees per year in the disciplines of geosciences to Native American students. Of these less than three percent are undergraduate degrees. Only a fraction of these students are in the field of hydrology or water resources, which highlights the geosciences as one of the least-diverse STEM fields. This is surprising given that American Indian tribes and tribal confederations exert sovereignty over approximately 20 percent of the fresh water resources.

Historically there has always been a shortage of Native American geoscientists in the United States. The SKC Hydrology program will help address this shortage as the only TCU degree offering that falls directly under the National Science Foundations Geoscience Directorate.

SKC is currently accepting applications for enrollment in the Hydrology degree program. If you are interested in enrolling or wish to gather more information concerning the Hydrology program, please contact Antony Berthelote, Shandin Pete or Bill Swaney at the Natural Resources Department on the campus of Salish Kootenai College.

For more information on Salish Kootenai College, visit their web site at: www.skc.edu

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