Nicolet College’s Indigenous Ways of Knowing Report made public
Nicolet College recognizes that not all learning happens in a classroom or can be quantified by an exam.
“We know, based on research that students are more successful in higher education when that existing knowledge that they bring with them that is valuable is seen as valuable by a college and we can grant credit for it,” said Laura Wind-Norton, Nicolet’s associate vice president of Academic Services.
A challenge with that was how to verify something like lived experiences and translate it into credit.
To help figure it out, Nicolet College facilitated discussions with members from seven tribes and other educational organizations.
“Those respected elders and knowledge holders and really let them lead the way and let them show us what the pedagogy should be, how we should be, not just teaching, but how you really infuse indigenous knowledge into curriculum,” said Wind-Norton.
The end result was the Indigenous Ways of Knowing report.
It’s been used for Nicolet programs like Credit for Prior Learning, the Tribal Business Management certificate, and an online Native American art class.
“It’s important for students to see pathways and see themselves in this institution,” said Wind-Norton. “We serve our entire district and our district includes three sovereign tribal nations. We want those students as much a part of this community as every other student.”
Wind-Norton says they’ll continue to infuse that knowledge in the curriculum as much as possible for the benefit of indigenous and non-native students alike.
The report is public with the goal of showing the effort that went into this project and that it can be replicated.
“This is possible elsewhere. You can build relationships and you should build relationships with your tribal communities in your area for the different universities and colleges within Wisconsin and beyond. There is all kinds of exciting work going on these days. This is our contribution to that body of work,” said Wind-Norton.