Nebraska Indian Community College and Pawnee Nation College (PNC) have been collaborating for a while now.

Can you tell us more about how this relationship came to be?
Pawnee Nation College President, Michael Burgess (MB): A dialogue began in the spring of 2019, however contact was initiated by Dr. Oltrogge when NICC brought some students through the region on its way to a conference, I believe, for the AIHEC association.  PNC, via President Burgess began the discussion in the late fall, 2019, and it continued with Dr. Oltrogge making a visit to meeting of the PNC Trustees. The initial discussions were very positive and the relationship has blossomed into a working arrangement in the fall of
2020 This Fall 2020 Semester was the first time NICC and PNC collaborated on classes.

What were some of the highlights of the semester?
MB: A positive, definitely for PNC, was the COVID-19 response for students and faculty of PNC. The assistance that NICC provided to students with distance learning capabilities was enormous. Many of the PNC students in prior semesters, due to our rural location had great difficulty over the previous spring and summer to stay 'connected' to our campus. NICC and its assistance was and still is most beneficial for all of PNC.

How have PNC and NICC been able to support one another during Covid?
MB: PNC students are most grateful for the laptops, the connections via WIFI in home areas, and large support of financial aid for students on the PNC campus. While all of the faculty and staff at PNC know that such a union as our two school have made, due to distance, can be testing, our relationship is working. Communications with staff and faculty at NICC with PNC is phenomenal. PNC staff are highly impressed with the technical
capabilities which NICC has in place and the ease with which students receive guidance is a plus for the staff, Marcella and Amanda Kanuho, who are the frontline workers with students at PNC.

What are some goals that NICC and PNC have for the future together?
MB: From the perspective of President Burgess, NICC is providing great guidance towards accreditation standards. In addition to this guidance, students of PNC are receiving a very large benefit is scholastic assistance. The many programs which NICC has available for student support, guidance, and the strength of the Native educational environment are very much appreciated by the faculty of PNC.  A mutual goal is that of assistance to PNC to meet accreditation standards and to assist PNC with development of internal management systems to continue with educational opportunities for student scholarship, to assist with student recruitment and retention. NICC and PNC will continue to improve collaboration for developing relationships in educational grants and opportunities to achieve further funding for both colleges to meet our stated missions and goals.