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Indigenous Mentoring Program

The information on this page relates to the second round of the Indigenous Mentoring Program for cohort 2016-2017.The IMP pilot was implemented from December 2015 to October 2016.

The 2016-17 Cohort is composed of faculty, staff, and administrators of the University of Montana (UM), Montana State University (MSU), Montana Tech (MT Tech), and Salish Kootenai College (SKC). If you are interested in the program, please email the appropriate program coordinator listed at the end of the page. For general inquiries about PNW-COSMOS or the IMP, please email pwncosmos@uidaho.edu.

IMP – Round 2 

Purpose of the program: The main purpose of the Indigenous Mentoring Program (IMP) is to transform graduate education for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students in STEM fields, including those studying to complete advanced degrees in STEM Education.

Goal of the program: The goal of the program is to train and support the work of mentors through a sequence of modules designed to provide information related to mentoring, student resources, student socialization, cultural humility training, and culturally attuned practices for research conducted by AI/AN students. Mentors include faculty, staff and administrators who provide support in different areas of graduate education, from enrollment, student services, policy and research and teaching support.

Structure of the program: The 2016-2017 cohort of the program are faculty, staff and administrators at Montana State University (MSU), Montana Tech (MT Tech), Salish Kootenai College (SKC), and University of Montana (UM). Participants meet once a month face-to-face for one and a half hours at each campus. The meetings are connected via video conferencing software and recorded. In addition, participants receive access to a Box.com shared folder where they can interact, access program materials, and view or review the video recording from previous modules. The set-up is designed to help participants who have conflicting schedules or are unable to attend a session.

At the end of each module, a five- to ten-minutes survey must be completed. The survey is designed to assess the effectiveness of the modules, the content relevancy to participants, and assist in making improvements.

Modules: The nine modules are designed to coincide with the academic year. Modules were designed based on information collected by means of qualitative research that included interviews with Native and non-Native faculty and staff at three Montana institutions of higher education (MSU, SKC, UM). The curriculum aims to counter the assimilation of Indigenous students, and instead to provide access to education and more precisely to the STEM fields, so that Indigenous students (future researchers) have an opportunity to contribute to the body of research in a responsible way with their Indigenous identities intact or even strengthened; and for mentors who work with these students to become more attuned to the unique needs of AI/AN students, their communities, and provide access to graduate study in the STEM fields.

The nine modules are:

  1. Indigenous Mentoring models
  2. Indigenous Research Methodologies (IRM)
  3. Indigenous student services
  4. Visiting student’s home communities
  5. Interface with prospective students
  6. Informal gatherings for mentors and mentees
  7. Training on Cultural Humility
  8. Presentation of research and services to Tribal communities
  9. Resources on mentoring indigenous students

Important Caveats: Participants in the program are urged to consider four caveats during the program and in their interaction with AI/AN1 students:

  1. Indigenous students are presumably located differently along an indigenous identity continuum, meaning they come from varying backgrounds that include, but a not limited to, urban and rural settings, different levels of engagement with traditional practices, and knowledge.
  2. Indigenous communities are culturally different, though there can be some overlap.
  3. Participating colleges and universities have different leadership structures and support services in place for American Indian STEM graduate students.
  4. Activities will be place-based, utilizing the unique activities meaningful to indigenous students or in tribal communities.
  5. Mentors will have an interest to contribute to the success of indigenous students.

The modules are constructed so that in each module:

  1. Presenter explains why specific things are being taught (e.g., certain commands, functions, operations, etc.)
  2. Information is task-oriented as opposed to memorization — learning activities will be in the context of tasks to be performed.
  3. Takes into account the wide range of different backgrounds of learners; learning materials and activities should allow for different levels/types of previous experience with AI/AN students.
  4. Are self-directed– instruction will allow learners to discover things for themselves.


Day/Date – Location

Time for face-to-face


Wednesday Nov 2, 2016 – UM @ Todd 203; MSU @ Reid 415; MT Tech @ SUB Big Butte/Highlands; SKC @  IT conference room/Mathias bldg.


12:30 pm to 2:00 pm


Wednesday, Dec 7, 2016 – UM @ UC 326; MSU @ Reid 415; MT Tech @ HSB 002 ; SKC @ IT conference room/Mathias bldg.


12:30 pm to 2:00 pm


Wednesday, Feb 1, 2017 – UM @ Todd 210; MSU @ Reid 415; MT Tech @ HSB 002; SKC @ IT conference room/Mathias bldg.


12:30 pm to 2:00 pm


Wednesday, March 1, 2017 – UM @ Todd 210; MSU @ Reid 415; MT Tech @ HSB 002; SKC @ IT conference room/Mathias bldg.


12:30 pm to 2:00 pm


Wednesday, April 5, 2017 – UM @ Todd 203; MSU @ Reid 415; MT Tech @ HSB 002; SKC @ IT conference room/Mathias bldg.


12:30 pm to 2:00 pm


Wednesday, May 3, 2017 – UM @ Todd 203; MSU @ Reid 415; MT Tech @ HSB 002; SKC @ IT conference room/Mathias bldg.


12:30 pm to 2:00 pm


Wednesday, June 7, 2017 – UM @ Todd 210; MSU @ Reid 415; MT Tech @ HSB 002; SKC @ IT conference room/Mathias bldg.


12:30 pm to 2:00 pm

IMP 8 and 9

After June 8, 2017

Online – self-paced


Cloud Repository of information:

Coordinator Arouca will enroll participants in a Box shared folder (box.com) through the University of Montana account, once the participant has signed the informed consent. In case of problems accessing the information, please email her directly.

Points of contact per institution (institutions in alphabetical order):

Montana State University:

Sweeney Windchief – Co-lead of the IMP. Email: sweeney.windchief@montana.edu

Barbara Komlos – Program coordinator. Email: bkomlos@montana.edu, phone: 406-994-4206

Montana Tech:

Amanda Shroyer – Program coordinator. Email: AShroyer@mtech.edu

Salish Kootenai College:

Co Carew – Program coordinator. Email: co_carew@skc.edu

University of Montana:

Blakely Brown – Co-lead of the IMP: Email: Blakely.Brown@mso.umt.edu

Raquel Arouca – Program coordinator (in charge of surveys and box issues). Email: raquel.arouca@mso.umt.edu, phone: 406-243-4560

nsf1-1The primary sponsor for PNW-COSMOS is the National Science Foundation (NSF), Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Division of Human Resource Development (HRD). This project is supported by: Collaborative Research: The Pacific Northwest Alliance to develop, implement and study a STEM Graduate Education Model for American Indians and Alaska Natives. This is an AGEP – T: Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate – Transformation under HRD grants # 1432932 (Washington State University), #1432910 (University of Idaho), #1432694 (University of Montana), and #1431773 (Montana State University).  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.