The Collaborative of Tribal and Higher Education in Michigan (C-THEM) is a partnership of Michigan public universities and Tribal Education Directors from the state’s 12 federally-recognized sovereign nations. Supported by a Multi-Institutional Innovation Grant from Bringing Theory to Practice, C-THEM seeks to break down barriers to equity and inclusion for Native students in Michigan’s public colleges.
Students who identify as Native American may feel lost at college; many struggle to find cultural connections, having lived their lives in close-knit communities. They come to campus with a desire to be seen by their university and to have their tribal nations acknowledged. Many Michigan campuses have seen numbers of Native students returning home from college after one or two semesters.
C-THEM aims to build connections among Michigan public institutions and educational leaders from the state’s tribes, as well as among Native students on campus. The collaborative has helped to broker pathway agreements, for instance, between Western Michigan University and three bands of the Potawatomi Nation. Such partnerships between tribes and their regional institutions may serve as a model to increase opportunities and support for Native students. C-THEM is also working to convene cohorts of indigenous students from across Michigan’s state universities to build support networks and students’ leadership capacity.
- Campus Highlight: We See You: The Collaborative of Tribal and Higher Education in Michigan (C-THEM)
- Grantee Spotlight: C-THEM Collaborative