Serving Native American Students: New Directions for Student Services

Mary Jo Tippeconnic Fox

The increasing Native American enrollment at campuses across the United States is something to be celebrated. It reflects the resiliency of Native people across the country, a commitment on the part of Native students and their families to pursue educational goals, and the growing strength in tribal government and tribal economies. However, the underlying reality that the retention rate for Native American students is the lowest for any group in higher education ought be a source of tremendous concern. It is a consequence of the history of Native Americans in the United States; the state of elementary and secondary education for many Native Americans; and the lack of awareness in much of higher education to Native American students, people, and issues.
What are the trends in enrollment for Native American students? What do we know about their experiences on our campuses? What contributes to their success in pursuing their educational aspirations, and what inhibits them? How might greater awareness of contemporary issues in Indian country affect our ability to serve Native American students? How might knowledge of Native American epistemology, cultural traditions, and social structures help in our efforts to address challenges and opportunities on our campuses? In this volume of the New Directions in Student Services series, scholars and practitioners alike, most of them Native American, address these important questions.