Oglala Lakota College
3 Mile Creek Road
Mission, Vision, Educational Philosophy
In carrying out the mission, the Oglala Lakota College Board of Trustees stresses Lakota culture and tribal self-determination. The college prepares students to understand the larger society as well as the customs and beliefs of the Lakota people. Oglala Lakota College provides a framework of excellence for student knowledge, skills, and values towards piya wiconi - a new beginning for harmony in fulfillment of aspirations and dreams.
During its non-accredited years, the college entered into agreements with Black Hills State College, University of South Dakota, and South Dakota State University, allowing it to teach credit-bearing courses on the reservation. The college awarded it first associate’s degrees in 1974.
In 1978, the Lakota Higher Education Center changed its name to Oglala Sioux Community College to reflect its status as a community college. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools bestowed accreditation in 1983, the same year the college adopted its current name, Oglala Lakota College. The HLC renewed accreditation several times since then, as OLC expanded its degree offerings to include bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. The college received Land Grant status in 1994.
Geographic Features and Challenges
OLC continues to grow in spite of these living conditions. OLC operates a multi-campus system in order to reach its geographically dispersed population. OLC operates nine instructional centers in each of the reservation’s districts, as well as sites in Rapid City, Martin, and on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation. Administrative offices are headquartered in the reservation’s center, near the town of Kyle.
Academics and Students
Such diverse academic programming clearly appeals to a growing number of tribal members. In 2006, enrollment hovered around 1,500 students. In 2010, student enrollment increased to 1,830 students. The number of degrees conferred increased dramatically during this time as well. In the 2006-07 academic year, OLC awarded 69 associate’s degrees and 39 bachelor’s degrees. Four years later, OLC conferred 102 associate’s degrees and 45 bachelor’s degrees. OLC also awarded seven master’s degrees that year.
Other Outstanding Accomplishments
Such advanced programming greatly enhances the academic experience for OLC students, which in turn, positively affects educational outcomes. In 2011, 204 students graduated from OLC, the most in the school's 40-year history.