100 Stevenson Street
PO Box 749
Barrow, AK 99723
Mission, Vision, Educational Philosophy
Ilisagvik College (IC) provides quality post-secondary academic, vocational, and technical education in a learning environment that perpetuates and strengthens Inupiat culture, values and traditions. The college provides well-educated and trained individuals who meet the human resource needs of North Slope employers.
IC upholds the traditional values of respect for nature, sharing, knowledge of language, cooperation, family and kinship, love and respect for our elders and one another, humor, hunting traditions, compassion, humility, avoidance of conflict, and spirituality in all of its endeavors.
The self-determination movement that swept across American Indian communities in the late 1960s and early 1970s also reverberated among Alaska Native communities. The Inupiat people formed North Slope Borough, a home-rule government, in 1972 to oversee the transition of the North Slope Borough from small subsistence communities into modern villages. Leaders viewed developing a post-secondary educational system as integral to their self-determination efforts.
The North Slope Borough’s dreams of creating a culturally appropriate and culturally responsive higher education institution materialized first with the creation of the North Slope Higher Education Center. The Center, created in tandem with University of Alaska Fairbanks, later became Arctic Sivunmun Ilisagvik College. Since the early 1990’s, the college’s emphasis upon vocational education and job readiness programming resulted in greater public-private partnerships and the expansion of facilities and resources.
In 1995, the North Slope Borough established the Ilisagvik College Corporation, an independent, public, non-profit corporation. IC earned accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities in 2003. In 2006, it became the first and only federally recognized tribal college in Alaska.
Geographic Features and Challenges
IC serves the residents of the North Slope Borough, America’s largest and most northern municipality. The college is located in Barrow, Alaska that is the largest city in the North Slope with a population of just over 4,000.
With a service area that includes over 89,000 square miles of Arctic tundra region, the college is the only tribal college within the boundaries of the Arctic Slope. The region is ice-locked nine months of each year and not connected by road or rail.
Academics and Students
As the only tribal college in the North Slope Borough, enrollment at IC has increased steadily since 2006. That year, 203 students enrolled. By fall 2010, enrollment hovered near 300 students. The number of certificates and degrees bestowed increased during that time. In 2006-2007, Ilisagvik College awarded five associate’s degrees. In 2010, the college conferred 44 certificates and six associate’s degrees.
Eighty-four percent of students pursue their studies full-time, two-thirds of the student body members are female, and 53 percent of students identify as Alaska Native or American Indian. Fifteen full-time and 38 part-time faculty members teach courses in the college’s 34 certificate programs, three associate’s of arts degree programs, one associate’s of science degree, and 11 associate’s of applied science degree programs.
Other Outstanding Accomplishments
In 2011, the American Indian College Fund selected the college as one of four tribal colleges to pilot its Wakanyeja (Sacred Little Ones) Early Childhood Education Initiative. Under the initiative, IC stands eligible to receive up to $800,000 over four years to design its early childhood education program.