Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College
111 Bear Town Road
PO Box 519
Baraga, MI 49908
Mission, Vision, Educational Philosophy
The mission of Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College (KBOCC) is to provide post-secondary education rich in Ojibwa culture, tradition and beliefs to support life-long learning. It serves as the principle higher educational institution for the L’Anse Indian Reservation and surrounding communities by providing quality academic programs rich in Ojibwa culture that empower students to fulfill their dreams of a superior education.
Consistent with its mission, Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College sets forth these purposes:
• Promote and preserve the Ojibwa culture by offering courses in Ojibwa language, history, and culture and an array of cultural activities;
• Provide educational opportunities leading to certificates and associate’s degrees;
• Encourage and prepare students to pursue advanced degrees;
• Offer assistance for transfer to four-year colleges or universities;
• Provide occupational/career programs for employment opportunities in tribal organizations, governmental agencies, and the private sector;
• Provide instruction for students who desire to upgrade or enhance their skills;
• Provide community educational programs that meet the changing needs of the Keweenaw Bay Indian community and surrounding area;
• Prepare and encourage students through guidance, advising, and counseling to meet their personal, academic, and career aspirations; and
• Offer students job placement assistance.
The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community chartered KBOCC in July 1975 as a non-profit educational corporation. The corporation possessed authority to create post-secondary education and to regulate higher education on the L'Anse Indian Reservation. The college closed between 1980 and 1998, but reopened in fall of 1998.
KBOCC became a candidate for accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 2009. The Bureau of Indian Education and Bureau of Indian Affairs conducted a site visit in April 2010 and recommended the college for approval as a Tribally Controlled Community College/University. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education approved the college’s application for Title IV federal student aid programs.
Geographic Features and Challenges
KBOCC is located on the L’Anse Indian Reservation in Baraga County, Michigan, on the southern shore of Lake Superior. The reservation’s population totals approximately 1,100 tribal members. The nearest metropolitan area is 140 miles away, and the severe winter weather further isolates the community. The college plays an important role in providing educational opportunities for its local citizens, who would otherwise have to travel more than 70 miles to the university. Due to the isolation and lack of significant resources, the college has difficulty in attracting qualified faculty and staff.
Academics and Students
KBOCC offers two programs offering associate of arts degrees, one associate of applied science programs, and one associate of science degree program. Transfer credit agreements exist between Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College and Finlandia University, Michigan Technological University, and Northern Michigan University.
In the 2009-2010 academic year 101 students enrolled at KBOCC. Of these, 12 percent pursued their studies full time, with the remainder either enrolling as part-time students or as not yet degree seeking enrichment students. Eighty-three percent of students were Native American, and 82 percent were female students. In 2010, two students received associate’s degrees, four transferred to four-year institutions, and one transferred to a two-year institution.
Other Outstanding Accomplishments
The college library, with its 4,000 books, magazines, newspapers and special Native American resources, serves as a valuable resource treasured by the entire local Ojibwa community.
The college’s Niiwin Akeaa (Four Directions) Center similarly houses administrative and faculty offices, classrooms, computer lab, GIS lab, and also a fitness center that is open to the community.