Leech Lake Tribal College
6945 Little Wolf Road
PO Box 180
Cass Lake, MN 56633
Mission, Vision, Educational Philosophy
As its mission, Leech Lake Tribal College (LLTC) provides quality higher education grounded in Anishinaabe values. It endeavors to be recognized as a center of academic excellence that advances Anishinaabe worldviews and empowers lifelong learners to be fully engaged citizens, stewards, and leaders. The college further promotes the traditional core values of humility, truth, courage, honesty, respect, love and wisdom in all of its activities.
In accordance with its mission, LLTC pledges to prepare its students to exemplify leadership skills, acquire the ability to achieve personal and professional goals, articulate Anishinaabe values and worldview, problem solve, and inspire life-long learning, among other goals.
The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe established Leech Lake Tribal College in July 1990. LLTC offered extension courses from the University of Minnesota at Duluth, Bemidji State University, and Itasca and Brainerd Community Colleges for its first two years of operation. Leech Lake Tribal College began offering its own courses in 1992.
In 1993, the college graduated its first student with an Associate of Arts degree in Anishinaabe Language and Culture. LLTC received accreditation as a Vocational School in 1993. In 1994, the college received status as a Land Grant Institution.
The campus relocation to the former Cass Lake High School in 1994 resulted in a rapid increase in enrollment. Bolstered by increased enrollment and positive momentum, LLTC became a candidate for accreditation of its associate degree programs in 2002. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools bestowed full accreditation in April 2006, and renewed accreditation in 2011.
Geographic Features and Challenges
Leech Lake Tribal College is located on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in north central Minnesota. The reservation, or Gaa-zagaskwaajimekaag in the Ojibwe language, has the greatest population of residents in the state and is second only to the White Earth Reservation in size. The new LLTC campus was constructed in the shape of a Thunderbird to honor the college’s Thunderbird Learning Model.
Academics and Students
In Fall 2010, LLTC enrolled 235 students from the Leech Lake Indian Reservation and surrounding area, and employed approximately 27 faculty members along with additional staff and administrators.
Most students, 72 percent, pursue their studies full-time. In the 2009-2010 academic year, 83 percent of LLTC students identified as Native American, and 62 percent were female students.
LLTC students can pursue any of the college’s 10 programs of study: four associates' of arts degrees, one associate's of science degree, two associates' of applied science degrees, two diploma programs, and one certificate program. Recent years have witnessed a significant increase in the number of students graduating from these programs. In 2006, 15 students attained an associate degree. By 2010, the number of students earning their associate's degree had increased to 26.
Graduating students wishing to continue their education benefit from the college’s articulation agreements with Bemidji State University, Hibbing Community College, Metropolitan State University, and the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks.
Other Outstanding Accomplishments
Some of LLTC’s recent accomplishments include:
• In 2010, Washington Monthly recognized LLTC as one of “America’s 50 Best Community Colleges,” ranking it seventh best community college in the nation. LLTC was one of only two tribal community colleges to earn this recognition.
• The Institute for Higher Education Policy and the Walmart Foundation selected LLTC as one of 30 Walmart Minority Student Success institutions in the country. The highly competitive honor came with a $100,000 grant to enhance LLTC’s capacity to retain and graduate first-generation college students.
• The Higher Learning Commission recommended LLTC’s accreditation status be continued until 2020. They also recommended full accreditation for the college’s newest degree program, the associate's of science in natural science degree.