Salish Kootenai College
58138 US Highway 93
Mission, Vision, Educational Philosophy
To fulfill its mission, SKC pursues several institutional goals. These include assisting with the preservation of the cultures, languages, histories, and natural environment of the Salish, Pend d`Oreille, and Kootenai people, providing diverse post-secondary opportunities for learners at all levels, promoting effective communication, critical thinking, cultural understanding, and citizenship within its students, and assisting with tribal economic development, to name a few.
With the passage of the Tribally Controlled Community College Assistance Act in 1978, the college accessed a stable funding base that allowed for both expansion of services and independence from FVCC. In 1981, the college separated from FVCC and formally renamed itself Salish Kootenai College. In 1984, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accredited SKC, making it the first tribal college in the Northwest to accomplish the goal.
By its tenth year, SKC not only operated a six-building campus in Pablo, but it offered 310 courses to 540 full-time students. In 1994, the college received both Land Grant status and renewed accreditation. Since then, the campus rapidly expanded and enrollment climbed.
Most recently, SKC entered into a new chapter of its institutional history with the retirement of long-time college president Dr. Joe MacDonald after more than 30 years of service to the college.
Geographic Features and Challenges
Northwestern Montana experiences some of the harshest winters in the United States. Because its service area covers the mountainous and expansive 2,000-square mile reservation, the college benefits greatly from its ability to offer on-campus housing to SKC students. Still, demand exceeds available housing particularly for students with families, leaving many students with the arduous task of securing reliable transportation to and from class each day.
In addition to its main campus on the Flathead Reservation, SKC offers classes at satellite locations in Washington on the Colville and Spokane Reservations and in Spokane.
Academics and Students
Nearly 1,200 students enroll at SKC each fall. The college faculty comprised of 76 full-time faculty members and 41 part-time faculty members teaches 10 bachelors’ of science degree programs, three bachelors’ of arts degree programs, five associates’ of arts degree programs, seven associates’ of science degree programs, three associates’ of applied science degree programs, and five certificate of completion programs.
In the 2006-2007 academic year, SKC conferred 60 associates’ degrees and 17 bachelors’ degrees. In spring 2010, 60 students earned associates’ degrees, while 37 students earned bachelors’ degrees.
Other Outstanding Accomplishments
As outside investment grows, so does the college’s ability to provide community programming to the reservation. The college owns and operates its own television station. SKC oversees the HeartLines Project that develops tribally-specific stories, histories, articles, and place-based knowledge for children, youth, and adults. Health services provided by the Center for Prevention and Wellness on Campus are open to community members. These programs, and others, exemplify SKC’s role as a true community institution.