9169 Coors NW
Albuquerque, NM 87184
Mission, Vision, Educational Philosophy
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) is a national Indian community college that prepares Native American students to be productive lifelong learners as tribal members in an ever-changing global environment. As a Land Grant Institution, SIPI partners with tribes, employers, and other organizations with a stake in Indian education. An enduring commitment to student success is the hallmark of SIPI’s operations.
SIPI strives to solidify its position as a preeminent higher learning institution, providing a range of career and transfer opportunities for Native learners in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Institutional goals include prioritizing learning success as its core work, implementing programs and partnerships that address the needs of Indian tribes in a changing world, and expanding the use of instructional technology to enhance student learning, among others.
The All Indian Pueblo Council initiated the founding of SIPI as part of its vision for a school that would serve the Native American community. In 1971, the college officially opened as a federally-chartered tribal college, receiving funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and governed by a nationally-representative board of trustees. SIPI received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges in 1975. The HLC changed SIPI’s accreditation to candidate status in 2010.
When federal budget cuts threatened SIPI operations in the early 1980s, a widespread public outpouring of support resulted in a Congressional mandate for continued funding of SIPI’s operations. In August 1993, SIPI achieved community college status and changed its mission and focus to become a community college with the ability to offer transfer degree programs in STEM fields.
Geographic Features and Challenges
SIPI is located in Albuquerque, the center of New Mexico's high-tech corridor. The area is home to the state’s major research universities, Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, and regional headquarters of employers Intel, Phillips and other smaller high technology companies.
New Mexico, home to 19 pueblos and three reservations, has one of the largest American Indian populations of any state in the nation. SIPI’s central location allows it to attract students and collaborative partners from across the region. SIPI has access to the largest collection of BIA field support offices in the country, major Indian health facilities, an on-campus clinic, an international airport, and the largest professional and technical work-force within a 500 mile radius.
SIPI attracts students from across the nation with more than 120 tribes represented by students today.
Academics and Students
SIPI’s core staff of 16 full-time faculty members provides instruction in nine certificate programs, 15 associates’ of applied science programs, three associates’ of science programs and two associates’ of art degree programs.
Demographic indicators reflect the fact that SIPIs students resemble students at mainstream universities, in that they are young and full-time students. Fifty-six percent of students are 24 years or younger and 89 percent enroll full-time. One hundred percent of the student body identifies as Native American, and the male students nearly equal female students.
While a slightly less number of students enrolled in 2010 than in 2006—at 531 and 561 students respectively—SIPI successfully graduated more students with associates’ degrees in 2010. In the 2006-2007 academic year SIPI awarded 56 associates’ degrees; in the 2009-2010 academic year 71 associates’ degrees were awarded.
Upon graduation, SIPI students who have completed their general education core requirements may transfer those credits to any other New Mexico public institution thanks to an agreement with the state’s higher education board. Students similarly benefit from SIPIs adherence to Statewide Business Articulation Committee standards that provide students with two-year degrees in Business that transfer to other New Mexico colleges and universities.
Regional mainstream institutions agreed to continue articulation agreements and partnerships with SIPI even while the college is in “candidacy status” under the Higher Learning Commission.
Other Outstanding Accomplishments
SIPI has gained strong support from national institutions like National Science Foundation, NASA, and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation over the years. In 2010, Washington Monthly ranked SIPI as the 35th best community college in the nation.
The college invested significant resources recently in new facilities that include a state-of the-art Science and Technology Center, new residence halls and an early childhood learning center.