Sisseton Wahpeton College
BIA Rd 700, Agency Village
Mission, Vision, Educational Philosophy
SWC endeavors to provide quality instruction in all its programs, to encourage and support excellence in research, to promote public service activities that meet tribal and local needs and to implement comprehensive support services to ensure student and institutional success.
SWC celebrated its first graduating class in 1983, and pursued accreditation after receiving candidacy status from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. SWC received initial accreditation in 1990 and Land Grant Status in 1994. SWC, originally a vocational and technical school, added an increasing number of academic courses over the years. The college created the Institute for Dakota Studies in 1989 to teach, study, and preserve the tribe's unique history and traditions. The Center for Excellence in Dakota Language, established at SWC in 2005, works with the college's strong Dakota studies and Dakota Language programs to revitalize the Dakota language. The HLC renewed SWC’s accreditation in 2009.
Approximately one in five Sisseton residents and one in four of Sisseton’s children live below the poverty line. With its limited resources, SWC remains challenged to provide educational supports to this rurally-isolated and economically-stressed community that are ample enough to affect student employability and community job creation.
Transportation remains a formidable challenge for many SWC students. The college estimates that some students must travel 4,000 miles a semester to attend classes. For those students graduating and wishing to pursue a four-year degree, transportation continues to present a significant barrier. Currently, the closest four-year college is 45 miles away.
A faculty of 12 full-time members and 8 part-time members teach courses in 10 associates’ of arts degree programs, six associates’ of applied science degree programs, three associates’ of science degree programs, and four certificate programs. SWC graduates just over 20 students each year. The college has agreements with several four-year degree granting institutions that allow SWC students to take much of their course work at SWC or seamlessly matriculate to another institution. The agreement between SWC and Mount Marty College offers SWC students the opportunity to earn a baccalaureate degree in business and tribal governance, a one-of-a-kind program in the state.
Other Outstanding Accomplishments
The college has recently experienced a period of facilities expansion that includes the distinctive Song to the Great Spirit building, a new vocational education building.