Chancellor Kyle R. Carter invited the Lumbee Tribal Council to work with UNC Pembroke to increase the number of American Indian high school graduates who attend college.
From left: Chair Sharon Hunt, Sarah Carter, Chancelor Kyle R. Carter and Speaker Steve Sampson
Chancellor Carter and a contingent from UNCP were invited guests of the Tribal Council at its regular monthly meeting on October 20. In a State of the University message, Dr. Carter asked the 21-member council to join him in talks at a joint advisory committee between the tribe and the university.
“At UNC Pembroke, we know where we come from,” he said, invoking the university’s founding as an American Indian-serving institution. “I assure you we are doing our best to continue the historic mission to provide educational opportunities so people can improve the quality of their lives.”
Chancellor Carter updated the council on new academic programs in the pipeline, including construction management, nutrition and diabetes, master’s of nursing and physical therapy. He said the university is working to tailor new program selections to serve the specific needs of the region.
With Chancellor Carter were Dr. Ken Kitts, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs; Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor for Student Affairs; Jackie Clark, vice chancellor for Enrollment Management; Joshua Malcolm, university counsel; Dr. Robert Orr, associate vice chancellor for Information Technology; Dr. Olivia Oxendine, chair of the new UNCP-Lumbee Tribe Collaborative; Morgan Warriax, assistant director of Admissions and Sarah Carter, the chancellor’s wife.
On the subject of recruiting American Indian students, Chancellor Carter was emphatic. “I know you are interested in UNCP’s service to the Lumbee Tribe,” he said. “We are doing well at UNCP, but frankly, we don’t have enough American Indians going to college. We need to work together to keep students in school and encourage them to attend college.”
As a case in point, Dr. Carter pointed out that approximately 1,300 American Indian students graduate from high school in North Carolina annually, but fewer than 30 percent of those graduates, about 400, attend college.
“There is great competition for these students,” Dr. Carter continued. “We are targeting high schools with large American Indian populations and aggressively recruiting them.
“We’ve hired Morgan Warriax (a former employee of the Lumbee tribe) as assistant director of admissions specifically to recruit American Indian students,” he continued.
In the question and answer period that followed, Hunt spoke to the gathering. “I am visiting the local high schools twice a month,” she said. “I am talking with juniors and seniors and their parents about attending UNCP. But I’ll talk to any age group. Yesterday, I had a conversation about attending college with a fifth grader.”
Chancellor Carter encouraged the council to work with the university to create more college students. “We need to keep these kids from dropping out,” he said. “Together, UNCP and the tribe can work on this issue.”
Chancellor Carter also touted UNCP’s national role in educating American Indians. “UNCP is a national player in the education of American Indians,” he said. “We rank 8th nationally for the number of American Indians receiving bachelor’s degrees, and we’re number one in the east.”
In specific disciplines, UNCP’s numbers are even more impressive, ranking number one nationally for the number of American Indian graduates in social sciences, 2nd for biological and biomedical science graduates, 6th in health professions and 13th for registered nurses, according to the most recent survey by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine.
“While we are doing well, we’re not satisfied,” Chancellor Carter said. “We started a relationship with the Lumbee tribe several months ago,” he said. “We’d like to talk about how we can work together.”
Chancellor Carter answered several questions and concluded by inviting the council to the kick off of UNCP’s 125th anniversary celebration in March 2012.