Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM


HARBOR, Jon1, GIBSON, Barbara2, BUENO WATTS, Nievita3 and RIDGWAY, Kenneth D.1, (1)Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University, 550 Stadium Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (2)Purdue University, 550 Stadium Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (3)Institute of Environmental Health, Oregon Health & Science University, Mail Code HRC3, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97239-3098,

Purdue University is a large, comprehensive, research-intensive (RI), land grant, university in rural Indiana. Geosciences at Purdue is housed in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, which has 40 faculty, 200 majors and graduate students, and large research and non-major teaching programs. Over the past decade several native and non-native faculty and staff in our department have worked on building mutually beneficial collaborations with tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), both individually and as part of larger university and multi-college/university efforts. These collaborations include a focus on:
  • Providing rich and authentic research and cultural experiences for students and faculty at both institutions
  • Projects that focus on issues that are important to the TCU communities
  • Skills and knowledge that will equip students to contribute meaningfully to their communities and to be successful as scientists
  • Building pathways and a supportive community for students interested in graduate work after their TCU experience

Although not all of the efforts have been successful, these initiatives have resulted in invaluable research experiences for TCU and RI students, student presentations and publications, native students transitioning successfully to graduate programs, faculty development, and external funding from agencies and donors.

Working with TCUs has similarities and differences to working with RI collaborators. A focus on identifying and meeting the needs of all collaborators is essential in building any sustainable relationship, as are open communications and shared goals. Working with TCUs has involved building key trust relationships, working on extended timescales, high levels of flexibility, and recognition of both the exceptional resources of TCUs and their differences from RIs in funding, staff and faculty demands on time for teaching, research and mentoring. Historically, RI faculty have more experience with developing programs between institutions and with large grants, and occasionally find it challenging to adjust to a slower, more thoughtful pace. Although we still have a long way to go, our experience and the lessons we are learning on this journey have been fundamental to the growth and increased success of our partnerships.