Native American Program for Student Success (NAPSS)

Native American Program for Student Success (NAPSS)

NAPSS began in April 2020 and concluded in December 2020. The purpose of NAPSS is to improve the outreach efforts and retention and graduation rates for all.  Native American students at SSU. NAPSS will develop a student-led and staff-structured program to provide student mentoring, academic support, identity development, and community engagement (on and off campus) in conjunction with the existing co-curricular programming through SSU’s Native American Studies (NAMS) Department. NAPSS will support academic success and retention of students utilizing local tribal wisdom and guidance as well as intentional and bold approaches shaped by student needs, community scholarship, and the need f or strategic outreach to local Native American students.

Importance/impact 

  1. Provide a community of support for Native American Students at SSU consistent with their traditional cultural values and beliefs.
  2. Create a culture that invests in the academic journey of Native Peoples by providing a space that encourages student development, campus and community collaborations, and ultimately higher graduation rates with opportunities f or professional advancement.
  3. Provide equal educational opportunities for Native American students to amplify Native and Indigenous voices on campus making SSU a more culturally relevant space and ensuring that
  4. Resources are equally distributed to current and prospective Native American students.
  5. Strengthen collaboration and partnerships with faculty, staff, high schools (partnering with Sonoma County Office of Education), junior colleges, and our local community to empower Native American students to transform our service area partnerships with tribal governments, American Indian community organizations, and SSU alumni.

Plan 

  • Hire and train 1-2 Native American Student Mentor(s) (NASM). NASMs (preferably experienced Juniors/Seniors) will provide positive representation for Native students and will serve as liaisons for/with the Native American student groups and student services departments.
  • Hire and train 1 part-time Student Assistant dedicated to work in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). This student will assist with the development of a mentorship program with the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (FIGR) and other local organizations that support Native American/Indigenous students.
  • Develop collaborative partnerships with FIGR, local high schools and Junior College student organizations, representatives from local Native American organizations (such as the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, National Indian Justice Center, and the Sonoma County Indian Health Project) and SSU alumni.
  • Host the “Native Fest” program to celebrate the Native American & Indigenous culture with food, music, and dance. This program will highlight local Native communities and allies to connect and bring awareness to resources and educational opportunities. Native Fest will bring together Native American students, staff, and faculty at SSU with Native community partners and members.
  • NASMs will be employed during Summer Bridge (SB). NASMs will be a resource to Native American students attending SB. The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (FIGR) are active partners in the expansion of SB student services for Native students.
  • NASMs will support student engagement, community building, and event coordination.

For more information please email Tramaine Austin-Dillon, austindi@sonoma.edu.