Bemidji State Connects to Provide Education to Rural Communities
A Bemidji State University-led consortium of higher education institutions has won a $500,000 grant from the U. S. Department of Agriculture to expand distance learning and telemedicine opportunities for rural northern Minnesota residents.
The grant will allow schools in the BSU-led Aazhoogan (Bridge) Consortium, which includes Northwest Technical College, Leech Lake Tribal College, Red Lake Nation College and White Earth Tribal and Community College, to build a network of high-definition video connections linking the five institutions. The Native colleges currently have no existing or functioning interactive distance learning equipment. The network will give students on those campuses access to industry-driven certification training, bachelor’s degrees and specialized associate’s degrees not available at their home colleges.
Dr. Anton Treuer, executive director of Bemidji State’s American Indian Resource Center, says the grant is part of a broader strategic initiative by members of the consortium to increase collaboration across a broad spectrum, including course delivery, sharing of institutional data, recruiting and retention, and improving students’ ability to transfer from the tribal colleges to Bemidji State or Northwest Tech.
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