The Power of Four: Enhancing Tribal Colleges and Universities with the Addition of the Baccalaureate Degree

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Higher Education Leadership EdD

Date of Award

Summer 2018


The purpose of this study was to identify the conditions and reasoning considered when adding 4-year baccalaureate degrees to the curricular offerings at tribal colleges and universities. The tribal college was modeled after the mainstream community college, which has traditionally provided higher education opportunities that are accessible, affordable, and responsive to the institution’s surrounding community. Tribal colleges provide similar services to their constituents while adding the additional ingredients of instruction that include native language, culture, support, and history within the associated tribe. This study employed a multicase qualitative design that included two tribal institutions representing different regions of the country and different Native American cultures and tribal organizations. In addition to the environmental factors that led to the initiation of the 4-year degree, the study also sought information in regards to which 4-year programs were offered and the perceived benefits to students, the institution, and the sponsoring tribe. Data collection methods used during this research included interviews, observations, and document collection. Using a multicase approach, the researcher believed that each institution had independent reasons for adding a 4-year degree program, while conceding that some generalization among the various institutions existed due to the similar goals of Native American higher education.


Jon E Travis

Subject Categories

Education | Higher Education