Haskell officials hope the school's proposed elementary teacher program will begin a transformation for the university.
A month before a crucial evaluation by state education officials, faculty and staff at Haskell Indian Nations University are learning details of the school's new elementary school teacher-education program.
If approved by the Kansas State Board of Education, the program will be the first bachelor's degree program in the 110-year-old institution's history.
University officials hope the program will be operating next fall.
Ricky Robinson, acting program chairman, said he expects 15 to 20 students to enroll in third-year courses next fall, and about 25 students a year after that.
Admission will be based on applications submitted after students have completed at least three semesters of courses at Haskell.
Applicants with bachelor's degrees from other colleges will still have to take some courses designed specifically for the students at Haskell, a government-run college for American Indians. Those courses may include Contemporary Issues of American Indians, Indian Law and Legislation, Tribal/Federal Government Relations, and Indian Literature and Multicultural Story Telling.
Applicants must have a 2.5 college grade-point average and must pass a national teacher screening test.
Haskell's other programs lead to two-year junior college associate's degrees.
Haskell President Bob Martin and the school's board of regents have said they hope Haskell will evolve into a national center for Indian education and research.
In January, an evaluation team from the Kansas State Board of Education will spend three days at Haskell to determine whether the program should be provisionally approved for one year. A similar visit had been scheduled in October 1993. But Martin called off the meeting at the last minute, saying the program wasn't ready to be evaluated.
After 15 months of fine-tuning, with courses more thoroughly developed, Martin believes the program will win state approval.
"The Kansas state board was very kind to us when they asked us to put a few more bricks in place," said Henrietta Mann, a visiting faculty member and Haskell's acting dean of instruction.