Data Evaluation
and Research

“The Tribal Colleges and Universities of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium believe unique cultural connections exist between Indigenous peoples, their environments, and the world of those who came before.”

—graduate, Sitting Bull College

AIHEC believes that research conducted by, for, or in partnership with Tribal Colleges and Universities must honor, respect, and protect those attributes that distinguish Indigenous peoples and cultures – Tribal sovereignty, spirituality, native languages and practices, Tribal homelands, families and communities, the traditional knowledge of Tribal elders, and the hopes for generations to come.

AIHEC promotes the role of Tribal Colleges and Universities in defining and guiding scholarship that seeks knowledge.  AIHEC holds that such research should be conducted with integrity and in respectful, compassionate, and culturally appropriate ways.  Such research should further be conducted in an interdisciplinary fashion, as nothing is done in isolation, it is all related. 


Research Efforts

AIHEC’s Research Agenda

Research driven by the TCUs and the Tribal communities they serve is essential to achieving our vision and goal.

Our vision: Strong Sovereign Nations through Excellence in TRIBAL Higher Education.

Our goal: to build our own education systems founded on our ways of knowing, traditional knowledge, and spirituality.

Guiding Principles:

AIHEC Research Agenda

Attach PDF file:  AIHEC Research Agenda

Indigenous Evaluation Framework

The Indigenous Evaluation Framework provides a model for conducting research (and evaluation) that is responsive to local traditions and values, incorporates traditional ways of knowing and knowledge-building, while adopting non-traditional practices and methods as needed and appropriate.

The Framework identifies four core cultural values that influence approaches to evaluation in Indigenous communities:

Link: AIHEC Indigenous Evaluation Framework

AIHEC Research Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on TCU Student Experiences

In fall 2020, nearly 500 Tribal College and University (TCU) students participated in a study on the impact of the COVID-19 on their coursework and their daily lives. The survey results, published here for the first time, provide a valuable needs assessment tool and data to assist the TCUs and AIHEC in better meeting the needs of their students. The first study of its kind, the survey posed an array of questions focusing on persistence, online learning, and physical and mental well-being. The results underscore the far-reaching effects of the pandemic on TCUs, Native students, and their communities.

Link: Report on AIHEC Research Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on TCU Student Experiences, February 2021

AIHEC Lumina Foundation Postsecondary Student Success Secondary Research Study

Funded through a grant by the Lumina Foundation, AIHEC is engaged in research focusing on strategies for supporting American Indian/Alaska Native student postsecondary success. Through the completion of a literature review, AIHEC Pathway to Post Secondary Success for Native Students,  and interviews with TCU stakeholders, AIHEC is gathering information about factors that influence persistence, retention, and completion of American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) postsecondary students. This information will be used to develop a holistic framework of strategies designed to help ensure AI/AN student postsecondary success. The framework is not meant to replace existing success strategies; rather, it will provide guidance for optimizing postsecondary experiences and credentialing programs for AI/ANs at multiple levels, including institutions, Tribes, and state/federal governments.