Strategic Plan (2010-2017)

Mission Statement

Through education, Northwest Indian College promotes indigenous self-determination and knowledge.

* NWIC’s Mission Statement was approved by the College’s Board of Trustees in July, 2004.

Purpose Statement

NWIC’s purpose is fulfilled by providing on-reservation educational opportunities, including academic, vocational, adult, continuing, cultural, recreational, and in-service education leading to appropriate certificates and degrees (undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degrees when such degree programs are accredited) in accordance with the needs of individual tribal communities.

Lummi Beliefs


Our strength comes from the old people. From them we receive our teachings and knowledge and the advice we need for our daily lives.


We are responsible to protect our territory. This means that we take care of our land and the water and everything that is on it and in it.


Our culture is our language. We should strengthen and maintain our language.


We take care of ourselves, watch out for ourselves and love and take care of each other.

Core Themes

The strategic directions and strategies lead to the action desired by the College to meet its mission.

Through a series of retreat activities, campus-wide planning sessions, focus groups, surveys and community needs assessments, NWIC’s institutional community examined the college’s mission, vision and purposes to identify academic and program priorities as part of its ongoing Strategic Planning Process. Through the development and establishment of core themes, goals and objectives, the college strives to take a more structured approach to work more effectively in the diverse tribal communities and service communities that we serve.

For the 2010-2017 Strategic Planning Process, NWIC has identified the following Core Themes*:

  1. Engage indigenous knowledge
  2. Commitment to student success
  3. Access to higher education opportunities at all levels for tribal communities
  4. Advance place-based community education and outreach

* NWIC’s Core Themes were approved by the College’s Board of Trustees in November, 2004.

Core Theme 1: Engage indigenous knowledge

Goal 1: NWIC promotes student self-identity through the tribal college experience

Objective 1: Increase student satisfaction with the tribal college experience

Objective 2: Ensure cultural content in courses support students’ self- identity and indigenous knowledge

Goal 2: Indigenous knowledge is the foundation for all programs of study

Objective 1: Develop and cultivate a body of knowledge that supports curriculum, including the NWIC requirements, general education and core Native Studies courses

Objective 2: Support four-year degree programs with culturally- competent core Native faculty

Objective 3: Support high-quality student learning with culturally- competent faculty

Objective 4: Native language is foundational for all students’ learning

Goal 3: NWIC actively engages faculty and students in research and scholarship in support of the college’s mission and programs

Objective 1: Increase the indigenous body of knowledge through a supportive environment for scholarships and research

Objective 2: Increase capacity for research and scholarships, particularly among students and Native scholars

Objective 3: Publish and disseminate research

Core Theme 2: Commitment to student success

Goal 4: NWIC prepares students to be successful at the associate, baccalaureate and graduate levels

Objective 1: Enhance the teaching and learning experience through curriculum design that is relevant and current

Objective 2: Demonstrate that co-curricular outcomes and activities support students’ growth and development appropriate to a four-year college

Goal 5: NWIC promotes student success in college-level courses through the First Year Experience program, especially for first generation and low-income students

Objective 1: Build a community of learners that persists in accomplishing each student’s educational goals

Objective 2: Successfully transition program-of-study students from developmental education and First Year Experience core courses to program of study courses

Objective 3: Promote Native leadership through exploration of self and tribal identity, connection to place, and civic responsibility

Core Theme 3: Access to higher education opportunities at all levels for tribal communities

Goal 6: NWIC offers career and workforce opportunities in response to community and individual needs

Objective 1: Offer high-quality workforce programs that support employment opportunities

Objective 2: Develop career ladders articulated with associate and baccalaureate degree programs

Goal 7: NWIC provides access to and opportunities for engagement in the tribal college experience at all entry points

Objective 1: Remove barriers to student success at all entry points

Goal 8: NWIC increases access to program of study courses through distance education modalities and site-based services

Objective 1: Provide quality educational programming, especially for rural tribal communities

Core Theme 4: Advance place-based community education and outreach

Goal 9: NWIC promotes healthy living and nutrition, leadership and financial security

Objective 1: Increase professional development and community education offerings that are supportive of tribal community and individual priorities and training needs

Objective 2: Conduct research and product development associated with current and new curriculum and training projects

Objective 3: Increase opportunity for leadership development throughout the NWIC service area

Goal 10: NWIC promotes Land Grant programming that builds institutional and community capacity in the marine sciences, aquaculture and natural resources

Objective 1:  Implement National Indian Center for Marine Environmental Research and Education (NICMERE) Memorandums of Understanding with partners

Objective 2: Development of the Salish Sea Institute as an overarching institutional approach to natural resource and aquaculture programming

Objective 3: Provide education, training and workforce development opportunities that support the stewardship and management of natural resources through collaboration among the Salish Sea Institute, NWIC Continuing Education and Workforce Training offices

Cooperative Extension

NWIC Cooperative Extension’s community programs provide informal, culturally-based educational programs and services that meet Native Americans’ unique needs in many formats and locations. The Extension Building will enable the college to address the expanding need for tribal community education, such as: diabetes prevention; financial literacy; individual and family wellness; youth development; revitalization of traditional culture; job readiness, and; professional development.

Coast Salish Institute

Northwest Indian College enhances the living values of tribal communities and brings traditional ways into living contact with contemporary society. The Coast Salish Institute preserves and revitalizes Coast Salish culture, while honoring individual Native cultures, languages, history and traditions. The Institute is a model for tribal teaching and research and will serve as the heart of NWIC’s Native Studies Degree Program. The Institute’s research focuses on the preservation of Native languages, sacred site identification, cultural mapping, family history and genealogy work, and the examination of how traditional ways of life have been influenced by treaty rights, sovereignty, federalism, colonialism, self-determination, and self-governance.