Expansion of Geospatial Science Curriculum at the Salish Kootenai College

PI: Dr. Adrian Leighton, Department of Natural Resources, Salish

The Salish Kootenai College is a leader in preparing Native American students for careers and graduate study in natural resources. SKC has offered a Bachelor in Science degree in Environmental Studies since 1994 and was the first tribal college to offer a Bechelor of Science degree in Forestry. SKC wished to continue to offer quality education opportunities through a relevant, up-to-date curriculum.

Remote sensing and geospatial science are rapidly becoming essential to long term, proactive natural resource management and have broad applications in many other fields. The U.S. Department of Labor, as well as the President�s High Growth Job Training Initiative, defines geospatial technology as one of 14 sectors of future high growth. SKC currently offers only one Geographic Information System (GIS) course; students, as well as the communities they move on to, would greatly benefit from the development of a more complete, up-to-date geospatial curriculum.

Last year, SKC received NASA-AIHEC grant monies to incorporate geospatial science curriculum into existing natural resource classes. We propose to build on this by expanding the geospatial program at SKC through development of additional courses, and offering independent-study opportunities for students in GIS and geospatial science. Specifically, the proposed curriculum improvement will involve faculty training, modification of an existing GIS course, creation of three new geospatial courses, and continued expansion of an independent-study program, which partners students with programs such as NASA-AIHEC Summer Research Experience.

Contact Information

Mail: Adrian Leighton
Department of Natural Resources
Salish Kootenai College
Pablo, MT 59855
E-mail: Adrian Leighton
Phone: (406) 275-4948

Montana Space Grant Home
Updated May 21, 2008