Creating a GIS Certificate Program & Expanding the Geospatial Curriculum at the Salish Kootenai College

PI: Robert Kenning, Department of Natural Resources, Salish Kootenai College
CO-PI: Richard Everett, Department of Natural Resources, Salish Kootenai College

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 Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry. SKC wishes 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. A certificate in GIS would give SKC graduates an extremely valuable tool when entering the job market; returning alumni echo the importance of offering advanced geospatial skills to our current students. The additional training involved in a GIS certificate would increase the geospatial proficiency of numerous individuals in Montana's workforce.

We have hoped to expand current geospatial course offerings into a certificate program-and are close to that goal-yet our ability is limited by 1: the number of computer labs with GIS software licenses (one), and 2: the number of geospatial courses we offer (until this year, limited by faculty size). With this project, we propose to develop the first GIS certificate at a Montana Tribal College. This will involve equipping an additional student computer lab with GIS, and supporting the lab by funding students as tutors, teaching assistants, and lab monitors. We will also take advantage of our three new faculty members and create two new remote sensing & applied GIS courses-thus enabling SKC to offer an 18-credit GIS certificate program.


Contact Information

Mail: Robert Kenning
Department of Natural Resources
Salish Kootenai College
Pablo, MT 59855
E-mail: Robert Kenning
Phone: (406) 275-4809

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Updated September 19, 2014