The Heritage University Native American student retention program titled Dream Catchers is designed to increase retention of Native American students by utilizing a bicultural model that focuses on culturally appropriate student support, which enhances the academic and personal successes of Native American students attending Heritage University.
Strategies for success include maintaining and enhancing community connections; providing transitional support; tutoring; study skills and ongoing mentoring; and academic, social, and cultural advisement. Since its inception, the program has been highly effective in retaining Native American students at Heritage University.
The dream catcher is a Native American artifact. Native Americans believe it funnels all good dreams through the center of the inner circle. These good dreams trail down the feathers to the dreamer who lies beneath. The webbing catches all bad dreams. Dawn’s sunlight melts away the bad dreams caught in the web.
The Heritage University Dream Catchers program creates support systems to catch negative influences that can prevent Native American students from reaching their dream of a university degree.
Expected student outcomes of the Dream Catchers program include:
- Student retention and academic achievement: Cultivation of relationships within the university community that support student retention and academic achievements, leading to degree attainment
- Academic Competence: Acquisition of critical academic skills that will facilitate the transition to university life; mentoring of incoming freshman provided by upper-division Native American students, faculty, and staff
- Acquisition of technology skills: Proficiency in multiple modes of technology and related skills necessary for success in an academic environment (e.g., word processing, e-mail, MyHeritage, etc.)
- Cross-cultural competencies: Understanding and appreciation of cultural differences, resulting in significant engagement with all cultures, including their own
For further information, please contact the Office of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs or the Academic Skills Center (ASC).