Moving on

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LAWTON, OK – Dr. Colin Kim Winkelman, an Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, has spent the past four years directing the growth of Oklahoma’s first American Indian charter school – Comanche Nation College.

Confident he has accomplished what he set out to do, he has resigned as president of the college effective Dec. 12.

“I went there to help the Comanche Nation build out the first tribal college in Oklahoma. I built up their infrastructure, got them up and running grants, built up the programs and handled all the fiduciary responsibilities. The college’s allied health and nursing program now has their provisional accreditation and licensure. We are currently moving forward with our regional and national accreditation,” said Winkelman.

“I did some things I needed to do. But now I also need to turn this college back over to the Comanche Nation and let them put in their next president and move the college forward. It is time for me to go home,” he said.

Prior to accepting his current position at the college he served as the vice president for academics and instruction at the Oglala Lakota College in Pine Ridge.

Comanche Nation College was established in August 2002 offering curriculum at an Associate’s Degree level. Today enrollment has reached 200 American Indian students representing half a dozen Oklahoma tribes.

“I will continue to consult with the college and offer any help I can with questions they may have. I may very well come down and do workshops for faculty and in-services. I am basically now going back to my professorial chair.

Dr. Consuelo Lopez is the current vice president of academic affairs and student services and will serve as interim president from Dec. 13 to July 1, 2009.

“Dr. Lopez is a highly qualified professional educator. She will do wonderful as the interim acting president – she may even apply for the presidency. I have total confidence in her; there is no doubt in my mind she will do just fine,” he said.

“I think the important thing was to get this very embryonic young college up and running and institutionalized so they could move forward. That is what I was really doing for the past four years – building the college out – the infrastructure and all the things that really needed to be put in place before they could go for their accreditation with the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology. Comanche Nation I applaud your efforts for chartering the college – I am very proud to have been a part of all of this.”

With 28 years of teaching college courses and 15 years in administration, Winkelman said he plans to pursue some in-depth research for two books he plans to author – one on Indian education – the other on Indian law. “I may very well apply for a post doctoral fellowship in addition to teaching a few classes, doing research and a little consulting on the side.”

“I am glad to see the tribal college movement is still alive and well, and I wish all the tribal colleges the very best. Tribal colleges are a great experience – they are very unique schools and add to the diversity of America. It has been a great honor to have worked on this project and to have worked for the Comanche Nation. They are a great Indian Nation and I wish them well,” Winkelman said.

For more information about Comanche Nation College, visit www.cnc.cc.ok.us.