Nicolet Receives $350,000 Grant from Lumina Foundation


Nicolet College has been awarded a $350,000 grant from Lumina Foundation to build clearer pathways to degrees and other credentials for adults, especially for people of color and Native learners. Lumina’s All Learning Counts initiative will support Nicolet to ensure that knowledge, skills, and abilities gained outside of formal higher education—through work, military, and other experiences—can be recognized and applied toward programs leading to credentials of value.

Nicolet received one of nine grants awarded nationwide from a pool of 78 applicants. Other recipients include: District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund, Mi Casa Resource Center, Minnesota State, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, SUNY Empire State College, the University of Maine System, the University of Wisconsin System, and Virginia Community College System.

Nicolet was awarded the grant to increase the post-secondary educational attainment of American Indians in Wisconsin. According to Lumina’s Stronger Nation report for Wisconsin, in 2018 the post-secondary credential attainment for Wisconsin residents was 48.4%; and the rate for American Indians in Wisconsin was 25.5%. One of the significant barriers to increasing education attainment beyond high school is the lack of cultural relevance to indigenous people in the typical post-secondary curriculum.

“Through All Learning Counts, we are recognizing exemplars who want to ensure many more Americans will have skills they need to thrive by earning college degrees, certificates, and industry certifications,” said Haley Glover, the Lumina strategy director who will oversee the grant program. “We need to think in new ways about the recognition of learning after high school. We must see that all college-level learning, regardless of how and where it is gained, can be applied toward meaningful post-high school credentials.”

Nicolet partnered with the Wisconsin Indian Education Association to create the The Many Ways of Knowing: American Indian Culture Competencies for Community College Career Pathways project proposal.

“The project will design curriculum that reflects American Indian cultural competencies across liberal arts and general education courses,” said Susie Crazy Thunder, Nicolet tribal outreach coordinator. “It will also create a methodology for recognizing indigenous community learning and knowledge toward increasing the number of tribal members qualified to teach American Indian Studies curriculum.”

The project will also develop a framework and criteria for recognizing and awarding credit for prior learning and experience to students for competencies in American Indian language and culture.

About Lumina Foundation

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. The foundation envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Lumina’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.