University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County's Reach Out program
is forging links to Ho-Chunk students, who are historically underserved
by higher education.
really want to expand the diversity base," said Jeff Meece,
UW-Marshfield student services director. "We've been looking
at what group of Wisconsin residents we haven't been properly serving,
and we looked at the Native American population."
fall, the Marshfield campus had 625 white students, six Hispanics,
three Asians, two American Indians and one black.
field research of Ho-Chunk sites, the Ho-Chunks would both learn
and share their culture with other students and staff who are not
American Indians, said Woodrow White, director of the Ho-Chunk nation
classroom diversity also could benefit students beyond the understanding
of course material, said Julie Tharp, UW-Marshfield associate professor
too often, diversity gets silenced because people are afraid to
speak up if they're different from the main group," Tharp said.
"If everyone is speaking their mind, a broad range of world
views and belief systems and thought processes enriches everyone's
of their proximity and the group's desire for help in higher education
enrollment, the campus began working with the Ho-Chunk Nation in
Black River Falls, Meece said.
the conversation came from the Ho-Chunk nation to UW College System
saying, 'We have some needs here, how could you help us?,'"
he said. "We happened to be in the right place in the right
the Ho-Chunk Nation, an American Indian tribe of 6,100 members,
this recruitment combines with an already active internal education
work with each and every member throughout high school," White
said. "We're now even tracking people through middle school.
We're saying, 'Hey, start thinking about a career and about the
type of work you want to do."
the past six months, Ho-Chunk members have met with top administrators
at UW-Marshfield and other university representatives who work with
minorities to discuss recruitment ideas, White said.
exploring summer programs and programs that would be ongoing throughout
the year," White said. "In the summer, students could
take a precollege program to prepare in writing areas and research
areas. They could do some class shadowing throughout the year to
hook up with those already going."
lack of diversity in the classroom reflects the percentage of minorities
in the general population, but a problem still exists, said Tharp.
have a lot fewer minority students that are moving on to college
and who are adequately prepared for it," she said.
said the cause might be inadequate funding, large class sizes that
allow little individual attention, or infrastructure problems. To
increase diversity, the entire UW System has become involved.
UW System is currently involved in similar recruiting efforts, whether
targeting Native American, African-American, Latino, or Asian-American
students," Meece said.
Ho-Chunk high schoolers continue to seek higher education, though
it might be their parents who come to Marshfield.
Marshfield, we're going after nontraditional students," White
lot of parents are enrolling. They don't see why they shouldn't
be going nowadays. The doors are open, and I think that this type
of student enrollment will grow over the next two to five years."
a huge population of adult students who have not been offered an
opportunity, and that's another group we're really looking at,"
Ho-Chunk are also called the People of the Big Voice or People
of the Sacred Language.
French explorers named the Ho-Chunks the Winnebago Tribe.
are about 6,100 tribal members, a majority of whom live in west
central Wisconsin, where the tribe owns 5,400 acres of land.
Ho-Chunks valued tobacco so highly legend has the Creator bestowing
tobacco on man to offer when making requests.