UNLV’s Harrah College of Hospitality is proud to host the 2022 summer meeting of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) Board of Directors July 13-15.
The AIHEC Board of Directors is comprised of the presidents of the nation’s 35 Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), which provide quality, affordable higher education and guide public policy on American Indian and Alaska Native higher education issues. The upcoming AIHEC board meeting, held at UNLV’s Hospitality Hall, marks the group’s first formal gathering in Las Vegas.
“We are honored to share our campus with the AIHEC for its summer meeting,” said UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield. “For 50 years, the AIHEC and its member institutions have been dedicated to lifting up sovereign nations through education. This meeting celebrates their inspiring legacy and provides the opportunity to explore potential partnerships that could both advance tribal education and also strengthen our support for UNLV’s Native students, staff, and faculty.”
Kicking off the AIHEC’s visit to Las Vegas is a July 13 welcome reception hosted by the Hospitality College. The event will give TCU presidents and UNLV leadership the opportunity to discuss shared research interests as well as potential cooperative projects. The AIHEC will spend the next two days in meetings at Hospitality Hall and then cap off their visit with training at the Palms Casino Resort, which is now owned and operated by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
The AIHEC’s visit to UNLV occurs at a pivotal time for the university. Identified as the nation’s most diverse university for undergraduates by U.S. News and World Report, UNLV is focused on serving traditionally underrepresented student groups, with a growing emphasis on enhancing support for Native American students. In addition to increasing resources for Native student outreach and recruitment, UNLV has launched a Tribal Education Initiative centered on specialized programming in tribal law and gaming operations. Funded by a $9 million gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in 2020, the initiative aims to give students the knowledge to excel in top-level professional positions throughout the tribal gaming industry.
Harrah College of Hospitality dean Stowe Shoemaker is scheduled to meet with TCU representatives overseeing recruitment, curriculum development and enrollment at AIHEC’s annual student affairs meeting July 24 at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana.
“It is imperative we work with the nation’s tribes to refine the goals, scope and format of our Tribal Education Initiative to make sure the university is addressing the unique educational needs of tribal communities,” said Shoemaker.