Bringing quality education to the Lakota People

Foundational Studies

Thedna Zimiga, Department Chair, email
William Young, Faculty, email
Grady Brunsch, Faculty, email
Dana Haug, Faculty, email


To provide outstanding instruction, service, resources and support to qualifying students in the areas of developmental math, reading and writing within a context of best-practice, and research-based-methodology.


Within the cultural context of Wolakolciciyapi and in a time efficient manner, the OLC Foundational Studies student will gain the abilities, strength and support to begin his/her college career, to persevere and succeed in his/her program of study, and to lead a fulfilling, productive life after college as a lifelong learner and contributing member of his/her society.


The purpose of the Foundational Studies program is to recruit, welcome and nurture students, to correctly place them in courses that suit their abilities, and to support them emotionally as we teach them study skills, math, reading and writing so that they will be capable of doing high quality college level work as soon as possible.

Over 90% of entering students at OLC need remediation before they can enroll in 100 level Math or English classes. Even before they enroll in college, these students are given the support (woawanyanke) necessary to help them succeed and develop into well-rounded, holistic, culturally rooted and contributing world citizens by the Foundational Studies Department.

Brief History

For many years OLC has offered development courses in reading, writing, and math resulting in the successful transfer of underprepared students into college level work. However, the institution recognized that more could be done to help students gain the necessary skills to take important and active roles in their communities. OLC has responded to that need.

During the 2005-2006 calendar year the administration of OLC determined to take a stronger approach to improving student success rates and retention. The Foundational Studies Department was formed, bringing committed developmental educators from assessment, humanities, and the math departments to begin training and researching ways to improve services to underprepared students entering our institution.

Included under the umbrella of Foundational Studies are developmental educators in both Reading/Writing and Math as well as TRIO, Student Support Services, and the GED program.

Be sure to browse the pages and get to know our faculty. We also offer many valuable tools for both faculty and students to learn how to improve student retention and success.