Planning Workshop for a Regional Native American Graduate Research Center
This workshop is focused on exploring the feasibility of a Regional Native American Graduate Research Center. The workshop will engage a diverse group of stakeholders in Native American education, training, and research from the Northwest region, and from the broader U.S. Participants in this collaborative process will include leaders from Native American tribes and inter-tribal organizations in the Northwest, representatives from Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU) across the western U.S., representatives from NSF-sponsored Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) projects, and administrators and faculty from the University of Idaho (UI) and other majority institutions in the western U.S. that have strong Native American programs.
The workshop will explore creative, original, and potentially transformative concepts that could, in the long term, become a model for Native American graduate education, improving STEM degree attainment and strengthening the workforce. A goal of the workshop is to create a consensus vision for a magnet center for Native American graduate students to engage in research relevant to their cultural backgrounds and interests. Such an interdisciplinary center would feature research opportunities in natural resources, health, education, law and policy, and economics. On the education side, such a center would develop holistic curricula that reflect the integrated world view of Native Americans, such as forest science in the context of ecosystems, with relation to tribal health, lifestyle, law and policy.
Workshop topics will include discussion on the needs of each tribe represented; discussion with the TCUs represented on what has been successful with graduating their students in STEM fields, and discussion on best practices for transitioning baccalaureate STEM graduates into graduate degree programs; discussion on research opportunities, their relevance to tribal needs, and identification of natural partners; presentation by Native American graduate students from various institutions on what has and has not worked, and what a center could do for them and their successors; a culture discussion on how a center could transform the experience of Native American graduate students; an education discussion on integration within existing curricula and new curricula; and discussion on follow-on activities, including exploration into sources of funding for a center. Discussions will be led by a facilitator, and the workshop will include an evaluation component. A final report will assimilate information from the workshop and follow-on activities, and is expected to include an initial roadmap for a center and identification of potential funding sources.