Leadership Fellows Are Learning from Mentors

Nov 15th, 2003 | By | Category: 15-2: Reclaiming Native Health, Tribal College News

LAUDED LEADERS.The Kellogg Leadership Fellows are (left to right) Phil Baird, Wannetta Bennett, Maggie Necefer, Charlene Teters, Venida Chenault, Patricia Brzezinski, Valerie Montoya, Ida Braveheart, and Devona Lone Wolf.

An innovative new program brought some of the nation’s most promising educational leaders to Washington, DC, for a week last summer to enhance their capability. The W.K. Kellogg Leadership Fellows Program builds mentoring relationships for a cohort of fellows from Minority Serving Institutions.

The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education then announced the 2003-2004 fellows for the three organizations: the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). Each of the three has its own distinct leadership program, which includes joint and individual workshops, seminars, and discussion groups during the academic year. In addition, the program matches each fellow with a mentor president who serves as a guide and resource.

Tribal college participants were enthusiastic about the first educational session of the year. “This energized me because by meeting all these folks with similar experiences, I was able to see what I do know and what I don’t know. I could see all those dots connecting,” said Ida Braveheart of Leech Lake Tribal College. Braveheart, a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, said, “At work, I am more focused now on what I need to know more about. It validated my commitment to education and to tribal colleges.”

Valerie Montoya (San Juan Pueblo), special programs administrator at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, said she was impressed by the presentations. “Five tribal college presidents shared in a personal way qualities necessary to be a successful president, including the ability to develop a vision, high level of integrity, and the tremendous commitment required. They discussed their personal battles to provide education with limited resources and the critical role that tribal colleges play in strengthening tribal communities.” She enjoyed building bridges with colleagues from other Minority Serving Institutions, most of whom live in urban areas.

The other tribal college fellows are: Phil Baird (Sicangu Lakota), a dean from United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, ND; Wannetta Bennett (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), the sponsored programs officer at Turtle Mountain Community College; Patricia Brzezinski (Menominee descendant), vice president of academic affairs at College of Menominee Nation; Venida Chenault (Potowatomi), professor of American Indian studies/social science and acting director of distance education at Haskell Indian Nations University; Devona Lone Wolf (Oglala Lakota), human services instructor at Oglala Lakota College; Maggie Necefer (Diné), academic dean of Arizona campuses and community centers at Diné College; and Charlene Teters (Spokane), professor of studio arts at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

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