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Higher Education

ASU Launches Online Master of Arts in Indigenous Education

By Cait Etherington
October 15, 2018

Arizona State University (ASU), which in recent years has emerged as a key player in online education, has announced plans to launch an online Master of Arts in Indigenous education. The program, which will officially launch in Spring 2019, hopes to enable educators to acquire the insights needed to better serve children, young adults, and adult learners in Indigenous communities in Arizona and nationwide.  The program is expected to be of interest to people already working in the tribal education field in other roles, along with educators who serve as principals and superintendents in districts with high populations of Indigenous learners.

Details About ASU’s New Online Master of Arts in Indigenous Education

ASU online’s master of arts in Indigenous education is designed to be completed in 18 to 24 months. This program will focus on heightening educators’ understanding of contemporary Indigenous education. At ASU, the Center for Indian Education is housed in the School of Social Transformation where there are plenty of opportunities for colleagues to collaborate both campus-wide and internationally with scholars in a wide range of fields.

All courses in the new master’s degree will be taught online by Indigenous faculty or faculty with significant experience working with Indigenous communities. Among the many topics covered in the proposed curriculum, students admitted to the program will be able to explore American Indian education, the history of American Indian education, issues of Indigenous language and culture, American Indian education policy, American Indians in higher education, and critical Indigenous research methodologies. Tuition for the full-time program is expected to be $9,756 for the school year.

Widespread Support for the New Program

In an article published in The State Press on October 12, Henry Quintero, an assistant professor of English and an expert in Indigenous American literature, praised the program for prying open new opportunities for Indigenous students: “I think it is going to usher in a new era of not only how we approach education in Indigenous communities, but how we reform education within the larger body of America.” Quintero also emphasized that the program holds the potential to transform education more broadly. “I really believe that Indigenous people have many of the answers on how to make education good for everybody,” says Quintero, adding, “It’s important that in this new American education process that we allow that natural education that comes from our Indigenous communities to gestate in a way that is in integrity with their own community.”

Deborah Chadwick, the Indigenous Education graduate director at ASU, told The State Press that the new online Master of Arts in Indigenous education was developed in response to inquiries from tribal members who wanted a way to pursue higher education without necessarily traveling to the ASU campus or another on-site location.

Bryan Brayboy, president’s professor of Indigenous education and justice and director of the Center for Indian Education, is the co-founder of ASU’s new Online Master of Arts in Indigenous education. Brayboy emphasizes, “What we thought we’d do is try to fill some of the void that exists and provide opportunities for those teachers and educators in tribal communities who want to earn another degree.” But the program isn’t simply about supporting educators.

Brayboy acknowledges that in many Indigenous communities, students still fail to reach benchmarks for achievement. “If we’re going to be serious about our commitments,” says Brayboy, “Then we’re going to build programs that will help young people create futures of their own making.”

Students interested in ASU’s new online master of arts in Indigenous education must already hold a bachelor’s degree and have a minimum of a 3.00 cumulative GPA in their last 60 hours of coursework to apply. Transcripts, a letter of intent, resume, and writing sample are also part of the application package. Students hoping to enroll for Spring 2019 are invited to apply now.