ASU, San Carlos Apache Tribe enter historic agreement to establish new tribal college

June 12, 2014

Arizona State University has entered into a historic agreement with the San Carlos Apache Tribe in southeastern Arizona that will bring a college to the tribal nation, as well as programs that benefit youth and emphasize healthy lifestyles.

“ASU has one of the largest populations of Native American students of any college or university in the country, and we are enriched by the presence of our Native students, faculty and staff,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “The Apache tribal college will prepare students for the rigors of university studies and encourage more of them to pursue a four-year degree at ASU and other institutions. We look forward to working with the San Carlos Apache Tribe to help more Native students realize their dream of obtaining a college education.” two men signing papers on table with people watching on Download Full Image

“A tribal college operated by and for Apaches will help secure the future of the tribe, not just as a means for sustainable economic development, but as a critical institution to preserve our language, our culture and our history. Our partnership with ASU will greatly assist the tribe with making a tribal college a reality,” said Terry Rambler, chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

ASU administrators will work to advise the tribe in establishing the college’s operating guidelines, articles of incorporation and accreditation standards, as well as support for credit transfer partnerships, said John Tippeconnic, ASU American Indian Studies director. Maria Hesse, ASU vice provost for academic partnerships, will work on ensuring seamless transfers for students.

“We anticipate that students who begin at the Apache tribal college will be able to easily transfer into majors at ASU, and we will build curricular pathways that ensure they have the right preparation for university success,” Hesse said.

A tribal college will also help youth continue their studies after completing high school.

“Aiding in the design of a tribal college will enable San Carlos tribal youth and adults to bridge the gap between high school and the four-year university. This effort will provide a pipeline for students to earn college credit during their first two years and then transfer to ASU,” Tippeconnic said.

Tippeconnic has first-hand knowledge of the process since he was instrumental in building Comanche Nation College in Oklahoma. Diane Humetewa, former special adviser to the president for American Indian Affairs, was instrumental in bringing the agreement to fruition.

ASU will consult with the tribe in facility design and curriculum. Students from the ASU Del E. Webb School of Construction will benefit from the planning, design and construction processes as the new tribal college is shared as a best practice that will be showcased at ASU-sponsored events.

Through the agreement, a Native American Achievement Program that is administered through ASU American Indian Student Support Services will provide academic counseling and personal support.

“This will help incoming first-year freshmen and transfer student recipients of San Carlos Apache tribal grants and scholarships to succeed academically and socially at ASU,” said Michael Begaye, American Indian Student Support Services director.

The memorandum of understanding also supports the tribe’s Sports Camp and Healthy Lifestyles Initiatives by advising the tribe on nutrition and fitness best practices, as well as identifying university fitness, sports and nutrition awareness activities that may benefit the tribe.

San Carlos Apache Youth leadership initiatives will involve ASU support in endeavors such as advisement on best practices to engage youth in academic and community leadership, hosting youth from the tribe for leadership through public speaking and writing skills support when available, as well as jointly researching grants and funding for youth participation in summer bridge programs that support incoming ASU students.

ASU math grad selected for competitive Woodrow Wilson fellowship

June 12, 2014

Arizona State University graduate Bethany Fowler of Uvalde, Texas, is among the first 50 Woodrow Wilson New Jersey Teaching Fellows announced this week by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

The highly competitive program recruits recent college graduates with strong science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) backgrounds to teach those subjects in high-need high schools. Bethany Fowler Download Full Image

New Jersey is one of five states participating in the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships. It is funded by a consortium of New Jersey donors, including the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, with initial funding of $11.4 million.

Fowler just completed her master’s degree in mathematics at Arizona State University’s School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. “In my time at ASU I had the opportunity to study mathematics education with professors Kyeong Roh, Marilyn Carlson and Pat Thompson. This group of individuals is highly experienced and successful in their field, and I learned so much from them about focusing on student understanding.”

Professor Marilyn Carlson says Fowler is an exceptional mathematics instructor: “Her research perspective and genuine curiosity about student thinking and learning is driven by a desire to make mathematics learning accessible to all students, including those who haven’t previously viewed themselves as being mathematically talented. She sets high standards for student learning and supports them in persisting to make sense of novel problems.

“Last semester, a precalculus student came by her office and was upset because Bethany was making her think in her class," says Carlson. "When the student claimed that she had never had to think in a math course before, Bethany politely informed the student that she needed to change her view of mathematics.”

Fowler enjoyed teaching precalculus classes at ASU. “I learned so much by working with so many students from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds," she says. "My students continually inspired me to want to teach.”

Fowler and the other Fellows each receive $30,000 to complete a specially designed master’s program based on a yearlong classroom experience. She will attend Rowan University in New Jersey. In return, Fellows commit to teach for three years in urban and rural New Jersey schools most in need of STEM teachers. Fellows receive ongoing support and mentoring throughout their three-year commitment. Fowler will teach math and engineering at Millville High School in Millville, New Jersey.

“I have been paired with two veteran teachers with 12 and 13 years experience each. I feel that working with them in their classrooms over the next school year is an invaluable opportunity to learn how to be an effective teacher,” said Fowler. “I hope to learn as much as possible about helping my future students be as successful as possible.”

“Study after study has shown that the single most important in-school factor in student achievement is access to excellent classroom teachers,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. “These fellows are bringing real science and math expertise to the kids who most need them.”

“Bethany will be an exceptional teacher and leader of other teachers. She has strong mathematical abilities and understands how foundational ideas are learned and connected,” said Carlson. “Bethany recognizes that every class of students is unique, and she works tirelessly to support her students in becoming more powerful and confident mathematical thinkers. She doesn’t just teach mathematics, but she teaches students mathematics.”

Fowler is honored to be named a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. “I have the opportunity to join a group of highly motivated individuals working together to improve the quality of STEM education for many, many students in this country,” she said.

Rhonda Olson

Manager of Marketing and Communication, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences