In the fall of 2004 Penn State’s Center for Rural Education and Communities (CREC) and the American Indian Leadership Program (AILP) came together to discuss ways in which the two efforts could productively collaborate in the areas of research, education and outreach. The possibilities seemed exciting since:

  1. A partnership would serve as a resource to graduates of the AILP, based across the country insofar as AILP/CREC activities could produce relevant research-based information in the area of Indian Education;
  2. A strong partnership would help both the AILP and CREC to leverage further working and research relationships with other programs and institutes based at other institutions;
  3. A partnership would also provide resources and guidance to graduate students in the AILP conducting dissertation research;
  4. Most Indian students and schools are located in rural areas and therefore Indian Education is a logical area for CREC to devote attention;
  5. It would help to broaden the scope of CREC to a national level in terms of its interests and activities, and it would aid both CREC and AILP in developing research initiatives focused around rural Indian Education;

Since our initial meeting we have begun several exciting initiatives, including a workshop held in October 2004 at the National Indian Education Association Meetings, and a project with Mississippi State’s National Center for Rural Early Childhood Learning Initiatives to co-organize an expert’s conference on Rural Indian Education to be held in July 2005. Both are described below.

Who We Are: CREC/AILP Partnership

  • William Lowe Boyd - Batschelet Chair Professor of Educational Administration, Associate Director, Center on Rural Education and Communities
  • Susan Faircloth – Then Assistant Professor of Education
  • Kai A. Schafft - Associate Professor of Education, Director, Center on Rural Education and Communities
  • John Tippeconnic – Then Professor of Education, Director, American Indian Leadership Program

Partnership Activities

  1. "Building Partnerships" Workshop at NIEA Meetings, Oct. 2004

Our first collaborative activity was held at the 35th Annual National Indian Education Association Meetings held in Phoenix, Arizona, October 28-31, 2004, in which the AILP and CREC joined together to lead a workshop entitled, "Building Partnerships for Rural Indian Education." John Tippeconnic served as the lead presenter, and was joined by co-presenters, Susan Faircloth, Katherine Heeren (graduate student, Educational Leadership Program) and Kai Schafft.

The purpose of the workshop was to lead a focused conversation with Indian educators about the barriers to providing a quality education within Indian schools and communities, and how a research and outreach agenda might be developed to better understand and begin to address these barriers. Nearly 30 participants, all directly involved in Indian Education, joined us.

Contributions of participants, and a summary of what was learned in the workshop. (PDF)

  1. Experts Workshop: Creating Partnerships to Generate Knowledge on Indian Education

There is currently a notable absence of research on Indian Education. This lack of knowledge disadvantages Indian educators and the Indian communities with whom they work. The absence of research, however, is not due to a lack of important unanswered questions. Mississippi State’s National Center for Rural Early Childhood Learning Initiatives (NCRECL), Penn State’s American Indian Leadership Program (AILP) and the Penn State’s Center for Rural Education and Communities (CREC) are jointly organizing an experts conference comprised of academics, Indian educators and community leaders to develop an agenda and action plan for most needed research in the area of Indian Education. To convene in Little Rock, Arkansas at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center Library in July 2005, invited workshop participants, recognized as experts in their research/issue areas, will revisit the 1998 Clinton Executive Order on Rural Indian Education and the Executive Order’s subsequent implementation. The conference’s goals are the:

  • Creation of dynamic, applied research partnerships between scholars and communities, sensitive to and informed by local community concerns;
  • Publication of workshop proceedings as an integrated set of research and policy briefs;
  • Publication of expanded papers in a reputable peer-reviewed academic journal;
  • Development of multiple, externally-funded research initiatives addressing identified gaps in Indian Education scholarship.

Complete description of this effort. (PDF)

Workshop participants. (PDF)