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Professor Hopes U Will Be Known For Training American Indian Students To Become Teachers

November 17, 2003 — Within a year of receiving nearly $1 million in federal money to train American Indian or Alaskan Native American students to become teachers, the University of Utah’s Center for the Study of Race and Diversity in Higher Education has received another federal grant of $1,036,000 to be used for the same purpose.

Spurred by the overwhelming response to the University’s American Indian Teacher Training Program (AITTP)-and the progress and development of the 12 American Indian students who received scholarships from the program and began classes last summer, the University has already begun recruiting students for the next cohort of 12, who will begin the program next summer.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education stipulates that the Title VII money be used to prepare undergraduate and now master’s students to become instructors-especially in the disciplines of math, science and reading. “Children in American Indian communities need the most help in reading, math and science,” notes Bryan McKinley Brayboy, assistant professor in the Department of Education, Culture & Society and author of both grants. “Our program is oriented to address this need by training teachers in these areas, although we are also looking for special education teachers and teachers in other subjects are eligible and encouraged to apply.”

Brayboy explains that the scholarship money will allow recipients to focus solely on their studies. The new AITTP scholarships include tuition, book allowance, health insurance coverage, use of a laptop computer, reimbursement of relocation expenses up to $1,000 and a $1,500 monthly stipend to be used for living expenses. Scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to teach in schools that serve American Indian and/or Alaskan Native American populations. Upon completion of the AITTP, participants will be required to give what the government calls “a service payback” in one of these communities for at least two years. “If they don’t, they will be required to repay the money used to train them to the federal government,” Brayboy says.

Brayboy, the principal investigator on the training grant, explains that there is a strong regional emphasis to attract students to the program. “Our focus is to draw from the five tribes in Utah-from the Utes, Navajos, Goshutes, Piutes and Western Shoshones. But recipients don’t necessarily need to be from Utah or from one of these tribes. They can be from other tribes as well. The idea is that all of the students-no matter what their tribe-will go back to their home communities and teach,” says Brayboy, who also teaches in the U’s Ethnic Studies Program.

According to U.S. Department of Education guidelines, applicants to the program must be American Indian or Alaskan Native American. These students must also have completed liberal education requirements and be ready to enter the teacher training program. Applications are due Feb. 1, 2004 and should be sent to:

Bryan McKinley Brayboy
U of U Department of Education, Culture & Society
1705 E. Campus Center Drive, Room 307
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9256

For more information on the University of Utah American Indian Teacher Training Program, call 801-581-4145 or 801-587-7811