December 13, 2010 — The University of Utah announced today that Matthew Van Alstine Makomenaw, Ph.D., has joined the Office for Equity and Diversity as the director of the American Indian Resource Center (AIRC).
Makomenaw, a member of the Odawa tribe, from the Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and Little Traverse Bay of Odawa Indians, has extensive experience working with American Indian students in higher education. He was the director of Native American Programs at Central Michigan University, an adjunct faculty member at the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College and served on the Board of Regents for the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College.
The American Indian Resource Center provides support to American Indian students toward achieving success in an academically competitive environment as they strive to reach their full potential. As the director, Makomenaw will guide the development and implementation of campus-wide plans for enhancing the success of American Indian students while working with American Indian tribes and nations in the state.
“We are pleased to have Matthew Makomenaw join our team,” said Jennifer Williams Molock, assistant vice president of Student Equity and Diversity at the University of Utah. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding American Indian college students that will be a tremendous asset to the university. Makomenaw brings new energy and an enhanced vision to the AIRC and I look forward to his leadership in serving our students.”
Makomenaw said he is pleased to be at the University of Utah. “I look forward to helping the American Indian Resource Center become a primary source of information on American Indian issues and knowledge for all students, faculty and staff. My goal for the center is to increase the recruitment and retention of American Indian students and to provide programs for everyone on campus so they will be able to learn more about American Indian culture and knowledge.”
Makomenaw says his personal and professional commitment is to be of service to native communities. His academic and professional career is influenced by a desire to learn, teach, and understand native culture and history. “I believe that preserving native language, teaching history from a native perspective, understanding native values and teachings and service to native communities is a vital component to my identity as an American Indian.” Makomenaw has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in student affairs and a Ph.D. in higher, adult, and lifelong education.
Interviews are available upon request. For more information about the University of Utah American Indian Resource Center and the Office for Equity and Diversity, please visit www.diversity.utah.edu or call 801-581-4250.