Archive for Sunday, January 12, 1992


January 12, 1992


If everything goes as planned, Haskell Indian Junior College will enroll the first students in its teacher education program in the fall of 1993.

Expanding to offer baccalaureate degrees was a goal set forth by Haskell's Long-Range Planning Committee, the group that developed the school's Vision 2000 planning document. Vision 2000 is the blueprint Haskell officials are using to plan the future of the Bureau of Indian Affairs school.

A teacher education committee is in the process of ironing out details for the elementary education program. In an interview last week, Tom Dixon, chairman of the committee, said members of the panel have met at least weekly if not twice or three times a week to discuss how Haskell should evolve into a four-year school.

ELEMENTARY education will be the first baccalaureate-granting program at Haskell. Secondary education is expected to be tackled next, Dixon said. Haskell's plans have been supported by the school's Board of Regents and by federal officials. A resolution supporting the expansion was approved by the Indian Nations at Risk Task Force, which was appointed under the Department of Education.

Dixon said planning the significant change has taken a lot of hard work.

"One of the big issues that we ran into immediately was content vs. methods," Dixon said, explaining that the committee agreed that teaching both the content material of classes math and English, for example was just as important as teaching students how to teach.

"THERE HAS to be a balance," Dixon said. "You have to know what you're talking about, and you have to know how to teach it."

In the proposed elementary education program, students would attend Haskell for nine semesters, or 4 years. During the first two years, they would concentrate on background classes such as English, math and science. More specialized classes in education would come later in the program, and the ninth semester would be spent student teaching.

The first two years is comparable to the layout of classes at Kansas University, where students take classes in the College of Liberal Arts for two years before they are eligible to transfer to professional schools such as education or journalism.

AFTER completing the second year, Dixon said Haskell students would receive an associate of arts degree, the degree now offered at the school. After a student's eighth semester, he or she would earn a bachelor of science degree in education. After a student's ninth semester, he or she would earn a teaching certificate.

Dixon said members of the teacher education committee were asked to compile a list of classes they believed students should be required to take.

"We ended up with a huge list that would have filled five years," Dixon said, smiling.

Dixon said members of the committee "looked at what we could do to consolidate the classes but not hurt the program. Our aim is produce the best-prepared teachers possible."

BEFORE THE first round of students are enrolled, Haskell will need to hire additional faculty, especially for specialized classes on education.

"Much of the content will come in the first two years, and those classes can be covered by existing faculty for the most part," Dixon said.

The time line for the program calls for a department head to be hired by the spring. Additional teachers are expected to be hired during spring 1993. Accreditation by North Central Assn., the group that accredits Haskell, and the state Department of Education also is expected to take place in the spring of next year.

INSTEAD OF offering only a class on multiculturalism, Dixon said the committees hopes that multiculturalism is a part of every class. Because of the diversity of Haskell's student body 139 tribes are represented at the school Dixon said the classes must reflect the cultural values of both the students enrolled in the program and the children the students will be teaching in the future.

"Our students may want to teach on a reservation or in a public school in an urban or rural setting," Dixon said. "We've got to prepare them to teach anywhere."

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