Longtime Haskell Indian Nations University instructor Mike Tosee has plenty of motivation for the deadline pressure to finish his doctorate.
Tosee is the fourth Haskell faculty member to receive an American Indian College Fund fellowship to help earn his degree.
The three others — Venida Chenault, Dan Wildcat and Joni Murphy — all succeeded, and Tosee wants to do the same.
“Haskell has a good record so far,” Tosee said this week from his office in Parker Hall.
The fellowship also will pay dividends to the university and students, he said.
Tosee is pursuing his doctorate in history from Kansas University and plans to finish his degree in July.
“More than anything, it’s just the fact that you really expand your knowledge base, and you can give students a lot more information,” said Tosee, a Comanche who has taught at Haskell for 18 years.
The $30,000 sabbatical fellowship, with extra money for research-related travel, has given him the year off from teaching to finish his research on 20th century American Indian history.
The fellowship is meant to increase education among faculty at the 32 accredited tribal colleges and universities, and it has funded 15 doctoral candidates since 2004. Carmelita Lamb, who teaches at Turtle Mountain Community College in North Dakota, received the other fellowship this year.
Tosee says he studies 20th century American Indian history because it was a period that was neglected for a long time. But American Indians made several notable achievements, including in athletics and military history, like the Code Talkers in World War II who helped transmit military messages through an unwritten Navajo language.
The fellowship also will help the university once he earns his doctorate.
“It also lends credibility to the institution. Parents who want to send their kids here, they look at who is teaching here. That offers a sense of credibility,” Tosee said.