UBC Theses and Dissertations
Life on the other side : Alaska native teacher education students and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Barnhardt, Carol
This study examines the conditions that contribute to the success of indigenous minority students in higher education by focusing on the experiences of 50 Alaska Native teacher education students who graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) between 1989 and 1993. Although the number of Alaska Native students enrolled at UAF has increased in the past 10 years, the percentage of graduates continues to be significantly lower than their percentage of the student and state population. The study addresses the question: what factors have contributed to the academic success Of Alaska Native teacher education graduates at UAF? It includes three components: a brief history of schooling for Alaska Native people; a description of the programs, student services and academic coursework at UAF designed to respond to the interests and needs of Alaska Native students; and a review and analysis of the experiences of 50 Alaska Native teacher education students based on data obtained through interviews, reviews of student records and participant observation. The study identifies multiple factors that have contributed to the academic success of Alaska Native students, including the following: a teaching and learning environment responsive to the interests and needs of culturally diverse students; student support services respectful of the interests and needs of culturally diverse students; strong family and community support; supportive prior school and life experiences; and exceptional individual efforts. Accommodations and adaptations by both the students and the institution were essential. Recommendations are made for institutions, faculty, students and communities who are interested in developing campus environments where Alaska Native, and other cultural minority students, can be fully represented, respected, involved and successful.
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