May 01, 2007

Navajo woman helms Antioch

Antioch’s Seattle Campus Chooses First American Indian Woman College HeadDr. Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet of the Navajo, or Dine, tribe appears to be the first American Indian woman to be appointed president of a mainstream university outside of the tribal college system. She was named this month to lead Antioch University Seattle from a pool of more than 40 candidates. She formally begins her presidency July 15.

Neither the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) nor the Council on the Advancement and Support of Education has a record of any Native woman being named president of a non-tribal college until now, but cannot confirm the information with 100 percent accuracy. The lack of such data could be said to underscore the dearth of native women in leadership positions among non-tribal colleges. Rather fittingly, Manuelito-Kerkvliet’s doctoral thesis examines the challenges faced by Native women pursuing leadership positions in higher education and the lack of mentoring available to them.

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