MILWAUKEE - David Beaulieu, director of the U.S. Office of Indian Education, has been appointed as the first Electa Quinney professor of American Indian Education in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Education.
The position, the School of Education's first endowed professorship, is funded through a $1 million gift from the Milwaukee Indian Community School. It honors pioneering educator Electa Quinney, recognized as Wisconsin's first "public school" teacher. She taught American Indian and white children at a tuition-free school, which opened in 1828 at a Presbyterian mission in Kaukauna.
Beaulieu, an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation, has been director of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Indian Education since 1997. The department's programs serve 500,000 American Indian learners in 1,300 state public school districts and schools operated by tribal governments and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Before becoming director of the Office of Indian Education, Beaulieu served as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, and was the first American Indian to be appointed as a commissioner in state government. Beaulieu, who earned his doctorate in education administration from the University of Minnesota, served on the Indian Nations at Risk Task Force, and has written extensively about Indian education.
"Dr. David Beaulieu has outstanding professional experiences with national and state agencies and educational institutions," said Nancy Zimpher, UWM Chancellor. "His extensive knowledge of Indian education and history will be a great resource for our students, faculty and staff, and our many community partners. We are deeply grateful to the Milwaukee Indian Community School for providing resources that allow us to bring Dr. Beaulieu to Wisconsin."
That spirit of collaboration between the university and the community was a major factor in his decision to come to Milwaukee, Beaulieu said.
"The relationship between the Indian Community School and the university through the endowed professorship gives us an opportunity to do a lot of productive work." Beaulieu, who has taught at a number of universities and is a former chairman of the board of trustees of NAES (Native American Education Services, Inc.) College in Chicago, said he's also looking forward to doing more research and teaching. "I'm really excited about teaching and writing again."
"David Beaulieu brings a very well-rounded background to this professorship," said Mohammed Aman, interim dean of UWM's School of Education. "He has an outstanding record of research and service, and is very aware of the issues facing American Indian education. His knowledge of the subject and American Indian culture will be a tremendous asset to the School of Education in particular and the UWM and Milwaukee community in general."
"The Indian Community School is pleased to join the university in welcoming Dr. Beaulieu to Milwaukee," said Linda Sue Warner, Chief Executive Officer of the school. "Dr. Beaulieu's is the first endowed professorship in The School of Education and we are pleased with his appointment," she added. "The collaboration between ICS, The University, and the Urban Indian Education Research Center will provide opportunities for research and scholarship focusing on urban Indian children. Dr. Beaulieu's experience and expertise will add to the university's national and international voice in Indian education in policy and in practice."