Southeastern Gets $1M to Help Native Students

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For several years, Southeastern Oklahoma State University has received national attention for its programs that assist Native American students.

That recognition should continue as Southeastern recently received a $1.1 million (four-year) grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education. Principal Investigator (PI) and Project Director of this Native American Excellence In Education (NAEIE) Early Childhood Teacher Preparation Grant is Chris Wesberry, director of the Native American Center for Student Success at Southeastern. Dr. Susan Morrison, Professor of Elementary Education, is Co-PI.

“This grant will enable us to better serve our students,” said Southeastern President Sean Burrage. “Our goal is to equip these students to be the very best educators, while helping to fill a critical need in our communities. Chris Wesberry and Dr. Morrison are to be commended for their efforts in securing this grant.”

The grant, which will partner with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation, will serve 12 Native American Education majors pursuing degrees in Early Childhood and/or Special Education.

This is the third grant of this type that the university has received since 2005, according to Wesberry.

“We are fortunate to be able to offer this program again to Native American students who are pursuing a teacher education degree,” Wesberry said. “Along with our partners, we look forward to providing services to those who are selected to the program. This is a fantastic opportunity for our students.”

Students will be selected during the Fall 2014 semester and will begin the program in January 2015.

Students must have completed a minimum of 30 credit hours, be Native American, and be admissible to the teacher education program while pursuing a degree in the required field.

Selected students will receive tuition assistance, textbook stipends, a monthly living stipend, professional development opportunities and academic services through the grant project.

The grant requires all student participants to agree to teach at a school that has a significant percentage of Native American students enrolled.

For more information and an application, contact Chris Wesberry at 580-745-2376 or email him at cwesberry@se.edu.