Fielding Graduate University News

James A. Banks to Receive The Fielding Social Justice Award

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Thu, May 08, 2014

FGU Seal web resized 600The Social Justice Award was established in 1986 by psychology alumna Lynn Friedman Kessler to recognize demonstrated concern for and commitment to the furtherance of social justice.

At Fielding Graduate University, social justice is the commitment to understanding, analyzing, and acting to reduce inequity, oppression and social stratification, recognizing the linkages between economics, social and ecological justice.

The hope is that the action for which the award is conferred will provide exemplary models of commitment to social justice for Fielding Graduate University and its members. The award is granted through the Office of the President and ia demonstrative of one of our core values, reducing the many forms of inequality.

The Fielding Graduate University Social Justice Award is given each year, one award to a Fielding student and/or alumni, and another will be made to a Fielding faculty and/or staff member. 

This evening, Thursday, May 8, 2014, at the University Club in San Francisco, CA, President Katrina Rogers is awarding the Fielding Graduate University Social Justice Award to James A. Banks in recognition for his exemplary commitment to social justice work through his extensive work in multicultural education.

James A. BanksBanks holds the Kerry and Linda Killinger Endowed Chair in Diversity Studies and is the founding director of the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Washington, Seattle. He was the Russell F. Stark University Professor at the University of Washington from 2001 to 2006. Banks is a past president of the American Educational Research Association and of the National Council for the Social Studies.

He is a specialist in social studies education and multicultural education and has written widely in these fields. His books include Teaching Strategies for Ethnic Studies; Cultural Diversity and Education: Foundations, Curriculum, and Teaching; Educating Citizens in a Multicultural Society; and Race, Culture, and Education: The Selected Works of James A. Banks. Banks is the editor of the Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education; The Routledge International Companion to Multicultural Education; Diversity and Citizenship Education: Global Perspectives; and the Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education, published in 2012 by Sage in both hard and electronic editions.

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Banks is also the editor of the Multicultural Education Series of books published by Teachers College Press, Columbia University. There are now 52 published books in this Series; others are in development. Banks is a member of the National Academy of Education and a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association.

During the 2005-2006 academic year, Banks was a Spencer Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. In 2007 he was the Tisch Distinguished Visiting Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. He was a Visiting Distinguished Professor at the University of Hong Kong in 2010, a Visiting Professor at the Minzu University of China in 2011 (in Beijing), and a Visiting Professor at Northwest Normal University in Lanzhou, China in 2012.

He holds honorary doctorates from the Bank Street College of Education (New York), the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Wisconsin–Parkside, DePaul University, Lewis and Clark College, and Grinnell College and is a recipient of the UCLA Medal, the university’s highest honor. In 2005, Banks delivered the 29th Annual Faculty Lecture at the University of Washington, the highest honor given to a professor at the University. 

Research by Banks on how educational institutions can improve race and ethnic relations has greatly influenced schools, colleges, and universities throughout the United States and the world. Banks has given lectures on citizenship education and diversity in many different nations, including Australia, Canada, China, Cyprus, England, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, Sweden, and New Zealand. His books have been translated into Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Turkish.

Past recipients include:

  • Paolo Friere
  • Jan Hively
  • Valerie Bentz
  • Jodie Morrow
  • Peter Park
  • Jodie Veroff
  • Argentine Craig
  • Leonard Baca
  • Cathy Royal
  • Christine Ho
  • Pat Kilby-Robb
  • Isidro Ruby
  • Susan Cortez
  • Judy Colemans
  • Susan Ferrant
  • Susan Taira

For more information about social justice work at Fielding:



Tags: social justice, educational leadership, diversity, multicultural, fielding graduate university

Teaching Truly: A Curriculum to Indigenize Mainstream Education

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Mon, May 13, 2013
Teaching Truly resized 600

Fielding Graduate University School of Educational Leadership and Change (ELC) faculty member, Four Arrows (Don Trent Jacobs) publishes book entitled, Teaching Truly: A Curriculum to Indigenize Mainstream Education.

This is the twenty-first book written by Four Arrows, and Peter Lang Publishers claims Teaching Truly to be a first of its kind for educational publishing. After reviewing Teaching Truly, Noam Chomsky stated:

This enlightening book reminds us that the grim prognosis for life on this planet is the consequence of a few centuries of forgetting what traditional societies knew, and the surviving ones still recognize. We must nurture and preserve our common possession, the traditional commons, for future generations, and this must be one of our highest values, or we are all doomed. To regain this sensibility from those who have preserved it we must pay careful attention to their understanding and practices, especially their educational practices as brought to us in these thoughtful chapters.

Teaching Truly offers K-16 course-specific guidelines for helping teachers and students counter-balance mainstream education’s hegemonic influences with indigenous learning precepts. Guest authors contribute to six of the book’s thirteen chapters, one of which is doctoral ELC student and mentee of Four Arrows, Kathryn England-Aytes.

This is not the first Fielding student to have co-authored with Four Arrows. A number of students in Fielding’s neuropsychology program contributed to his book, Critical Neurophilosophy and Indigenous Wisdom and students from all three colleges contributed to his acclaimed text on alternative dissertations, The Authentic Dissertation. When asked about why he asked a student to contribute, Four Arrows replied:

I’m fortunate to be able at this stage of my career to get publishers interested in projects. One of my goals, besides getting people to rethink status-quo perspectives, is to give recognition to the one school that stands for challenging the stats-quo where needed, Fielding Graduate University. Since our students are a big reason for Fielding’s reputation, I love to not only use their expertise but also to give them first opportunities to get published whenever possible. Kathryn’s dissertation work offered a perfect opportunity for an introductory chapter for this book and I’m proud she has joined the more seasoned guest authors on the cover of the book.

As an anarchist educator, Four Arrows solicited a large number of noted critical educators to read and comment on his text. Although he admits that offering suggestions for non-Indian teachers to teach non-Indian students is sensitive and complex undertaking, it is full of opportunities to turn the dire situations facing our world around. It seems that many agree with this approach.

The sampling of reviews below reveals that Four Arrows has touched a nerve in both offering frank criticism of policy, standards and outcomes in mainstream education while offering a counter-balancing solution that can be used in complementary ways to existing curriculum for those teachers who dare:

Penetrating, fearless and practical, this book offers educators (and anyone else with an interest in our future) a way to create a better world—before it is too late!—Thom Hartmann

In my own work as an environmental activist, I’ve learned more from the indigenous environmental network than just about anyone else. If the Indigenous perspective can help even an old guy like me, then educators should be paying attention to what Four Arrows offers in this book. God knows we need some new ways of looking at things.—Bill McKibben

Teaching Truly is a singularly provocative book with the unsettling analysis that education is not about learning and economics is not about the well-being of society. As today’s institutions crumble in their dysfunction, Four Arrows draws upon tens of thousands of years of empirical data within Indigenous societies, crucial intelligence on what works and how to unleash the kind of learning that will help us become human beings present and in balance with Mother Earth.—Rebecca Adamson

At a time when mainstream education is viewed as impoverished and lacking in meaning, this engaging book invites educators to start a self-reflective dialogue on educational innovation stimulated and inspired by the indigenous wisdom. With humility, sensitivity and force, Teaching Truly gives rise to the possibility of transforming education from inside out.—Scherto Gill

In this provocative new book, Four Arrows takes a principled stand on behalf of a significant educational perspective that has long been buried by corporate and political interests, that of the continent’s primary people. We would surely live more balanced, respectful and grounded lives if 21st-century educators were to read this book and learn from its lessons. If we hope to pass along to our grandchildren a healthy 22nd century, we need a richer education than the ‘edupreneurs’ have provided us thus far.—Peter Smagorinsky

This new book by Four Arrows bridges a gap, allowing for a renewed flow of wisdom from American Indian cultures. This perspective has always been crucial to us at AERO and we hope many will be able to use it before our mainstream culture goes over a cliff.”—Jerry Mintz

This book needs to be taken seriously. It offers a perspective that has been missing in cultural storage and thinking promoted in public schools and universities and online learning systems. There are many reasons for learning from indigenous knowledge systems. It would be a mistake to read Teaching Truly as an appeal to going back in time, as the lessons to be learned from indigenous cultures are timeless.—C.A. Bowers

In Teaching Truly, Four Arrows draws a frighteningly accurate map of the known world, and the spiritual and material collapse that’s upon us: death and destruction at the heart of the liberal techno/imperial/capitalist juggernaut. Drawing on ancient and Indigenous ways of being and knowing Four Arrows offers a contemporary guide to what is to be done, and illuminates a path toward a future where schools might play a powerful role in truth-seeking, repair, and renewal for all children, youth, families, and teachers. After an encounter with Four Arrows, I reflected with renewed energy on the urgent questions that drive free people in pursuit of enlightenment and liberation: What are we? Why are we here? Where are we headed? How shall we live? What kind of world can we hope to inhabit? This handbook for teachers is a vibrant and essential text for anyone who wants to understand the broad dimensions of the mess we’re in and pursue a wise and practical pathway forward.—William Ayers

Four Arrows has cut to the core in Teaching Truly. Doing more than overcoming the omissions, misinterpretations, and outright fictionalization of our culture, traditions and spirituality that have been taught in American schools, he has put together generalizable teachings for specific subjects in ways that can point education toward achieving a more balanced world.—Tim Giago, Nanwica Kciji (Stands Up for Them)

To order a copy of Teaching Truly: A Curriculum to Indigenize Mainstream Education go to All profits from this book will go to worthy American Indian educational associations and foundations.

Listen to Four Arrows radio interview on the Kevin Barret show:

Contact: Four Arrows, aka Don Trent Jacobs, PhD, EdD,


Tags: educational leadership, diversity, multicultural, fielding graduate university, learning

Fielding alumni present at the 43rd Annual National Indian Education Association Convention

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Mon, Nov 19, 2012

Kathy Tiner ELC resized 600

Fielding Graduate University School of Educational Leadership & Change (ELC) graduates Sandy Kewanhaptewa Dixon ('06) and Henry Fowler ('10) presented their dissertation research, "Transforming our Schools and Communities through Culturally Based Distributed Learning Master and Doctoral Programs" at the 2012 National Indian Education Association (NIEA) 43rd Annual Convention and Trade Show held in Oklahoma City, OK.

The theme for this year's convention was "Maintaining Traditions in a Digital Era" and the conference was filled with exciting dialog, inspiration, and sharing of innovative ideas for use in the classroom. The NIEA Annual Convention and Tradeshow brings together Native leaders, congressional representatives, educators, students and school administrators to share best practices, connect with others who are passionate about educating Native students, and pursue solutions to education issues that affect Native communities. Each year, the convention teaches attendees about the local tribal culture and language through various evening events. NIEA’s board of directors and resolutions for yearly legislative priorities are also determined at this event.

Pictured above (left to right): Henry Fowler, Fielding faculty Kathy Tiner, Sandy Kewanhaptewa Dixon, and friend Charlene Teters.

Tags: educational leadership, multicultural, conference, higher education

School of HOD faculty member, Dr. Placida Gallegos, plays crucial role in implementing project to boost Latino/Latina student success in New Mexico

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Tue, Oct 09, 2012

Picture of  Placida Velasquez GallegosFielding Graduate University faculty Placida Gallegos, PhD, in the Human & Organizational Development (HOD) program, was an integal part of the core-planning team and a coach in the latino/latina student success project for the state of New Mexico, which was among similar projects across the country for which the Lumina Foundation provided significant funding.

The Lumina Foundation required all participating sites to undergo a rigorous reflection and planning period during the first year. The process was designed to ensuring the strategy generated by each city was sustainable and would result in the collective impact of closing the achievement gap for latino/latina students in higher education.  

The Lumnia Foundation announced the following in a press release October 3rd, 2012:

Lumina is pleased to acknowledge the great work and leadership of local champions all across the country. Over the past six months, Lumina has provided technical assistance and support to these 13 communities as they have refined and developed Latino student success projects. The cohort is now ready for implementation, and the projects proposed seek to increase the educational attainment for more than 200,000 students touched by this effort over the next four years. This investment in Latino student success is designed to strengthen local collaborative ventures that promise to improve the postsecondary attainment of Latino students.

Through this grant investment, Lumina is providing a total of $11.5 million over a four year period to 13 different partnerships. The partnerships will leverage community leaders across key policy, education, business and nonprofit sectors to build, implement and sustain college preparation, access and success strategies for Latino students.

“Lumina’s Latino Student Success effort is grounded in two concepts: a commitment to Latino student success for reasons of equity, economic stability and national competitiveness, and the power of local partnerships as framed by the Collective Impact Model,” said Lumina Foundation President and CEO Jamie Merisotis. “This effort is an integral part of our commitment to Goal 2025.”

At more than 50 million, by 2025, half of the nation’s workers will be of Latino descent. At that time, 63 percent of all jobs in the United States will require some form of postsecondary education or training, according to labor economist Anthony Carnevale of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

“Lumina’s Latino Student Success effort enables us to focus on a task that is at once a serious challenge and a priceless opportunity: increasing college attainment for more Latino students,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. “This effort will not only enhance the lives of Latino students but will help to ensure a bright future for all Americans.”

The success of this effort is a key driver on the road to reach all national college attainment goals. (


Tags: educational leadership, diversity, multicultural

Fielding Graduate University alumna Esther S. Birtcher, EdD, published book: Building Bridges with At-Risk Native Youth

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Thu, Sep 06, 2012

Building BridgesFielding Graduate University alumna Esther S. Birtcher, EdD, published Building Bridges with At-Risk Native Youth.

Available on

In her book, Esther describes: "education is the road to success in this modern world woven in multicultural society. The Rainbow of success can prevail with students who are struggling in education; they can learn to overcome barriers of life leading to success. Every child is precious; they are our future and can learn the cultural teachings that are valuable concepts to life."

Esther is an educator with a diverse cultural background who has lived both on and off the Navajo reservation. Her late father was from Teec Nos Pos, Arizona, and her late mother was from Red Mesa, Utah. She grew up in both areas, where she began her education at boarding school. Her early school years were a memorable experience, as extracurricular activities including basketball, volleyball, and track enhanced her academic pursuits. After high school in Utah, she attended Brigham Young University and graduated with a bachelor's degree. Esther returned to the Navajo Reservation and began her teaching career in Window Rock, Arizona. After some years of teaching, she earned a Master's Degree in Counseling from the University of Phoenix, followed by EdD in Educational Leadership earned at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California. She still enjoys counseling the students in school, while teaching as an adjunct faculty member at Dine College and Northern Arizona University. Her career is painted with various life opportunities of teaching students academic skills and encouraging them to apply cultural skills and concepts to their daily life as they progress in education. 

"You have been given four things: Wisdom, Knowledge, Power, and Gift. These things that I am telling you may take years to digest in your minds before they begin to make sense. You must honor these four blessings by having good thoughts, good words, showing kindness to others. When you do this, you will begin to understand what I am talking about."
Wallace Black Elk, Sicangu Lakota Spiritual Elder

Tags: educational leadership, multicultural, adult learning, higher education, graduate education