Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Portland State Offers American Indians Online Classes

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Portland State Offers American Indians Online Classes

Article excerpt

PORTLAND, Ote.-The state has linked three American Indian tribes to Portland State University by a high-speed computer network that allows students in a master's degree program to take classes without leaving the reservation.

The state Department of Administrative Services test program allows instructors in Portland to teach and meet with students by video.

"I can just go upstairs, 100 feet from my office, leave five minutes before class starts, and be in class and learning," says Chris Leno, director of operations for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

Leno is one of a handful of American Indians studying tribal governance through a new master's degree program from the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State.

Theresa Julnes Rapids, an associate professor of public administration and member of the Shoalwater Bay Tribe of coastal Washington, developed the program. She says she wanted to bring training opportunities to Northwest tribes at a time when casino gambling profits are fueling record growth of tribal governments.

Rapids has worked with faculty to tailor the examples and projects to resemble those a tribal government might face, such as protecting petroglyphs or public areas the tribes consider sacred. …

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