Native American center resumes search for permanent head

By Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Native American Resource Center is again looking for a permanent leader, a year and a half after the last director resigned in frustration.

Vivian Juan, the center's last dean, resigned on June 30, 1993 after the administration eliminated the Office of Minority Student Affairs. In a letter to President Manuel T. Pacheco, Juan wrote, "I cannot support a system whose direction ignores the reality of our society, and is disrespectful and insensitive towards the unique needs of Native American students and ethnic minority students."

One search to fill the position was already held, but was abandoned before filling the position, because the selection committee felt there were "no qualified applicants," said Heidi Storm, an interdisciplinary studies junior and member of the first selection committee.

Debi Nalwood has worked as the center's interim head since Juan resigned.

But now Storm and other students at the center said although they are very happy with Nalwood's leadership, they are also anxious for the center to get a permanent leader.

The selection committee is reviewing applications this week, with hopes of filling the position by July 1, said Sue Kent, assistant to the Dean of Students. On-campus interviews with the finalists will be held at the end of April, so students can have a chance to have input in the process before the end of the semester, she said.

By the committee's guidelines, an ideal candidate should have a master's degree, experience working with Native American students in a high school or college setting, programming and fund raising experience, knowledge of Native American issues and have contact with the Native American community in the state and region, Kent said.

And students have ideas of their own about who should replace Juan as the new dean.

"What I want to see is someone who is really in touch with students, who can hang out with them," said Brent Bluehouse, an environmental science senior. "I think the person has to be a minority, probably a Native American, so they can relate to us well. When I have had other ethnic groups as a leader, it has been difficult."

Storm said, "The dean should be someone with a lot of experience with students, who can have a strong rapport with students. They should also be able to network well with the other centers."

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