TCU Professor Dr. Danielle Lansing, a faculty member in Early Childhood Education at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI), a tribal college and university (TCU) participant in the American Indian College Fund’s Wakanyeja “Sacred Little Ones” early childhood initiative. Dr. Lansing is an expert in how teacher education programs at TCUs are integral in rebuilding educational systems that can meet the needs of Native American children. She contributed a blog about teacher education programs at minority serving institutions (MSIs) for the Penn Center of Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania. As a scholar and practitioner, Dr. Lansing has spent the majority of her career teaching the primary grades in Bureau of Indian Education and tribal contract schools in various tribal communities. Dr. Lansing’s research interests include Participatory Action Research in American Indian and Alaskan Native communities as well as Indigenous research methodologies. She is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and credits her family history as shaping her motivation to improve Indian education.
Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU) across the United States were founded to specifically meet the needs of tribal communities through access to higher education and capacity building. More than half of TCUs include teacher education as part of their academic programming. At many TCUs, teacher education programs tend to have the highest student enrollment compared to other offerings. This is due to the motivation of tribal community members who seek to improve the education systems that directly serve their children.