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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Diane Kayongo-Male


Bilingual education Educational sociology Ethnic studies Higher education Minority & ethnic groups Multicultural education Sociology


This study explored the dynamic of collaboration and empowerment between faculty and administrators at state universities and tribal colleges. A review of literature on American Indians in higher education, collaboration and empowerment, critical, exchange and organizational theoretical perspectives (including resource dependence and rational-altruistic models), along with the author's personal experiences in state university-tribal college collaboration contributed to the formulation of a new model. This model was explored, discussed and refined through this research. The model illustrates how individual and organizational factors can act as either barriers or catalysts to collaboration between state universities and tribal colleges. In the model, empowerment is seen as not only an outcome of collaboration, but also, as part of the collaborative process, which can ultimately lead to a variety of possible outcomes. This process of collaboration and empowerment is set against the backdrop of the unique contexts in which these vii institutions come together. Contextual factors included in the model were history, culture, politics, and economics. Qualitative research methods were used in approaching the topic. Data were collected through ethnographic interviews with 18 faculty and administrators at tribal colleges, and 18 faculty and administrators at state universities from throughout the Upper Mid-West, all of whom had previously been involved in collaborative efforts. Major findings affirm the model, although contextual factors are viewed as having an even stronger influence than originally suggested, and an additional contextual factor-geography-is added in a revised version. Individual and organizational factors, along with the indicators of collaboration and empowerment all came together to influence the process and outcomes of state university-tribal college collaboration. This research makes two significant contributions to Sociology. The first is a conceptual model for how individuals and organizations can work together across cultures. The second is the expansion of organizational theory into a new domain, state university-tribal college collaboration. Recommendations for future directions of state university-tribal college collaboration and advice for would-be collaborators are offered. Suggestions for further study are discussed.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Multicultural education.
Indian universities and colleges.
State universities and colleges.




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