Focus Areas

The Electa Quinney Institute for American Indian Education pursues its mission by working within the following focus areas.

Education, Pre-Service Teacher Education and Professional Development for Teachers

The Institute’s special relationship with UWM’s School of Education is reflected in its emphasis on projects related to education. Culturally based education is particularly relevant to American Indian students, which requires particular teaching strategies that can be conveyed to teachers through pre-service education and professional development. Wisconsin’s law Act 31 requires training for teachers about American Indian history and culture. By fostering projects related to American Indian education, the Institute hopes to improve the quality of education for American Indian students.

In addition to education, projects are in the works related to American Indian literature, wellness and history.

American Indian Scholars

As the Institute grows, there are plans to offer spots to American Indian graduate students to become Research Assistants working on various grant-funded projects. In addition, the Institute supports the scholarly development of professors who become Faculty Research Associates of the Electa Quinney Institute as they develop projects.


Too often, research either does not include American Indians at all, or makes American Indians the subject of research in a way that can be disempowering to the participants. The Electa Quinney Institute seeks to promote culturally competent research that uses a strengths-based approach and values the existing knowledge and skill within the American Indian community.

Community Connections

The Institute was founded with a connection to Milwaukee’s Indian Community School, but the partnering does not stop there. Community connections, partnerships and collaborations are central to the mission of the Institute. The Institute partners with local schools, community-based organizations, tribal colleges and tribes to carry out initiatives that involve and benefit the American Indian community. As the Institute’s Community Resource Center takes shape on this website, we hope to offer community-based organizations tools for their own capacity-building and fundraising.

What Are We Growing Toward?

The Electa Quinney Institute for American Indian Education is off to a productive start, but has many long-term plans it wishes to pursue as it grows and becomes increasingly established. In accordance with the Institute’s collaboratively developed Strategic Plan, some of the future goals include:
  • Revitalizing UWM’s American Indian Studies program
  • Hosting a symposium, forum or conference on American Indian education and urban American Indian community-based organizations
  • Implementing campus-wide American Indian initiatives
  • Strengthening opportunities for American Indian students.
  • Implementing partnerships between UWM, Tribal Government, Community based organization to meet locally defined needs and strengthen American Indian Students
We invite you to check back at the Electa Quinney Institute website for updates on our activities and focus areas.