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NEWS_SHI, UAS launch new scholarships, opportunities for aspiring teachers, administrators

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Initiative to fund Native language and culture programming for PITAAS students under new MOA

January 14, 2019

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Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) and the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) are offering new scholarships and opportunities to Alaska Native students enrolled in the Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska Schools program, known as PITAAS.

SHI and UAS are offering the initiatives under a new memorandum of agreement through which the institute will be a full partner of PITAAS, a program founded by the university in 2000 to grow the number of Alaska Native teachers and administrators and improve educational opportunities for Alaska Native K-12 students.

Through the program, which is funded by a federal grant from the Alaska Native Education Program awarded to SHI, the partners will offer tuition waivers to Alaska Native freshmen and sophomore students who are interested in PITAAS for certain language and culture classes, said SHI President Rosita Worl. The tuition of PITAAS junior, senior, graduate and Ph.D. students is already supported by the program.

“Our end goal is to improve the success of Alaska Native students, and we know they do better academically when their languages and cultures are incorporated into schools. Having Alaska Native educators who are knowledgeable in those areas is a key part of that,” Worl said.

“We're excited to partner with SHI in this expanded effort,” said UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield. “This partnership is significant, not only for the support of students in our teacher and administrator preparation programs, but for the tremendous number of Alaska students they will impact in the span of their careers as educators and role models."

The priorities under the new partnership, called PITAAS VII, are to :

  • Support Alaska Native students and educators for initial or advanced certification or degrees in education or Indigenous language and culture
  • Support professional development activities for educators, including PITAAs scholars and university faculty, on issues affecting Alaska Native students
  • Revitalize Alaska Native languages and cultures
  • Offer career preparation activities that enable Alaska Native pre-service teachers in the PITAAS program an opportunity to gain valuable work experience as well as guided education experiences with Alaska Native educators in SHI's annual Latseen Leadership Academy

SHI and UAS also will launch a Teacher of Distinction program, which will include an award ceremony and monetary prize for an outstanding teacher. The program also will fund SHI’s annual lecture series and the UAS oratory competition and Native graduation ceremony at UAS. 

Tuition Waivers

Alaska Native freshmen and sophomore students who are interested in becoming a teacher or administrator in Alaska, are enrolled in a qualifying UAS course and have a 2.0 cumulative GPA are eligible to apply for tuition waivers for up to eight credits in their freshmen and sophomore years through the following courses:

Subject Course Title Credits
AKL S104 Tlingit II 1
AKL S106 Beginning Tlingit II 4
AKL S206 Intermediate Tlingit II 4
AKL S350 Tlingit Oral Literature 3
AKL S193P Conversational Tsimshian 1
AKL S393 Advanced Tsimshian II 4
AKL S241 Native Oratory 1
ART S263 Northwest Coast Native Art History & Culture 3
ANTH  475 Alaska Native Social Change 2

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director, 907.586.9116,; Ronalda Cadiente-Brown, UAS Assistant Dean, Indigenous and Multicultural Education and P.I.T.A.A.S.Director, 907.796.6058,

Caption: SHI President Rosita Worl, Ph.D., and UAS Chancellor Richard Caulfield, Ph.D., at a recent ceremony to sign a new memorandum of agreement to partner on the PITAAS program. Photo by Lyndsey Brollini, courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute.

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