Tribal college bestows first education degrees

Shiprock, New Mexico (AP) July 2011

Officials at the country’s first tribal college say they’re looking forward to awarding more bachelor’s degrees in elementary education.

Dine College on the Navajo Nation bestowed the first four-year degrees to handful of students in May.

School officials say five others will do student teaching this fall.

Students attending the college previously received the degrees through a partnership with Arizona State University.

Dine College now has an accredited program that prepares students to teach Navajo language courses and cultural studies, and that meets state and national standards.

Faculty member Dan Laughlin says the program fills a pressing need on the Navajo Nation for new teachers. He says turnover rates are high, and school districts struggle to recruit qualified teachers.