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Faculty Development

Ruth Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills (Hidatsa, Mandan, Dakota, and Nakota)
Director of the Native American Studies Department Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College

Night Wind Woman, Ruth Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills (formerly Ruth Hall), Hidatsa, Mandan, Dakota, and Nakota, is the Director of the Native American Studies Department at the Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College. Project Role: Dr. Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills initiated the idea for the project while finishing up her Ph.D. dissertation examining experiences of Native students in natural resource management programs. She has been a senior member of the Willow-AGEP project through her association with UM, initially leading the project’s Social Science Research component. Since Fall 2020 Dr. Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills has been leading the Willow project at UM. In the remaining months of the project, she will continue to lead the project including the adaptation, implementation, and dissemination of the Willow model, as well as the research component, external evaluation, and other project activities.


Jennifer Harrington
(Cree and Metis, and a member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribe of North Dakota)

Graduate Program in Resource Conservation at the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at UM

Jennifer Harrington is Cree and Metis, and a member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribe of North Dakota. Jennifer is finishing her graduate program in Resource Conservation at the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at UM.  Jennifer has been working with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to develop recommendations on improving consultation between federal agencies and tribes, particularly in regard to environmental degradation and restoration on reservation and aboriginal territories.  Her work with tribes has given her a new perspective on resource management that is far more sustainable than the more recent colonial view of natural resources as a commodity.  Ms. Harrington is interested in continuing work with tribes on environmental issues that include the indigenous perspective and needs into restoration plans, to improve environmental health and to improve the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the federal government.

Programs supporting local Native American tribes
and Indigenous students pursuing STEM fields

The WILLOW Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate is a collaboration between University of Montana in Missoula, and Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana to develop, implement, and study a model for the professional success of faculty and instructional staff in science, technology, engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) who are enrolled in, and/or descendants of, Native American tribes. The WILLOW Alliance project is funded by the National Science Foundation and aims to increase success of Native American STEM Faculty and advance knowledge about issues impacting their career progression in STEM fields. The WILLOW Alliance project includes:

A mixed methods participatory approach research component will examine: 

  • the personal, relational, and collective experiences that enhance or inhibit professional development and career advancement of Native American STEM Faculty
  • the underlying institutional issues affecting promotion and advancement
  • the approaches Native American STEM Faculty use to support promotion and advancement
  • the ways different types of universities and colleges (tribal vs. non-tribal) support Native American STEM Faculty
  • the climate of STEM departments (comparing how non- Native American STEM Faculty and Native American STEM Faculty experience professional development, promotion and advancement)