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Monday, August 19, 2013

Bryant picked to lead UNCP’s Southeast American Indian Studies

Dr. Alfred Bryant, a faculty member and associate dean of the School of Education, has been named founding director of UNC Pembroke’s new Southeast American Indian Studies (SAIS) program.

Alfred Bryant“UNCP is very fortunate to have Dr. Bryant in this position,” said Dr. Mark Canada, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, where the program is located.  “He brings both administrative experience and a research background to the program.  The SAIS is in very good hands.”

The Southeast American Indian Studies program was launched by Chancellor Kyle R. Carter in 2012. He said it would become a signature academic program capitalizing on existing university resources and its location in Pembroke. Chancellor Carter said the SAIS would eventually become a stand-alone school with a dean at its head.

Dr. Bryant, who is a UNCP graduate and has been a member of the faculty since 2001, will build a foundation for the program.

“When they approached me to be director of the program, I thought it over carefully,” he said. “It’s a unique opportunity that I feel I am well prepared for. It’s a two-year commitment to get the Southeast American Indian Studies program up and running.

“The program began as an idea, and I think it’s a good idea,” Dr. Bryant said. “My job will be to define SAIS with the help of the implementation committee.”

The SAIS committee represents stakeholders and leaders of important components of the program, such as Dr. Mary Ann Jacobs, chair of the Department of American Indian Studies, and Dr. Stan Knick, director of the Native American Resource Center and curator of its museum.

“Combining the entities of academics and other resources into a coherent program and work to make it the school of Southeast American Indian Studies are initial priorities for the founding director,” Dr. Bryant said.

Dr. Bryant is an experienced grant writer and has performed research on a wide spectrum of American Indian populations. Early on, he will hire a fundraiser and create a national advisory board. Other priorities include creating an Elder in Residence program and a digital archive.

Dr. Bryant’s career at UNCP has been marked by progress in every facet of university service. He has risen through the tenure process to the rank of full professor and is chair of the School of Education’s Department of School Administration and Counseling. He was recently promoted to associate dean.

“I will continue as a member of the faculty and in my duties as associate dean,” Dr. Bryant said. “This is the best of both worlds for me.”

Dr. Bryant does not view his new role leading SEAIS as a “big jump.”

“I am from this community and tied to it,” he said. “I know many of the key players with the North Carolina Commission on Indian Affairs, the Lumbee Tribe and other tribes in North Carolina.”

Dr. Bryant’s research has centered on “racial identity,” most recently with American Indian youth. He recently completed a research project with Wake Forest University’s Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity to study mental health issues among local American Indian youth.

Dr. Bryant also did research on aging Native populations as part of a post-doctoral program at the Native Elder Center of the University of Colorado, and he continued his research at NC State University.

Dr. Bryant received a master’s degree and Ph.D. in counselor education from NC State. His 20-year career in education includes working as a high school counselor and as a visiting lecturer as NC State. He also served a one-year fellowship with the American Council on Education’s leadership development program.

He is an experienced grant writer and program manager. His first job at UNCP was as director of the Youth Opportunity Program, a program at UNCP’s Regional Center. He has authored or co-authored several grants to study local health issues. Dr. Bryant’s work has been published in journals of education, counseling and psychology.

For more information about the Southeast American Indian Studies Program, contact Dr. Bryant at 910.775.4009 or email alfred.bryant@uncp.edu.

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