First Nations EdD Cohort

Community of Learners Developing leaders in First Nations Education

Transformative. Intense. Rigorous.

These are the words students use to describe UW-Green Bay’s first-ever doctoral program—the only one of its kind in the state of Wisconsin—the Doctorate Degree in Education (Ed.D.) in First Nations Education. The four-year program enrolled its first cohort of 12 students in the fall of 2018.

This is exactly what UW-Green Bay Associate Professor and Program Director Lisa Poupart, Ph.D. had in mind as she and her colleagues developed the program. Born out of feedback from First Nations communities throughout the state, leaders asked for a very specific, rigorous program that would balance relational, face-to-face learning with concrete, usable outcomes requiring graduates to further promote cultural insurgence and the vitality of future generations.

“There’s a rigor to the program,” says Poupart. “The listening sessions provided this feedback—they want graduates who understand difficult concepts and can talk about them and write grants, etc. We are telling the students that their communities set a high standard, and we are going to hit those marks.”

Building Community

The Ed.D. in First Nations Education program is centered in indigenous knowledge systems and draws upon indigenous teaching and learning methods from elders and oral scholars, as well as faculty expertise. Classes consist of a set of core courses offered primarily in face-to-face settings, reflecting the strong commitment to the oral tradition rooted in First Nations culture. UW-Green Bay was a natural fit to host the first-of-its-kind doctoral program because of its 20-year history of teaching First Nations education at the University, and its tribal Elders in Residence program.

First Nations EdD Cohort
The Ed.D. in First Nations cohort of learners gathers for a meal following a Saturday class.

The inaugural cohort of 12 began its second fall term in 2019. According to Poupart, the cohort model accurately reflects indigenous teaching and learning, and reflects a true community. “We’ve built something within a community, and the group learns with and supports one another. To have these experiences together is really central to their success in the program.”

Bawaajigekwe Andrea DeBungie, a current student in the cohort, describes her 14 months within the program as transformative. DeBungie is a special education teacher in Ashland, Wisconsin and the recipient of the 2020 Special Services Teacher of the Year in Wisconsin. “The program is very different than anything I have ever experienced, as a teacher or anything,” says DeBungie. “The experiences have helped shape and reshape how I function as an educator, mother, human being.”

The group clearly considers itself a family of support for each other. “There is such encouragement and support within the cohort, and that 100% includes the instructors,” says DeBungie. “I would not be able to do this program otherwise. We all agreed and had conversations about this. We are stronger together.”

Transferring Knowledge

Her experiences have already had an impact in her classroom, specifically as it relates to what she calls the four R’s – relationships, respect, reciprocity and responsibility. “(The program) focuses on relationships, and all students benefit from teachers who invest into them. It has helped me become more intentional as an educator,” says DeBungie, “and work to shift the power dynamic in the classroom from one expert to a community of reciprocal learners and reciprocal relationship.”

“That has been the biggest thing for me. It’s so empowering and so liberating for me as an individual and for the students.”

Fellow cohort member, Waqnahwew Ben Grignon, is a traditional arts teacher at Menominee High School in Keshena, Wisconsin and the 2019 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year. A lifelong member of the Menominee Nation, he works to bridge the regular, traditional curriculum with indigenous thinking. His students recently discussed the geometric designs found in traditional beaded belts to help students remember geometric formulas.

The doctoral program challenges all students to think differently, reconnect with their original ancestral teachings and apply it to indigenous education right now. “One weekend we had a small group presentation of a book we were reading,” says Grignon. “This group chose to talk about the book while we were sewing baby moccasins.” Their discussion evolved into radical topics including governance and the state of education in indigenous communities.

“I’m now able to look at a material object (the moccasins) and think back to the discussions we had about the book and what it meant to sit together in community while doing a traditional art,” says Grignon, “and reconnect to the things our ancestors have been doing for thousands of years.”

Exceptional Learning

This type of learning opportunity is at the heart of the program. A weekend class, for instance, focused on generational healing, inviting a plant medicine elder to work with students. The group took plant medicine walks, participated in conversations about healing and cooked traditional, non-addictive pain medicine from student-gathered ingredients. “This was not a western formalized classroom,” says Poupart, “but indigenous formal learning.”

While intense and time-consuming, the program gives a place and space for these highly motivated and extremely committed learners to expand, grow and talk about similar challenges and experiences.

“We are creating a space for them to explore what they are already capable of doing,” says Poupart, “and the energy of that? They are unstoppable.”

–Story by freelance writer Kristin Bouchard ’93

Open Forums: Sheboygan Campus Executive Officer Candidates

The final candidates in the search for search for the UW-Green Bay Sheboygan Campus executive officer will be on the Sheboygan campus next week, located at One University Drive, Sheboygan, WI 53081. Each candidate will discuss their “vision for the future of UW-Green Bay, Sheboygan Campus” in an open forum for the campus community. The open forum schedule is as follows:

Date Candidate (CV) Time Location
Monday, Dec. 16, 2019 James Schramm (pdf) 9:30-10:30 a.m. Sheboygan Campus, Room #2223 / Skype
Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019 Dane Checolinski (pdf) 9:30-10:30 a.m. Sheboygan Campus, Room #2223 / Skype

Server migration postponed

The previously communicated server migration that had been planned for over the weekend (Dec. 6-8, 2019) has been postponed due to complications. The scope of this project is large, encompassing the site and all UW-Green Bay network blogs. Plans to re-attempt the migration will be forthcoming. The Marketing and University Communication Office and the Information Technology Web Development, Server and Network Administrator teams apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Common CAHSS 2019: Human Rights

Register in person for Common CAHSS

Online registration has closed for the Common CAHSS event taking place in the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019). Registration will be available in-person from 8:30 a.m. throughout the course of the day. Stop by the registration table.

Common CAHSS is organized by the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. It is a day-long recognition marking the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Planned as an annual event, the inaugural Common CAHSS 2019: Human Rights features 30 activities involving creative engagement with human rights issues. These include discussions and presentations as well as art exhibits, musical and improv performances and more. The conference concludes with keynote speaker Rais Bhuiyan, founder of the non-profit “World Without Hate” at 6 p.m. in the Weidner Center. All activities are free and open to the public.

UW-Green Bay news will freeze temporarily for server migration

The UW-Green Bay Inside News site ( will not be publishing new content from Friday, Dec. 5 through the weekend. This hold is due to a UW-Green Bay server update that will occur over the weekend. When this process is complete, the Inside News site will have a new look, improved security and improved functionality. This update impacts all UW-Green Bay network blog sites.

The migration schedule is as follows:

  • Friday, Dec 6 – Content will be exported from current blog sites
  • Saturday – Sunday, Dec 7-8 – Teams will work to transfer all of the blog content over to the new environment. This will include updating network information (so that the URLs will point to the new blog locations) and more testing.
  • Monday, Dec 9 – The transition should be complete sometime on Monday. It is possible that the process may take until Tuesday, at the latest.

The Marketing and University Communication office and the Information Technology Web Development, Server and Network Administrator teams thank you for your patience.

Art Agency Sale

Art Agency Art Sale – Dec. 2

The fifth biennial Art Agency Art Sale will be held on Monday, December 2, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m in Phoenix Room C of the University Union located at 2430 Campus Court, Green Bay, WI 54311. The sale is an opportunity for UW-Green Bay student, faculty/staff and alumni artists to sell work while generating a small profit to help fund the Art Agency student organization. Commission will be 5% for students and 10% for alumni and faculty/staff participants. Featured mediums include ceramics, painting, prints, photography and more. This event is open to the public. Cash and pass points transactions only.

Art Agency is the UW-Green Bay visual arts advocacy student group. As a part of their mission, their student volunteers organized the sale including planning, coordinating participants, promoting the event and staffing the sale.

Participating artists:

  • Jeremey Berry, Student
  • Keith Carter, Associate Lectuer, Ceramics
  • Andrea Cornett, Student
  • Kassie Corroy, Student
  • Lydia Delikat, Student
  • Renae Geimer, Student
  • Kaci Hess, Student
  • Nora Klein, Student
  • Kieran Krueger, Student
  • Elyse Lemke, Student
  • Chue Lo, Student
  • Madeline Marsh, Student
  • Brittney Meyer, Student
  • Miranda Moeller, Student
  • Olivia Salm, Student
  • Kimberly Vlies, Staff
  • Nora Wesner, Student
  • Lisa Wicka, Assistant Professor, Art

Saluting the flag at the UW-Green Bay Veterans Day Reception

Photo gallery: Saluting UW-Green Bay veterans, families and active military

Typically a combination of both somber and celebratory, the annual UW-Green Bay Chancellor’s Veteran Reception, held Monday, November 11, 2019, was no exception. The Phoenix Room was packed, as members of the campus and community gathered to honor vets and active military members.

As Chancellor Van Gruensven welcomed guests, she shared her personal story and pride in those who sacrifice and serve. Van Gruensven’s father, Robert Starck, Sr. is an 87-year old Marine and Korean War veteran, who still wears his scars, and, she shared, “has a purple heart in his memory chest.” Van Gruensven shared the pain of the tremendous loss suffered by her family, when a nephew, a former member of the 82nd Airborne Unit in the Army, passed from complications brought on by PTSD following multiple tours in the Middle East.

Jones, a UW-Green Bay Police officer, is a member of the 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota, Air National Guard, and returned recently from active duty. But while he and his fellow soldiers have returned without casualty, he has witnessed plenty of it… especially in the States. Jones was an innocent bystander and concert goer at what has been labeled the “Las Vegas Massacre,” where 58 people were killed and more than 500 injured in October of 2017 at a country music concert in Las Vegas. Jones, a decorated officer, was able to use his instincts as a police officer and trained military to usher his friends and other concert goer to safety during the horrific few moments when a gunman sprayed the crowd with bullets from a nearby hotel room and then committed suicide.

Jones spoke to the packed room about life lessons in resiliency.

UW-Green Bay Music, once again honored the vets with an “Armed Forces Salute.”

Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.

Chancellors Veterans Reception-1

– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication

Finalist interviews are Nov. 11-14 for assistant vice chancellor for Enrollment Services

The final candidates in the search for an assistant vice chancellor for Enrollment Services will be on campus next week. Each candidate will discuss the “the future of enrollment services at regional comprehensive universities” in an open forum for the campus community. Please consider attending.

Open Forum Schedule:

Date Candidate Time Location
Monday, Nov. 11 Travis Durepo CV (pdf) 10:15 – 11 a.m. UU-103 / Alumni Room
Wednesday, Nov. 13 Stephen McKellips CV (pdf) 11 – 11:45 a.m. Christie Theatre
Thursday, Nov. 14 Jennifer Jones CV (pdf) 11:15 a.m. – 12 p.m. Christie Theatre
Friday, Nov 15 Amber Michaels Schmitt CV (pdf) 10:15 – 11 a.m. Christie Theatre