News Release – UNM, Diné College to Partner on Community, Cultural Identity Grant

UNM Prof. Ted Jojola, Ph.D., was at Diné College Thursday to discuss a joint grant proposal with officials. The grant relates to curriculum and community outreach efforts with respect to place-knowing and cultural identity.​ At right is Prof. Karla Britton, Ph.D.


Aug. 23, 2019

TSAILE, Ariz. — Distinguished University of New Mexico Professor Ted Jojola, Ph.D, visited Diné College Thursday to meet with the college’s president, faculty members and the Dean of Arts, Humanities and English to talk about a joint project on “Creative Place-making.”

The project focuses on empowering people at the grassroots level to revitalize their communities through place-knowing and cultural identity.

Jojola, who is the Regents Professor in Planning and Community Development at the UNM, is a well-known Isleta Pueblo educator and an expert in indigenous planning. He founded the Indigenous Design and Planning Institute at the UNM School of Architecture and Planning. The institute provides expertise and resources to tribes by helping them with planning and design that is sustainable, and creates thriving and healthy communities.

Jojola met with art history professor Karla Britton, Ph.D., and Dean Paul Willeto, Ed.D., as well as Diné College President Charles Monty Roessel to discuss partnering on an upcoming grant. The grant would allow Diné College and UNM students and faculty to collaborate and work together on developing curriculum and community outreach efforts.

Jojola said they have succeeded with articulation agreements with other schools. “But here, we’re exposing the possibility of actually working together to build some curriculum. That would be around design. I am here to see if Diné College would be willing to partner on proposals we have been invited to submit.”

Britton said they reached out to Jojola earlier to invite the Diné Policy Institute (DPI) to work with the college in support of another grant initiative related to contemporary Navajo art.

“The partnership was established this past summer and we continue to develop it. I think it is important for students here who are part of the BFA program to be exposed to ideas that DPI represents,” Britton said. “A key question is how do we offer our students patterns of resilience that are rooted in their own identity, culture and values? In particular, we’re interested in understanding the way that arts contribute to economic development and economic stability in indigenous communities.”

Willeto was pleased with Thursday’s discussions. “This would be a great program for Diné College students who are in the BFA program,” Willeto said.

Grant recipients will be announced Oct. 13.



Marie R. Etsitty Nez 
Vice President of External Affairs

George Joe, M.A., M.Ed, Director Of Marketing and Communications

Bernie DotsonPublic Relations Officer

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