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Job Opportunity: Director of Wokini and Tribal Relations Student Affairs South Dakota State University


Last updated 5/3/2021 at 1:35pm

South Dakota State University (SDSU) is searching for a dynamic, innovative, and collaborative leader to fill the role of Director of Wokini and Tribal Relations. The Wokini Initiative, translated to "new beginnings" in Lakota, is SDSU's collaborative and holistic framework to support the nine tribal nations in South Dakota emphasizing American Indian student success and tribal nation building. The next Director will embrace the core values of SDSU as a people-centered leader, valuing creativity, diversity, integrity, and excellence. This individual will have strong knowledge of American Indian and indigenous culture with emphasis on the nine tribal nations in South Dakota. Through strong partnership with the leadership of the American Indian Student Center and American Indian Studies Program, the Director will build on the solid foundation of the Wokini Initiative to take SDSU's efforts to a new level, working collaboratively across the University to serve American Indian people at the University, in our state, and throughout the region and nation.

The focus of the Wokini Initiative is to increase the number of American Indian students enrolled at SDSU, support their academic success, and improve their graduation rates. To this purpose, three key goals of the Initiative have been identified within our five-year plan: enhance cultural programming and support for American Indian students; offer Wokini scholarships for citizens of the nine tribal nations in South Dakota; and enhance research and outreach partnerships with tribes, tribal colleges and universities (TCU) and other tribal organizations. The Director will report to the Vice President for Student Affairs. This is a 12 month, full-time, benefit-eligible position. Must be authorized to work in the U.S. Sponsorship is not available for this position.

SDSU is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the experiences of underrepresented minorities in organizations. Women, minorities, veterans, and people with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.

Major Duties & Responsibilities:

· Provide leadership, management, and coordination for the operations of the Wokini and Tribal Relations Office. Develop goals, strategies, progress reports, and quality improvement plans to ensure high quality services are being provided and the goals of the Wokini Initiative are being achieved. Lead a team of individuals within the Wokini and Tribal Relations Office to include people-centered supervision, strong hiring practices, ongoing training and development, and appropriate accountability with a focus on continuous development and support.

· Maintain strong partnership between Wokini, American Indian Student Center and American Indian Studies program to meet the goals of the Wokini Initiative.

· Engage with American Indian students attending SDSU in intentional ways to build relationships, create strong understanding of their needs, and inform the work of the Wokini Initiative. Collaborate with and provide support to the Division of Student Affairs and the American Indian Student Center on student recruitment; student success and retention; and student programming.

· Successfully achieve external funding program objectives. Identify and collaborate with University partners on external funding opportunities to further the goals of the Wokini Initiative. Build relationships with offices, entities, and units to match available funds, resources, and opportunities across SDSU for comprehensive support of student success and support of Wokini related initiatives.

· Coordinate and collaborate with Academic Affairs to develop outreach opportunities for American Indian students, TCUs, and examine and develop opportunities to infuse American Indian culture into the curriculum as appropriate.

· Lead the Wokini Leadership Council to establish strong collaboration across key areas impacting the success of Wokini, enhance communication, and lead key initiatives.

· Build and maintain relationships to enhance tribal relations through the President's Wokini Advisory Council, state tribal leaders, tribal education directors, TCUs, and other entities and individuals to promote the Wokini Initiative.

· Establish collaborative relationships with state and national tribal education organizations to promote common goals and interests related to the Wokini Initiative.

· In collaboration and consultation with the tribal nations, tribal leaders, the four tribal colleges in SD, and SDSU faculty and staff, initiate Wokini programming. This may include providing leadership for national programs and initiatives such as the NIFA New Beginnings for Tribal Students, supporting collaborative external funding opportunities, facilitating research projects related to native communities, development of adult leadership programs designed around the structure and function of tribal governments, local communities, state and federal organizations, or other opportunities that may emerge. The goal of these programs is to improve economic development and student success.

· Work directly with the SDSU Foundation to promote the Wokini Initiative to fundraise for scholarships, programming efforts and other needs to infuse necessary funds for the on-going success of Wokini. This includes effective follow-up with donors to express gratitude and provide updates on the status of the program.

· Maintain strong relationship with SDSU lobbying firm(s) to promote opportunities consistent with the goals of the Wokini Initiative.

· Provide leadership for fiscal management and the use of funds from multiple sources to ensure funds are managed to promote the greatest impact.

· Lead the development of marketing and external relations plans to ensure success for Wokini Initiative. Plan should include regular communications to key stakeholders to include tribal nations and TCUs.

Required Qualifications:

· Earned Master's degree by date of application;

· At least five (5) years of experience working with American Indian initiatives;

· Strong experience building collaborative tribal nation partnerships;

· Successful grant writing and management experience;

· Ability to work with a variety of people and build relationships both internal and external to the University;

· Proven organizational skills;

· Valid driver's license or ability to obtain within 30 days of hire;

· Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

Preferred Qualification:

· At least two (2) years of experience working on American Indian initiatives in a collegiate setting;

· Creativity in working with limited resources;

· Skill to collaborate across disciplines and units;

· Fiscal management experience;

· Experience working with tribal colleges and universities.

Salary: Mid to upper 70's, depending on qualifications.


South Dakota State University offers a wide range of benefits including medical, dental, and flexible benefits, retirement plans, compensation packages, paid holidays, and vacation leave. Employees also have access to internal and state-sponsored training as well as reduced tuition for state-supported courses at all State of South Dakota academic institutions.


South Dakota State University is the state's largest, most comprehensive university with more than 200 programs and an enrollment of approximately 12,000 students.

SDSU offers a rich academic experience in an environment of inclusion and access through inspired, student-centered education, creative activities and research, innovation and engagement that improve the quality of life in South Dakota, the region, the nation, and the world. Its employees embrace the university's core values of being people-centered, expanding knowledge through creativity, embracing organizational and personal integrity, commitment to diversity, and excellence through continuous improvement.

As the state's 1862 Morrill Act land-grant institution, the work of the university is carried out on its main resident campus in Brookings, at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre, Rapid City, and Aberdeen, and through Extension offices and Agricultural Experiment Station research sites across South Dakota.

SDSU was recognized as one of 54 institutions in the United States as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities in 2014. The university's total research expenditures are greater than $60 million. SDSU is the state's first High Research Activity institution as classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Jackrabbits Athletics competes as an NCAA Division I member with membership in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the Summit League and the Big XII for wrestling.

Brookings is home to approximately 24,000 residents and is located 60 miles north of Sioux Falls and 200 miles west of Minneapolis. Livability.com rates Brookings as an ideal community for families, students, young professionals, and retirees. It considers Brookings among the safest and most vibrant cities in South Dakota.

The Brookings Public School District educates approximately 3,300 K-12 students and ranks among the state's highest academic achieving school districts. The district includes three elementary schools, an intermediate school for fourth and fifth grade, one middle school and a high school.

The city also boasts an abundance of attractions and activities, including the Children's Museum of South Dakota, Dakota Nature Park, South Dakota Art Museum, McCrory Gardens, South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, Outdoor Adventure Center, and the Brookings Summer Arts Festival.

Application Deadline:

Position is open until filled with full consideration given to applications received by May 21, 2021.

Application Process:

SDSU accepts applications through an on-line employment site. To apply, visit: https://yourfuture.sdbor.edu, search by the position title, view the job announcement, and click on "apply for this job." This system will guide you through the electronic application form. This employment site will also require the attachment of a cover letter, which should specifically address how the candidate meets the qualifications as outlined in the advertisement, resume, and a reference page with the contact information for three professional references. Email applications will not be accepted. Please contact SDSU Human Resources at (605) 688-4128 if you require assistance with this process.

Any offer of employment is contingent on the university's verification of credentials and other information required by law and/or university policies, including but not limited to, a criminal background check.

South Dakota State University is a tobacco free environment.

It is the policy of the University to maintain a drug-free environment and to thereby establish, promote, and maintain a safe and healthy working and learning environment for employees and students. This position is subject to South Dakota State University's Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy 4:14.

For questions on the position, contact Dr. Erica Moore, Search Committee Chair and Director of American Indian Student Center at 605-688-6416 or [email protected]


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