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Tribal Leader Karen Diver Joins MTAG Program

February 16, 2017

 Former White House special assistant for Native American Affairs is teaching at UMD.

After serving as President Obama’s Special Assistant for Native American Affairs, Karen Diver is back in the Northland and teaching in UMD’s Master of Tribal Administration and Governance (MTAG) program.

Diver’s class meets this Friday, February 17 at 6 p.m. in room 175 of Kirby Plaza, 1208 University Drive. She’s available to talk about her decision to join the MTAG team from 5:30 – 6 p.m.

Rich Knowledge Base

A graduate of UMD, Diver brings extensive tribal leadership to campus. Most recently, she served as the Special Assistant to the President for Native American Affairs.

Before heading to Washington D.C., she was the chairwoman of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa where she increased her tribe’s land base by 10%, funded broadband expansion on the reservation, and invested $13-million in the expansion of Duluth’s Center for American Indian Resources.

MTAG Roots

Diver was already familiar with MTAG before she started teaching Applied Leadership and Ethics in January, joining the only graduate degree program in the U.S. that trains people specifically in the best management practices for tribal governments. She was among the tribal leaders who provided input on the program’s development.

Tadd Johnson, director of Graduate Studies in the American Indian Studies Department, says partnership with tribal leaders like Diver is vital to the program. “Karen crystallized what others were saying. Tribal leaders wanted the master’s degree to train future tribal managers to be able to identify the mission, budget, and personnel needed for any project a tribe may encounter.”

Many of Diver’s students serve as tribal administrators, council members, or tribal leaders, so her curriculum is framed by these roles.

The MTAG was launched in 2011. Diver’s teaching the fifth cohort to pursue the program.

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