PEMBROKE — Alfred Bryant, a faculty member and associate dean of the School of Education, has been named founding director of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke's new Southeast American Indian Studies program.
“UNCP is very fortunate to have Dr. Bryant in this position,” said 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 and that the program would eventually become a stand-alone school with a dean at its head.
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 Southeast American Indian Studies committee represents stakeholders and leaders of important components of the program, such as Mary Ann Jacobs, chair of the Department of American Indian Studies, and Stan Knick, director of the Native American Resource Center and curator of its museum.
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke has several cultural and education programs that focus on Indian audiences and issues — the Southeast Indian Studies Conference, an annual academic conference; Native American Speaker Series, which is featuring national Indian actives and scholar Winona LaDuke on Sept. 19; and Honoring Native Foodways, an annual event with local and native foods.
The university also offers student programs such as American Indian Science and Engineering Society, Native American Student Organization, and native sororities and fraternities. There is also a faculty and staff association American Indian university employees.
Bryant is a grant writer who has done 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.
Bryant 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.
Bryant does not view his new role leading the Southeast American Indian Studies program 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.”
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.
He 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 N.C. State University.
Bryant received a master's degree and Ph.D. in counselor education from N.C. State Unicersity. His 20-year career in education includes working as a high school counselor and as a visiting lecturer as N.C. State. He also served a one-year fellowship with the American Council on Education's leadership development program.
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. Bryant's work has been published in journals of education, counseling and psychology.
For information about the Southeast American Indian Studies Program, contact Bryant at 910-775-4009 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.