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Indigenous Education Network

Dr. Stephanie Waterman, PhD


photo of Dr. Waterman

Stephanie J. Waterman is Onondaga, Turtle Clan, from the Onondaga Nation. She is the mother of two daughters and a proud grandmother of two—a grandson and a granddaughter. She earned her doctorate from Syracuse University after working there in 11 different departments. Her research has explored Native American/ Indigenous college student experiences. She and her colleagues, Heather J. Shotton, and Shelly C. Lowe edited the first book on Native American student affairs, Beyond the Asterisk: Understanding Native Students in Higher education (Stylus, 2013), and are editing their second book, Beyond College Access: Indigenizing Programs for Student Success (Stylus, projected launch 2016).

Indigenous post-secondary student success—making the experience more than survival—is what drives her work. Many Indigenous students center their culture as they navigate postsecondary institutions, using their families and communities as foundations to their resiliency. Institutions, however, vary greatly in how they understand and support Indigenous students. Many institutions in the United States are unaware that there is an Indigenous student population on their campus.

Teaching Overview Fall 2020 

LHA1856 - Advanced Student Development Theories in Higher Education 

Mondays 5:00 - 8:00 pm

This course builds upon the knowledge gained in LHA1854: Student Development Theories in Higher Education. The course will more deeply examine psychosocial, cognitive structural, and typological theories. With a focus on intersectionality and story we will examine how race, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and spirituality can influence development. Students will learn to use theories to improve our work with students. We will not do so without critical examination of the theories.

LHA5804 - Indigenous Student Experiences in Higher Education

Tuesdays 5:00 - 8:00 pm

This course examines the origins, present status, challenges and future directions of student development within the context of higher education in western society. Sessions will review the evidence from research and practice that identify key factors influencing student development in post-secondary education. As higher education professionals working with college students, it is necessary that we have some understanding of how college students make meaning of themselves and their environment. We will critically examine the major theories of human development - how students come to understand themselves, their place in the world, and how they understand the world. There are many external and internal factors at play; we will learn as much as possible so we can support students and facilitate growth.


Teaching Overview Winter 2021

LHA5804 - Indigenous Student Experiences in Higher Education

Tuesdays 5:00 - 8:00 pm 

This course is comprised of three main sections. The first (weeks 1 and 2) covers introductory and foundational concepts that are relevant to the overall course. The second section (weeks 3-6) explore the sequence of a student experience from recruitment to graduation. The last section (weeks 7-12) explores various elements that may influence the ways in which Indigenous learners experience post-secondary learning.


Current Research

“Islands of Sanctuary: Native American Student Affairs” Aboriginal/Indigenous/First Nations student support units.

The purpose of this research is to study Native American Student Affairs (NASA) units, personnel, and those institutional administrators, staff, and faculty with whom they interact. No studies of Native/Indigenous/First Nations student support units exist. Eighty-seven units have been identified in the United States and 55 in Canada. As an organizational strategy, units will be ordered by National Association of Student Personnel regions that include international units such as those in Canada.

An interactive map is being constructed that will locate NASA units, link to their webpage, and identify the Indigenous territory associated with the unit. A link to a simple map can be accessed here: https://www.warner.rochester.edu/pages/nasau/


2013  Native American Leadership and Mentoring Award presented by the Rochester Institute of Technology, Future Stewards Program

2012  Outstanding Research Award from the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community.

2010 Certificate of Appreciation from the Warner Graduate Student Association LGBTQ & Allies, Special Interest Group, University of Rochester.

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