Montana State University

MSU education professor wins national award for excellence in multicultural education

November 15, 2013 -- MSU News Service


Jioanna Carjuzaa recently received the G. Pritchy Smith Multicultural Educator of the Year Award, given for evidence of scholarly commitment to teaching from a multicultural perspective, addressing multiple facets of diversity, and setting an example of multicultural ideals and practices. Photo courtesy of the MSU Department of Education.   High-Res Available

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Montana State University education professor Jioanna Carjuzaa has received one of the nation’s top awards for commitment to and excellence in multicultural education.

The G. Pritchy Smith Multicultural Educator of the Year Award is given for evidence of long-term, scholarly commitment to teaching from a multicultural perspective; addressing multiple facets of diversity in his or her work; and setting an example of multicultural ideals and practices. The National Association for Multicultural Education gives the award annually.

“Dr. Carjuzaa is a highly skilled and dedicated teacher, and she is an excellent choice for this award,” said Lynda Ransdell, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Development. “This is the top educator honor given by the National Association for Multicultural Education, and past winners include several of the leading educator-scholars in the field.”

For more than two decades, Carjuzaa has distinguished herself as a multicultural educator who promotes educational equity and dismantles social injustice. With her commitment to implementing culturally responsive pedagogy and the personal connections she has in Indian country, Carjuzaa is also considered one of the nation’s leading scholars on the implementation of Indian Education for All, according to the National Association for Multicultural Education. Indian Education for All is a constitutional mandate that aims to ensure that every Montanan, whether Indian or non-Indian, learns about the distinct and unique heritage of American Indians in a culturally responsive manner.

Carjuzaa said that culturally responsive pedagogy is designed to ensure everyone’s cultural heritage is valued and life experiences are validated.

“Culturally responsive pedagogy makes people aware there is nothing neutral about education,” she said. “It’s important that we all learn about our collective history.”

Since 2006, Carjuzaa has served as an associate professor at MSU, where she teaches courses in education and Native American studies. Prior to coming to MSU, she was a tenured professor at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., and Rocky Mountain College in Billings. She also taught at the University of Colorado and the University of Pennsylvania and has an extensive publishing record. Carjuzaa has a doctorate in multicultural, social and bilingual foundations of education from the University of Colorado-Boulder, as well as a master’s degree in multicultural education with an emphasis in linguistic diversity and a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Carjuzaa said she is deeply honored to receive the G. Pritchy Smith Multicultural Educator of the Year Award because it brings attention to the important work of Indian Education for All.

“We’ve gotten a lot of attention internationally and nationally (for Indian Education for All),” Carjuzaa said. “This (award) is a wonderful way to celebrate the work that so many of us are doing here in Montana.”

More information about the G. Pritchy Smith Multicultural Educator of the Year Award and the National Association for Multicultural Education is available at http://nameorg.org/annual-awards/.  

Contact: Jioanna Carjuzaa, (406) 994-4941 or carjuzaa@montana.edu