Sealaska shareholder Diane Benson has been appointed assistant professor at the University of Fairbanks (UAF) Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development (DANSRD).
DANSRD’s mission is to increase cultural awareness and strengthen leadership capacity for rural and indigenous communities in Alaska and the Circumpolar North.
“I could not be in better company,” said Benson. “Working for DANSRD in many ways is a dream come true. I get to teach a spectrum of courses focused on certain historical, legal and social areas, such as ANCSA, Legislative Affairs, and Circumpolar Health. It is wonderful to be a part of such a great team dedicated to excellence and the educational advancement of rural Alaska and beyond.”
DANSRD is a full Alaska Native studies and rural development program at UAF. It has an auxiliary campus in Anchorage. Potential students may apply and take courses from anywhere there is a telephone connection and Internet. This is why the program is so agreeable for rural and working students.
DANSRD is housed under the College of Rural and Community Development (CRCD) and serves nearly two-thirds of Alaska, encompassing 160 primarily Alaska Native communities. CRCD focuses on responding to students and partners to develop the economic and social well-being of Alaska Native communities and beyond. Students can acquire a vocational education at the certificate and associate degree levels, may earn a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in rural development, and through CRCD may obtain degrees in cooperation with the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Education in cross-cultural studies, education or social work.
Benson is Tlingit, Yeil (Raven) T'akdeintaan (Sitka) and her Tlingit name is L'xeis'.