An associate professor of educational leadership in Northern Arizona University’s College of Education has been selected to become the university’s first special adviser to the president on Native American issues.

Joseph Martin, who joined NAU in 1997, will assume the role July 1.

“This position is important for the university in terms of becoming the leading university in the country for serving American Indian students,” Martin said. “I look forward to the opportunity to work alongside President Haeger to assist the university in reaching its goals.”

The special adviser on Native American affairs will work to enhance NAU’s partnerships with tribal governments and communities, assist with the new Native American cultural center, and encourage faculty and staff with research and academic programming related to Native Americans. The adviser also will help coordinate the activities of the Institute for Native American’s Tribal Advisory Council and the Commission for Native Americans.

“Professor Martin has the skill set and experience necessary to serve as an ambassador between the university and the state’s 22 Native American tribes,” said NAU President John Haeger. “His academic training and background will help the university address some of the unique opportunities and challenges among our Native American student population.”

The position is partly in response to a new Arizona Board of Regents policy on tribal consultation, which was adopted in December following a Governor’s Executive Order. The policy asks the state’s three public institutions to develop tribal consultation practices, which include designating a liaison.

Haeger announced that he would choose an adviser from the NAU community. As a result, Martin will continue to teach but will be allowed release time to assume his other responsibilities.

“I am pleased that President Haeger has selected this outstanding individual to serve as his special adviser on Native American issues,” said LuAnn Leonard, a member of the Arizona Board of Regents and executive director of the Hopi Education Endowment Fund. “Dr. Martin is highly accomplished and well respected.  I know that he will work in partnership with all tribes to enhance the services that NAU provides, and I look forward to working with him.”

Martin has worked with tribes across the country as well as the K-12 community. He also has worked in Europe—Italy specifically—and believes his travels will help him put into perspective the needs of students, faculty and staff.

“It’s important to know what issues will benefit students in the short term and the long term and at the same time positioning NAU as a major university that knows its way around issues affecting Native American students, which is especially critical during these hard budget times” he said.

Some of the issues Martin hopes to address include working with K-12 schools to prepare Native students for higher education. He hopes that because of his efforts working with tribes and K-12 schools and through establishing communication links with colleges and departments, his work will have a positive impact on the retention and graduation rates for Native students.

Martin also wants to increase opportunities for Native students and faculties to collaborate on critical research topics that will benefit tribes and the university community.

“This position provides an opportunity for NAU to be that university that knows how to serve Native students where failure is not an option,” he said.

Martin has degrees from Arizona State University and the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley. His research interests include school effectiveness, school improvement and reform, American Indian education, leadership in American Indian schools, school board training and organizational development.

Martin was recommended by a six-member search committee, including David Camacho, special assistant to the president and associate vice president for Diversity and Equity, chair; Priscilla Sanderson, assistant professor, Health and Human Services and Applied Indigenous Studies; Chad Hamill, assistant professor, School of Music;Dean Smith, professor, The W.A. Franke College of Business; Maxine Janis, assistant clinical professor, Dental Hygiene; and Sylvia Laughter of the Institute for Native Americans advisory council.