|Title||500 Maori PhDs in five years: Insights from a successful indigenous higher education initiative|
With this thesis, I present a case study of the effort to graduate 500 Maori doctorates in five years in New Zealand in order to advance our understanding of a successful Indigenous higher education initiative. By paying careful attention to contextual factors, I describe the theoretical and practical significance of this effort and discuss the implications for higher education and for Alaska Native doctoral development. Through the presentation of data, I explore why such an effort was desirable for Maori, how this initiative was made possible, and what kinds of changes it has inspired. I argue that the goal of supporting the development of 500 Maori PhDs is fundamentally aspirational and focused on generating success through establishing right relationships as specified in Maori cultural understandings and beliefs about creation, or cosmogony. Maori culture and cosmogony serve as foundation for inquiry and allows for an alternate conception of scholarship that is not based in academic disciplines or tertiary education institutions. The Maori doctoral development initiative has inspired similar efforts to develop Indigenous doctorates in First Nations communities in Canada, Native Hawaiian communities, and Alaska Native communities. As such, this study seeks to provide information about how this initiative emerged and took hold to those interested and involved in Indigenous higher education development. Case study data include: institutional documents and archival recordsï¼› data from interviews with 44 initiative leaders, participants, and university administratorsï¼› and participant observation data from gatherings of Maori scholars. I draw on analytic methods from grounded theory, including: open and axial coding, data displays, and the constant comparative method. In order to come to a full understanding of the particularities and resonant qualities of this case, I also draw on existing research on Maori social and political movements, Indigenous higher education, and the history of universities and scholarly development. Through this dissertation, I hope to engage Maori people, Alaska Native and Indigenous leaders, and higher education researchers in a conversation about how the Maori doctoral development effort might inform our understandings about higher education development in an Indigenous context.
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