Zoe Higheagle Strong, a Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) tribal member, joined the Office of the Provost in 2018. She currently oversees the Office of Tribal Relations, Native American Programs, and the Center for Native American Research and Collaborations, and is an Associate Professor in Educational Psychology, in the College of Education on the WSU Pullman campus.
The Office of Tribal Relations helps facilitate collaborations and reciprocal relationships between WSU systemwide and Tribes that respects their sovereignty, knowledge systems, values, and protocols. The Executive Policy 41 on Tribal Engagement, Consultation and Consent and the MOU with 13 signatory Northwest Tribes is intended to guide these relationships. Native American Programs provides youth pathway programs, undergraduate and graduate programs and services. The Center for Native American Research and Collaboration hosts a series of faculty development, training and collaborative research gatherings.
Higheagle Strong has served in various leadership roles to support and advance tribal sovereignty and Native American education pathways, knowledge systems, and cultural values in policies, teaching, and programming. She has also focused on creating equitable, safe, and relational learning spaces for those from historically marginalized communities. She remains active in grant-funded research that examines social, emotional, and cultural factors that influence students’ identity, safety, belonging, and learning in educational environments. Her overall research goals are to 1) identify positive strategies to support students from Native American and ethnically diverse backgrounds who experience perceived threats (e.g., peer aggression/bullying, injustice, racism) and resource barriers in schools, and 2) advance culturally sustaining/revitalizing educational research specific to Native American tribes/villages and peoples.