MISSOULA – The University of Montana has selected Dr. Karla Bird as its tribal outreach specialist in the Office of the President.
Bird — who is a member of the Blackfeet Tribe (Amskapi Piikani Nation) — will begin her new role at UM on Jan. 3, 2023.
“This role is vital for the University of Montana,” UM President Seth Bodnar said. “Dr. Bird comes to UM with a wealth of experience that will benefit all of us. I look forward to learning from and partnering with her as we continually work to ensure UM prioritizes excellence in Native American education.”
Most recently having served as the president of Blackfeet Community College, Bird holds a UM doctorate in educational leadership with an emphasis in higher education. She also received an M.A. in counselor education, as well as a B.A. in psychology with a research emphasis/minor in Native American studies.
Bird will serve as a UM liaison to tribal communities in the region, as well as an adviser to the campus community. A news release notes she will also serve as a resource and support to prospective and current Native students.
According to UM, Bird will build upon "the impressive contributions of a talented community of Native faculty and staff, elevate Indigenous scholarship and help sustain recent UM success in recruiting and retaining Native students."
Bodnar created the tribal outreach specialist position in 2018 at the recommendation of Montana’s tribal college presidents during their annual meeting. Bird will be a member of the President’s Office staff and will report to Chief of Staff Kelly Webster.
“The Griz community could not be more excited about Dr. Bird’s decision to join our team,” Webster said “She is a deeply respected expert across Montana, a national leader in tribal education and a champion for higher education as an inclusive, transformative vehicle for all. The UM community will be better because of Dr. Bird’s partnership.”