Toward Answerable Research Practice Partnerships: Co-Designing Learning Spaces Accountable to Native Places and Peoples
Ethan Chang

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Primary Discipline

Over the past 15 years, public and private investments in Research Practice Partnerships (RPPs), long-term collaborations that use research to improve education practices, have soared. But attention to how RPPs “answer” to Native families and young people and the ongoing project of settler-colonial schooling remain limited (Patel, 2016). This is particularly troubling given that the vast majority of RPPs take place within formal school settings that Native peoples did not design, nor did they desire. This project asks: How does one Kanaka-led RPP in Hawaiʻi answer to the educational and social needs, desires, and aspirations of one Kanaka ʻŌiwi community? Data sources will include fieldnote observations and interviews and will build on over two years of auto/ethnographic reflections prior to the formation of a Kanaka-led RPP. This project offers implications for realizing the desired equity aims of RPPs by: (a) deepening an attention to how settler-colonialism structures relations within and beyond RPPs, (b) exploring how RPPs might offer a vehicle for universities to amplify projects in Native-led resurgence and self-determination, and (c) investigating out-of-school, community-based spaces as sites of culturally sustaining learning and leadership development.
About Ethan Chang
Chang, Ethan
Ethan Chang is an assistant professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He is a critical ethnographer and community-based researcher interested in co-producing knowledge that answers to people and places that U.S. public schools have historically failed to serve. His current work asks: How do community-based leaders design learning spaces that cultivate broad-based, culturally sustaining leadership? Ethan’s prior experiences as a middle school Social Studies teacher, training in the sociology of education, and recent work on white parent opposition to Ethnic Studies in K-12 public schools inform his interests in teaching and learning further distanced from formal schooling. Ethan received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz (under Dr. Ronald David Glass) and pursued a University of California Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in Asian American Studies and Black Studies (under co-mentors, Dr. Diane Fujino and Dr. George Lipsitz). He is also a haumana of uhau humu pōhaku under Kumu Kimeona Kane of Waimānalo. Manuscripts written with friends and co-authors can be found in Educational Policy, Harvard Educational Review, Educational Administration Quarterly, and Teachers College Record.

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