Gretchen M. Bataille

Honored by:The American Indian Studies Program
Brick location:PAVER:22  map

In 1994, Dr. Gretchen Mueller Bataille assumed the position of provost of the College of Letters and Science at the University of California Santa Barbara. Immediately prior to that, she had served Arizona State University in Tempe in a number of capacities. From 1988 to 1994, she was a professor of English and taught classes in composition and American Indian literature there. From 1988 to 1990, Gretchen was the chair of ASU's Department of English; from 1990 to 1994 she held the position of associate dean for academic personnel in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

During the period 1986 to 1988, while on leave from Iowa State University, Gretchen was a lecturer in the Department of English and the Department of Ethnic and Women’s Studies at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. She also served as the acting associate dean of instruction at Cal Poly (1987-88).

The above professional roles are certainly meritorious enough. But Gretchen M. Bataille is included in the Plaza of Heroines at Carrie Chapman Catt Hall especially in honor of her long association with Iowa State University and the state of Iowa.

Gretchen began work at Iowa State University in 1967 as an instructor in the Department of English. She served in that capacity until 1977, spending the year of 1970-1971 as a tutor and thesis proofreader. After completing her doctoral degree in English at Drake University in 1977, Gretchen rose quickly through the academic ranks at ISU (assistant professor 1977-1981, associate professor 1981-1986, full professor 1986-1988). During those years, Gretchen taught a variety of composition and literature courses. She also served as academic adviser for English and English education majors, advising coordinator for the English Department, and faculty adviser for the People of English (student club).

Gretchen has had a long-standing interest and involvement in American Indian Studies, with particular regard to American Indian literature and the role of women in traditional culture and in contemporary writing. Her dissertation was entitled, "An Approach to the Study of American Indian Literature at the College Level." At Iowa State University and Arizona State University, she taught courses on American Indian Literature, The American Indian in Film, Twentieth Century American Indian Novel, and American Indian Women and Literature. At Iowa State University, Gretchen was among the co-founders of the American Indian Studies Program in 1976; she chaired that program from 1976 to 1981. She helped design and teach American Indian Studies 210, an interdisciplinary team-taught class which serves as a core course for the American Indian Studies Program.

She served continuously on the Symposium Committee and either directed or co-directed most of the annual symposia until 1985. In 1974 she organized and coordinated the Mesquakie Tutoring Project at the Mesquakie Indian Settlement near Tama, Iowa. Twenty years after its founding that program -- now called MIYTE (Mesquakie Indian Youth Tutoring Experience) -- is still in operation. The tutoring program is sponsored by the United Native American Student Association, an organization for which Gretchen served as faculty adviser in 1982-1983.

Gretchen has been involved in many state and national committees and organizations. In 1976 she was appointed to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission by the governor of Iowa. She chaired the commission from 1977 to 1979. She later was appointed to the Iowa Humanities Board and served as its president from 1984 to 1985.

Gretchen directed the Midwest regional conferences of the National Association for Ethnic Studies in 1980 and 1981. She co-directed the national conferences of the NAES in 1984 and 1985. Gretchen has held many offices in the NAES (member of the executive council 1980-1994; associate editor 1980-1987; editor 1987-1992; and treasurer 1982-1994). In 1989 she received the NAES Distinguished Service Award.

Gretchen has also served as a member of the executive board the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures and the Arizona Humanities Council. In addition, she has been the chair for four Modern Language Association sessions and the chair of a session for MELUS (Multiethnic Literature of the United States).

Gretchen has been a frequent consultant for various local, state, and federal agencies: the Iowa Department of Instruction, Phoenix Arts Commission, Colorado Humanities Board, New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities, and National Endowment for the Humanities to name a few. She has been the recipient of a large number of research and other project grants that would make even King Midas blush. These include grants for conducting field research, sponsoring symposia, dealing with ethnic and cultural diversity, developing media programs, translating computer manuals, and establishing the American Indian Institute at ASU.

The list of her authored or co-authored books chapters in books, journals and

Paver Inscription:

"American Indian
G.M. Bataille
Irma J.W. White
Kate Mason"