IAIA - Institute of American Indian Arts

Academic Dean


Dr. Ann Filemyr, Academic Dean

Photo by Teresa Fields

Dr. Ann Filemyr is the Academic Dean of the College at IAIA. A leader in curriculum design, she has more than 20 years of experience in higher education and four years as a non-profit arts organization director. She is also a poet and writer.

Her innovative curriculum design reflects values-based educational initiatives. She believes the purpose of education is to provide a structure for the acquisition of skills, attitudes, and knowledge for personal and social transformation.


She holds a B.Ph. in Creative and Performing Arts from Thomas Jefferson College of Grand Valley State Colleges, Michigan, an M.A. in English with an emphasis in poetry from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in Environmental Communications from Union Institute and University, Ohio.

Major Professional Activities

Dean Ann, as Dr. Filemyr is called on campus, has been trained as a peer evaluator with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC). She presented the IAIA ePortfolio assessment system at the HLC 2009 annual conference in Chicago. She led a faculty team in the development of core competencies and the redesign of learning outcomes assessment. The team attended the June 2010 New Mexico Higher Education Assessment and Retention (NMHEAR) retreat. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Southwestern College in Santa Fe.

Her key contributions over the past seven years at IAIA include: re-organizing all academic support services and functions into a ‘one-stop shop’ to better support student success; attracting necessary funds and supporting the development of IAIA’s first certificate in entrepreneurship; founding the new media arts department; helping to start up the new Indigenous liberal studies major; attracting funds to begin a campus-wide program of fitness and wellness; and helping develop the first art history minor to strengthen both studio arts and museum studies degree programs. In addition, Dean Ann teaches occasionally in the Creative Writing Program.

Dean Ann has had the privilege in partnering with the dynamic IAIA faculty to develop our Baccalaureate degree programs to better prepare IAIA students to successfully enter graduate and professional programs. She has supported the development of a core general education program. She has supported strengthening developmental studies to better link pre-college courses to success in college courses. She initiated high school outreach and through dual credit IAIA now offers courses off-site at high schools serving Native American students.

She has achieved her goal of assisting IAIA in achieving accreditation for its first graduate program, the MFA in creative writing.  The inaugural class begins in summer 2013.  Her continuing goal is to provide leadership and support for the ongoing development of educational technology and distance learning for the academic programs.

In addition to her commitment to higher education and faculty development, she continues her work in traditional healing and the role of women as healers. Recent presentations on this topic include the annual summer lecture series at SMU-Taos in May 2012, and keynote presentations at the biennial conference of the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology in 2010 and the 2009 Council Grove Conference on Consciousness. She leads an herbal workshop for Native American elders as part of the annual Elders Day Gathering at IAIA.

She is a poet and a writer. Her two recent books of poetry include Growing Paradise (LaNana Creek Press, 2011), and The Healer’s Diary (Sunstone Press, 2012). She won an Honorable Mention for the poem Love Enough in the Robinson Jeffers 2012 Tor House Award. She contributed a chapter on two traditional sacred female figures of the Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe/Chippewa), enNokomis Tibik Giizis and Mindemoya: Grandmother Moon and Old Woman of the Mists, in the anthology Goddesses in World Culture (Praeger, 2011).  She helped edit White Shell Water Place (Sunstone 2012), an anthology presenting Native American perspectives on Santa Fe’s 400th anniversary.  She has written an Open Letter to Lloyd Kiva New, which will be published in IAIA’s upcoming anthology celebrating our 50th anniversary.