Dr. Helen Klassen began her career at MSUM in the counseling center in 1989 and transferred to the American Multicultural Studies department in the late 1990s. Klassen was a leader in teaching and mentoring Native students. She was innovative and creative in her use of Anishinaabe cultural traditions in her teaching to engage students and enhance their understanding of course content. Klassen once stated that a great passion of hers was to examine the intersection between Native values, teaching and learning styles with those of the dominant culture to find a safe place within which learning can take place for my students. Klassen also received numerous awards during her career and served as the founding president of the White Earth Tribal and Community College and served as Chair of the Council on Indian Education, a state-mandated council. She received an outstanding alumni award from Havard Univeristy (where she received her doctorate), she also served on a Harvard panel for leadership and as a consultant for the National Academy of Engineering in Washington, D.C. She received both a Bush Fellowship and a Fullbright-Hays Seminars Abroad award.
Klassen retired from MSUM in 2010. Her contributions to MSUM, our students and in strengthening our connections with White Earth Tribal College were many and she will be greatly missed.