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School of Architecture + Planning

Photo: Jordan James

Jordan James

  • Lecturer II



  • Ph.D Candidate, Organizational, Information & Learning Science (OILS)
  • Master of Community & Regional Planning, Physical Planning
  • BA in Media Arts


  • Design Based Research methodologies and examining how Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy support women and students of color in college through to graduation

Jordan O. James grew up in the heart of Minnesota’s Superior National Forest on the Grand Portage reservation and among its surrounding communities. After attending boarding school at Navajo Preparatory High School, he enrolled at The University of New Mexico, the nation’s only Majority/Minority level one research university, where he completed his bachelor's and master's degrees. While working professionally as a public health emergency management planner he became passionate about better understanding adult learning theory, thus the shift to pursue his PhD in Organizational, Information and Learning Science was a natural fit. In his free time, Jordan devotes himself to playing the drums, spending time with his wife and three daughters and taking on the challenges of building their various Pinterest projects, often with nothing more than the picture to go from. Additionally, he also teaches community and regional planning at UNMs School of Architecture and Planning whie working full time as a graduate research assistant. Grateful for the teachings and stories passed down from his ancestors, Jordan continues to honor his cultural heritage as an enrolled member of the Grand Portage Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe by instilling the philosophical traditions of knowledge and sense making to both his students and children through lifelong learning pedagogies. Outside of academics and family Jordan started the Indigenous Training Collaborative in 2016 which offers contemporary cultural competency training supporting lifelong adult learners to work more effectively in indigenous communities.

CRP 165 - Introduction to Community & Regional Planning

CRP 444/555 - Computer Applications

CRP 477/577 - Planning Through the Cinematic Lens

As an enrolled member of the Grand Portage Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, my tribal indigenous ancestry and culturally specific upbringing has afforded me an intrinsic desire to learn and to continue the teaching traditions of my elders. These oral traditions, oftentimes shared through stories, are passed on from generation to generation, encompass my teaching pedagogy and originate from a traditional educational conceptualization that scholarly knowledge exists within the exchanges of individuals and the collective community heritage used to make a strong sense of self and of the world around us. These teachings have shaped my identity as a Native American scholar and holistically embody my interactions in the academic community. It was this tribal sense of self that drew me to the salient field of Community and Regional Planning. Just as my ancestral cultivation raised me to recognize the complexities of the mind, Community and Regional Planning seeks to make sense of the world around us. Community and Regional Planning runs parallel in regard to understanding the interactive affordances of the natural and man-made world that innately leads to designing actions of intervention for real world challenges. As an educator, it is this balance between indigenous ancestral and contemporary scholarly planning theory that I use to guide me as I instruct and teach today’s young adult learners.


Graduate research assistant; NSF (FY17-21, $1,999,957, EEC #1623105). IUSE/PFE:RED: FACETS: Formation of Accomplished Chemical Engineers for Transforming Society.