Dr. Tom Colonnese (Santee Sioux) has been teaching in AIS since 1993. Professor Colonnese has a Ph.D. in English from Arizona State University. After completing his doctorate, Dr. Colonnese worked at Northern Arizona University for fourteen years as an English professor, an assistant athletics director, and an assistant dean. While at UW, Dr. Colonnese has served at the UW as the assistant vice president for minority affairs and as the chair of American Indian Studies.
In addition to writing many articles an short stories, Dr. Colonnese is the author of two books: The Vietnam War in American Literature, and American Indian Novelists, co-authored with Louis Owens. He also wrote two volumes of The Encyclopedia of the North American Indian.
Dr. Colonnese has been the director of many different programs that work with American Indians, and has written grants that have been funded at over sixty million dollars. These programs have carried out projects related to athletics, teaching, art, video production, drama, literature, creative writing, history, science, mathematics, drug/alcohol awareness, intergenerational programs and emergency care. He is currently the co-director of the NASA funded American Indian Science Technology Education Consortium (AISTEC), which has been widely lauded as one of the nation's premier programs for American Indian education in science and math.
Dr. Colonnese also directed the Microsoft Tribal Support project. Dr. Colonnese serves as a consultant to Educational Testing Service, the College Board the Department of Education, NASA, and formerly served as an advisor on tribal education to the President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton.