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Tribal Government Programs

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Dr. Kate Spilde

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Dr. Kate Spilde is an Associate Professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University (SDSU), where she also serves as Endowed Chair of the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming. In her role as Sycuan Chair, Dr. Spilde is responsible for managing the nation’s first four-year degree program in tribal gaming.

 Previously, she was the Executive Director for the Center for California Native Nations at the University of California at Riverside (UCR), where she oversaw the first state-level impact study of Indian gaming in California. Before moving to California, Kate was a Sr. Research Associate at the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, where she incorporated qualitative and quantitative research on Indian gaming’s impacts into the Harvard Project’s larger work on tribal governments and institution building.

Prior to her appointment at Harvard, Kate was the Director of Research for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), an association of 184 tribal governments based in Washington, D.C. While at NIGA, Dr. Spilde developed the National Indian Gaming Library and Resource Center. In addition, she was a policy analyst/writer for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, a federal commission that produced a comprehensive study of U.S. gambling policy for Congress and President Clinton in 1999.

She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Hawaii (1991), a Master of Arts from the George Washington University (1993), a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California at Santa Cruz (1998) and a M.B.A. in entrepreneurial management from the University of California in Riverside (2007.) Her areas of research include the economic and social impacts of gambling and Indian gaming, responsible gaming and corporate social responsibility, needs assessment and program evaluation, federal recognition, and tribal governance.