The Research Center for Cultural Diversity and Community Renewal (CDCR) is dedicated to developing and promoting a renewed vision for achieving a harmonious and socially just community through education. CDCR's focus is on the complex and potentially beneficial relationships between the issues of cultural diversity, education, and community renewal.


Our research and programs connect to the belief that social justice can be obtained through education. CDCR is grounded in a commitment to increasing educational opportunities for those students who are traditionally underserved or disadvantaged in higher education. Our main objective has always focused on education and determining ways in which CDCR can help "open the doors" of higher education to more effectively recruit, support, meet the needs of, and retain students from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

CDCR does not follow the often-used "top-down" model wherein we act as "experts" explaining problems and offering solutions. Rather, CDCR is committed to listening to and working directly with those we hope to assist. CDCR founders, Ronald Rochon and Clifton Tanabe, developed a collaborative model that places PK-12 students and teachers, university students, and community members at the center with UW System institutions working at the periphery as a collaborative networking force that listens to the needs and ideas expressed by those in center and then collectively works together to effectively meet those needs. CDCR strives to include the voices of all stakeholders, to learn from these stakeholders and the historical context of current circumstances, and to develop ideas for transformative growth.

Primary Goals

  • To spearhead research efforts designed to build greater understanding of the relations between cultural diversity, education and community renewal.
  • To develop collaborative relationships between the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and other mid-western universities, institutions, and communities.
  • To obtain significant federal, state, and private funding focused on research and programming related to the issues of diversity, education, and community.
  • To develop innovative and holistic strategies for recruiting and retaining students of color at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
  • To bring conscious people together to have fun while working hard for social justice through open communication and a results oriented focus.
  • To engage students in research efforts directed toward understanding the relationship between cultural diversity, teacher education, and community renewal.

Research Aims

  • To formulate data driven educational policy designed to meet the specific needs of institutions located in the Midwest.
  • To collect accurate quantitative and qualitative data concerning the status of Hmong educators and their impact on schools, curriculum, students, parents, and communities.
  • To develop and facilitate a cross-disciplinary scholarly community that focuses on the education of Hmong refugees and their children.
  • To examine the political and social adaptation of second and third generation Hmong refugees in the Midwest.