Project TEACH/ Project FORWARD
The Research Center for Cultural Diversity and Community Renewal's two flagship programs are Project TEACH and Project FORWARD. The impetus behind the creation of these programs was the acute realization that while there were many Hmong students in school districts throughout Wisconsin, there were extremely few teachers of Hmong descent. The Center applied and received a 1998 U.S. Department of Education Bilingual grant to assist paraprofessionals, high school graduates and non-traditional students of Hmong descent in overcoming barriers so they may become certified teachers within the State of Wisconsin. The grant provided funding for students of Hmong descent to complete their education at three state universities: Stout, La Crosse, and Eau Claire. This program became known as Project TEACH (PT). A year later, a similar grant was obtained to serve students at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. This program became known as Project FORWARD (PF). Both career ladder programs provide tuition assistance and professional development opportunities to participants.
An important component of the PT/PF program is the annual Educational Leadership Conference. This conference provides several opportunities for participants to further their professional development. The Center brings together leading education scholars from across the nation, along with key community members, CDCR alumni, and University faculty and staff from four campuses. Over a two day period, students are able to engage in discussions and workshops on a wide range of topics including culturally sensitive curriculum, classroom management, technology, race relations, diversity and career development. The CDCR also hosts a smaller conference in the summer focusing primarily on student presentations and collaborative learning.