Diversity and the School of Education

Across the nation, current U.S. classrooms are characterized by an “increasingly homogeneous population of teachers [who] are instructing an increasingly heterogeneous population of students” (Gomez, 1994, p. 320). Equally important, The UW System Board of Regents Resolution I.1.b (2) recommends, “Students in teacher preparation programs should be representative of the diversity that exists in PK-12 schools.” In addition the resolution states, “UW institutions should continue to enhance and expand plans for recruiting a more diverse cohort into teaching by systematically identifying and actively recruiting students to expand the diversity of teacher candidates.”  Equally important, as stated in the knowledge base of our conceptual framework, studies show that in order for teacher candidates to teach all children, teachers must be provided with education and experiences that will enable them to successfully educate all children.

The UW System Institute for Urban Education

This program is designed to help teacher candidates become effective urban educators as well as to provide professional development opportunities for currently practicing teachers. The Institute is dedicated to helping urban schools continue to develop the promise of urban youth and to assisting urban teachers as they develop both as teachers and learners.

The UW System Institute for Urban Education is a program designed to establish urban educational opportunities for pre-service teachers and in-service teachers as well as for scholars.

The Institute aims to:

  • Improve the depth and quality of the applicant pool for Wisconsin Public Schools.
  • Increase professional development opportunities for Wisconsin teachers who are working in urban settings or want to work in urban settings.
  • Create a program that facilitates the integration of science and practice in the area of urban education.
  • Increase and improve the collaborative teaching and research efforts of UW System Schools and Programs of Education.


The Special Populations Programs

The Special Populations Programs (SPP) consists of a wide array of community-based programs offered through the Department of Exercise and Sport Science within the College of Science and Health on the University of Wisconsin La Crosse campus.  Since it’s inception over 30 years ago, the SPP has established itself as a vital partnership between UWL and the Coulee Region.

The predominant mission of the UWL SPP is to conduct a variety of quality physical activity/education programs serving children and youth encompassing a wide array of disabilities from the Coulee Region.  Modified instruction in specific physical activities is provided to participants that may not be available in the general community. 


The Research Center for Cultural Diversity and Community Renewal

The Research Center for Cultural Diversity and Community Renewal (CDCR) was established in the fall of 1998 at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. CDCR is dedicated to developing and promoting a renewed vision for achieving a harmonious and socially just community through education. CDCR’s two main initiatives are Project Teach and Project Forward. Both of these career ladder programs fund students of Hmong descent who want to become educators. Currently, CDCR is providing funding and training for numerous undergraduate and graduate students at several UW System institutions. Alumni of the program include several educators and administrators working in Wisconsin and the surrounding states.


Act 31: Widening the Circle

The La Crosse Native American Student Association (NASA) in conjunction with the School of Education hosts an annual symposium at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. This conference is designed to help educators and future educators better understand the role of Act 31 and how to implement it into their classes.  As the title of the conference implies the focus has expanded to include Hmong culture. The symposium focuses on helping educators learn about important Native and Hmong contemporary and historical issues, as well as gaining the ability to authenticate resources to find out which resources are good and appropriate to use, then how to infuse those resources into their curriculum in a meaningful way.  The symposium gives participants the opportunity to meet with Native and Hmong leaders and educators, build relationships that will provide a solid resource base, and learn about Native and Hmong culture. 


Diversity Plan Design Team

The Diversity Plan Design Team is charged to create and monitor a School of Education Diversity Plan.
Specifically, the group is to develop a workable plan that

  • Is realistic for all programs that prepare educators
  • Addresses the multiple dimensions of diversity in curriculum and assessments
  • Addresses teacher candidates’ experiences with diversity in PK-12 settings for initial programs.
  • Addresses a focus on recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups into professional education programs
  • incorporates Act 31 across the curriculum

Western Wisconsin Alliance for Equity and Excellence in Education

The Western Wisconsin Alliance for Equity and Excellence in Education is a diverse group of professionals, committed to improving teacher education programs and advocacy for traditionally marginalized groups. Membership includes Schools of Education at UW- Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-River Falls and UW-Stout

Members of WWAE are diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender, age, university roles and areas of expertise. Our group includes faculty, directors, administrators, and support personnel who are committed to excellence and equity in education. Our group is open to include students, teachers, administrators, and community members who are committed to our mission and goals.

Mission (Why do we exist):

WWAEEE strives to develop and carry out plans for enhancing equity and excellence in teacher education in our region.

The purpose for our alliance is to share resources and expertise and collaborate across Universities in order to meet our goals.
Alliance Goals:

    • Examine the obstacle and opportunities that predominately White professional education programs face as they attempt to diversify the teacher education field.
    • Develop strategic actions to recruit and support underrepresented groups into professional education programs.
    • Evaluate and enrich how professional education programs prepare White teachers to work effectively with institutionally marginalized populations.

Study Abroad

The Office of International Education is committed to providing opportunities to all students regardless of sex, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital or parental status. More than 20% of students enrolled in professional education programs study abroad.

The Academic Initiatives Stipend for International Education is a student-funded program to facilitate a higher quality academic experience at UW-L.  Stipends available to students are as follows:

  • $1500 for an academic year of study,
  • $750 for semester programs,
  • $500 for summer programs,
  • $400 for J-term programs,
  • $300 for Spring Break programs,
  • Study tour stipends may vary at the discretion of the review committee.
  • Applicants must be degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate students at UW-L.
  • Applicants must be enrolled in a UW-L sponsored study abroad program.
  • Applicants must submit a detailed plan for their proposal.
  • Applicants must return to UW-L for at least one semester after the study abroad program to complete their service requirement.
  • Applicants must agree to begin planning and/or fulfilling their service requirements to promote study abroad at UW-L immediately upon return to campus; implementation of the service requirement must be completed at the end of the term following the study abroad program unless stipulated in the plan.


UW-L English as a Second Language Institute

The English as a Second Language Institute offers a flexible program for non-native speakers of English. Classes are designed primarily for international and southeast Asian students who need to improve or strengthen their English for studying at the university. The classes are also appropriate for persons who have a serious interest in studying English as a Second Language for personal or business reasons.
Classes are offered at five levels of English proficiency: beginner/high beginner, lower intermediate, upper intermediate, and advanced. A student’s level is determined by a proficiency test (the La Crosse Battery) which is given before classes begin.

UW-L Campus Diversity Resources


The Office of Campus Climate would like to gather a comprehensive list of ALL diversity & equity related resources and initiatives.


The Disability Resource Services Center

The Disability Resource Services' mission is to collaborate with students with disabilities to identify, reduce, or eliminate barriers in obtaining an education within the most integrated settings possible.

A student does not have to inform the faculty member about his/her disability but only the needed accommodations. If you have any questions regarding accommodations, then you may contact the Disability Resource Services Office and request to speak to the student's advisor. Advisors cannot give details about the disability unless they have permission from the student. The student may disclose a disability to you. You are then obliged to maintain confidentiality regarding the student's disability.


The Pride Center

The Pride Center is devoted to serving students and members of the campus community that may or may not label themselves as queer, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gay, intersex or questioning, their allies and students with LGBTQ parents.


The Office of Multicultural Services

The primary mission of the Office of Multicultural Services is to improve the retention and graduation of underrepresented students by promoting their academic and personal growth. The office provides supplementary services in the areas of academic pre-advising, subject tutoring, leadership development, the sponsorship of cultural events, and pre-college programs. Through these services and programs, students develop academic discipline and other important qualities that will enhance their development at UW-La Crosse. The Center is in 244 Graff Main Hall.


UW-L Guidelines for Inclusive Language and Representations in Written and Spoken Communication


Equity and Culturally Relevant Resources

Center for Multilingual Multicultural Research. CMMR is an organized research unit at the University of Southern California. The center focuses on multilingual education, English as a second language, foreign language instruction, multicultural education, and related areas. The center’s comprehensive Web site addresses language policies and rights and includes Asian-Pacific Island resources, Latino/Latina and Hispanic resources, Native American/American Indian, and African American resources. This site also includes a collection of articles on the Ebonics debate.


Center for Cultural Diversity and Community Renewal. The Research Center for Cultural Diversity and Community Renewal (CDCR) was established in the fall of 1998 at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. CDCR is dedicated to developing and promoting a renewed vision for achieving a harmonious and socially just community through education. CDCR’s two main initiatives are Project Teach and Project Forward. Both of these career ladder programs fund students of Hmong descent who want to become educators.


Center on School, Family and Community Partnerships. The Center supports research and projects aimed at increasing an understanding of practices of partnership that help all children succeed in elementary, middle, and high schools in rural, suburban, and urban areas. The focus is on how members of communities can work together to improve schools, strengthen families, and enhance student learning and development.


The Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence. CREDE is a federally funded research and development program focused on improving the education of students whose ability to reach their potential is challenged by language or cultural barriers, race, geographic location, or poverty.


Empowering Multicultural Initiatives. This initiative specializes in anti-racist education. This web site offers teacher resources and lesson plans.


Family Literacy Initiatives: Bilingual Initiatives. The Bilingual Initiatives of the Minnesota Humanities Commission provides leadership, resources, and programs that help recent refugee and immigrant groups develop literacy skills that recognize and develop the heritage language resources in Minnesota, and promote the importance of books and reading as the entryway to academic excellence and appreciation of the humanities.


International Children’s Digital Library
The mission of the International Children’s Digital Library Foundation is to excite and inspire the world's children to become members of the global community – children who understand the value of tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, languages and ideas -- by making the best in children's literature available online.

This web site includes full books and a search engine that allows you to search by language, age level, continent, country, subject and or time period and more.


The National Association for Multicultural Education. NAME's membership encompasses the spectrum of professional educators and specialists, including early childhood, classroom and higher education faculty, administrators, psychologists, social workers, counselors, curriculum specialists, librarians, scholars, and researchers. This web site includes diversity/Inclusive teaching tips, lessons plans with a multicultural focus and a wealth of resources and links to other web sites.


Parents for Public Schools. This national organization of grassroots chapters is dedicated to involving parents in more meaningful roles as decision makers in their children’s education.


Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society.   The Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society is a university-based research and teaching institute organized around a commitment to the practice of democracy and equality within a changing multiracial U.S. society.  A foundational belief of the Center is that equality across and within racial and ethnic groups in contemporary society is a necessary component of a vital, working democracy. Thus, the racially and ethnically diverse populations in the United States at the beginning of the twenty-first century are a focus of the Center, as are their internal divisions along lines of gender, class, age, sexuality, disability, religion, and citizenship status. The Center also supports the study of the historical, social, and political role of the United States in the world, especially for the purpose of achieving better understanding of how U.S. participation in the global arena impacts racial and ethnic relations domestically as well as transnationally.   The historical and contemporary role of public education, especially as reflected in issues such as access, curriculum, and public policy, is another site for analyzing the workings of a multiracial democracy.


Applied Research Center.  ARC's vision for racial justice is changing the way society talks about and understands racial inequity. ARC conducts research to expose the subtle racism of laws and regulations that result in real hardship for Black, Latino, Asian and Native communities. ARC uses public policy as a key tool to repair these historic injustices by designing and implementing creative solutions to contemporary problems. Through advocacy leadership ARC trains cadres of journalists, community organizers and elected officials to make these solutions real. Finally, ARC works through journalism and the mass media to push a society silenced by guilt and confusion toward a real discussion of racial justice in the 21st century.  The Center produces an on-line magazine, Color Lines.



  • Very reasonable subscription rates
  • Very practical orientation that teachers find helpful


  • Great source of materials for teachers who infuse social justice in curriculum

Tolerance.Org. This is a good site for students interested in becoming active in social justice, service learning, or community service projects. Sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center, this site is dedicated to promoting tolerance and fighting hate. Students can access a feature called “Tolerance Watch” to be alerted to instances of hate and injustice, one called “Do Something” if they are interested in ways to become involved, or one called “Dig Deeper” if they want to examine their own prejudices and attitudes.


Teaching Tolerance provides educators with free educational materials that promote respect for differences and appreciation of diversity in the classroom and beyond.


Teaching Diverse Learners (TDL) Web site, a resource dedicated to enhancing the capacity of teachers to work effectively and equitably with English language learners (ELLs). This Web site provides access to information -- publications, educational materials, and the work of experts in the field -- that promotes high achievement for ELLs.


Children and Young Adult Book Lists

Américas Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature. The Américas Award is given in recognition of U.S. works of fiction, poetry, folklore, or selected non-fiction (from picture books to works for young adults) published in the previous year in English or Spanish that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States.


The Coretta Scott King Award. The American Library Association presents the Coretta Scott King Award annually to authors and illustrators of African descent whose distinguished books promote an understanding and appreciation of the "American Dream.”


Oyate. This organization works to see that Native Americans lives and histories are portrayed authentically in texts. This site includes evaluation of texts, resource materials and fiction by and about Native peoples and includes a books to avoid list.


Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award. The award was established in 1995 by the College of Education at Texas State University–San Marcos to encourage authors, illustrators and publishers of books that authentically reflect the lives of Mexican American children and young adults in the United States.


American Library Association.   (2007).  The Pura Belpré award.  Retrieved November 21, 2007, from http://www.ala.org/ala/alsc/awardsscholarships/literaryawds/belpremedal/beprmedal.cfm. The Pura Belpré Award is presented to a Latino/a writer and illustrator whose work “best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.”  This website includes descriptions of both current and past winners.  Also contains links to other awards in children’s and young adult literature, such as the Newbery and Caldecott Medals. 

Hmong Resources for Teachers (complied by Matthew Stewart)
This bibliography consists of varied useful materials to teachers interested in learning about, understanding and incorporating Hmong history, culture and Hmong students into their curriculum and program planning.  This resource is also of use to teachers interested in additional information about Hmong history, culture, and experience.  There is also Hmong language materials included for incorporating into the classroom curriculum.  Inclusion of history, culture, language and experience in the curriculum is necessary for inclusion of Hmong students into the classroom

Johnson, T. 2005. The (Im)Possibilities of Becoming: Hmong Youth and the Politics of Schooling and Development in Thailand (New York, NY; Columbia University Press).
Submitted in partial fulfillment for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy under the executive committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Columbia University. Though this is set in Thailand it provides a great deal of information on the effects of assimilation on the Hmong.  It looks at Hmong cultural values and conflict with education and how the Hmong are both losing and maintaining their culture and cultural identity because of education. 

Lee, S. 2005.  Learning “America:” Hmong American High School Students (Madison, WI University of Wisconsin Press).
This book examines the way that Hmong youth in a Wisconsin high school navigate what it means to be American, American racism and the conflict between Hmong and American cultures, while trying to remain Hmong and maintain some semblance of Hmong identity.  The book is a critique of the assimilation policies of schools and the racism both embedded and overt in the school culture and society.  It takes a strong look at the way, and why, schools are teaching Hmong students about being American, and how are Hmong students responding and fairing in school.

Chuamsakul, S. 2006. Education and Hmong Culture Changes: A Study of Two Hmong Villages in Northern Thailand.
This book deals with the role of assimilation in education affecting Hmong students in Thailand.  It examines how education is assimilating Hmong students to adapt to roles within Thai society, and how that assimilation is driving the loss of Hmong culture and language for Hmong students.  It also offers an alternative through an Indigenous inclusive curriculum based on Hmong culture for use in Hmong communities. 

Trueba, H. 1990 Cultural Conflict and Adaptation: The Case of Hmong Children in American Society. (Bristol, PA: Falmer Press).
The authors look closely at various mistakes made by educators when dealing with ethnic populations, particularly the Hmong and offers insight into the cultural conflict.  The personal accounts by Hmong people are very helpful into what the Hmong feel they want and need from educators and social service workers.

Bliatout, B; Downing, B; Lewis, J; Yang, D. 1988 Handbook for Teaching Hmong-Speaking Students. (Sacramento, CA: Spilman Printing Company).
This handbook is designed for use by bilingual language education specialists, but can easily be used successfully by general educators and administrators to educate Hmong students.  The book provides teaching hints and practical suggestions on everything from overcoming cultural differences to hiring Hmong teaching aids. Though it is older it still has a great deal of relevant information on Hmong culture and conflict within the school setting.  It also offers an extensive bibliography of materials, organizations and recommended readings is provided. 

Walker-Moffat, W. 1995. Other Side of the Asian American Success Story. (San Francisco, CA; Jossey-Bass).
Wendy focuses on the issues of education for Hmong students and is one of the first people to report that Americans must see the Hmong as a distinct group.  She carefully critiques misleading academic statistics and reports that lump Hmong students with Asian American students.  The book also provides a strong insight into Hmong culture and cultural conflict with education and how it impacts the classroom. 

Giacchino-Baker, R; Bacon, T; Felts, K.  1997. Making Connections With Hmong Culture: A Teacher's Resource Book of thematic Classroom Activities That Promote Intercultural Understanding. (El Monte, CA: Pacific Asia Press).
This is a group of activities and lessons for the classroom designed to help students become familiar with Hmong culture.  Though it is a little older it focuses on helping teachers to find ways to help students connect with the Hmong experience as refugees in Thailand, which is always pertinent. 

Hones, D.F. (1999). "Making peace: A narrative study of a bilingual (Hmong) liaison, a school and a community." Teachers College Record 101(1):106-134.
This article explores the life and work of a Hmong bilingual school liaison. The article examines the conflicts between Hmong students, their families, and schools. He explains how educators must not be so focused on discipline and assimilation if they are going to succeed with Hmong students, but on inclusion of them as a people.  This article was especially important because so often school/community liaisons are of little value, and often serve only to push the desires of the school on the community and represent neither the students nor the needs of the community to the school district.   

Inui, M. (1998). "Assimilation and repatriation conflicts of the Hmong refugees in a Wisconsin community: A qualitative study of five local groups." Migration World Magazine 26(4): 26-28.
This study done in La Crosse, WI, looks at how Hmong refugees feel about and perceive assimilation of their American-born children in schools. The study goes on to find and document the obvious, that Hmong students and Hmong youth with an increased level of education were more receptive to assimilation, so there is a greater question of the role of schooling and Hmong youth in the Hmong community by elders.  It also found that for second and recently third generation Hmong people there was greater acceptance of the Hmong as residents the La Crosse area. 

Lee S. 2005. Up Against Whiteness; Race School and Immigrant Youth (New York, NY; Teachers College Press).
Lee looks at the effects of race and whiteness in schooling and on the Hmong in those schools in Wisconsin.  She examines the effects that racial hierarchy has on Hmong identity and how Hmong students resist the racism daily faced by those students in schools.  

Fadiman, A. 1997 The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (New York, NY; Farrar, Straus, Giroux).
This book is about the struggles the Hmong faced in coming to the US and the unimaginable cultural conflict.  The book mostly focuses on the problems associated with the culture of US health care and the conflict created between itself and Hmong culture, but is a great introductory resource to Hmong cultural values and cultural conflict. 

Siegel, T; McSilver, J 1998. The Split Horn the life of a Hmong Shaman Video (produced and distributed by Public Broadcasting System).
Presents the story of a Hmong religious leader and the difficult life he and his family are living in the US.  Documents the changes in religious and cultural practices, as well as the cultural conflict so many Hmong families faced in coming to America.  Great video for teachers to learn about Hmong culture and cultural conflict, and great to use in the classroom. 

Quincy, K. 2000. Harvesting Pa Chay’s Wheat: The Hmong and Americas Secret War in Laos (Seattle, WA; University of Washington Press).
History of the Hmong in Laos and their role in the US’s Secret War in Laos during the Vietnam War.  The book offers great history on what the Hmong went through in Laos, what life was like for them and their involvement in the war.  It goes on to tell about their life as refugees and that they came to the US because they had helped American forces during the war.  It is a good historical resource and it is important for teachers to understand this part of Hmong/American history. 

New Faces On Main Street: A Review of Immigration in the U.S. at the Dawn of the 21st Century. Green Bay, WI: CESA #7,1998.
This is a teacher guide and video documentary “New Faces on Main Street.”The video explores the experiences of Latino immigrants and Hmong refugees in Wisconsin. The video and guide are both very good resources for beginning to understand the issues faced by refugees and immigrants.  The guide provides additional information from the video as well as activities for classroom discussion. A bibliography of additional resources is included. 

Pfaff, T. 1995. Hmong in America: Journey from a Secret War. (Eau Claire, WI: Chippewa Valley Museum Press).
This book offers a basic understanding of the Hmong and why they are here in Wisconsin.  It starts with discussing Hmong culture in Laos and moves into how the Hmong are doing in Wisconsin.  It offers great photographs and maps as well as personal interviews make this a good book for teachers to use in the classroom. 

MacDowell, M. 1985 Hmong Folk Arts: A Guide for, Teachers.(East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University).
This is a workbook on craft activities, lesson plans and units that use Hmong folk arts to teach curriculum.  Other than folk arts it includes primarily activities around drama.  It is not very critical but does offer practical ideas for curricular activities. 

Vang, L; Lewis, J. 1990. Grandmother’s Path Grandfathers Way (Rancho Cordova, CA; Vang and Lewis).
This book offers an understanding of Hmong culture through Hmong voices.  It uses oral traditions and storytelling to pass on traditions and Hmong history, as well as address contemporary issues faced by Hmong youth in the United States.  It also gives a good introduction to the Hmong language, so essential to Hmong identity.  This book would be a good resource for teachers or for use with students. 

Mc Call, A. 1998. Hmong Paj Ntaub: Using Textile Arts to Teach Young Children About Cultures - in Social Education, Sept 1998 v62 n5 p294(3).
This article illustrates Hmong textile arts, specifically paj ntaub, to help students understand other cultures. The article goes over Hmong history and culture in Laos as well as the situation of many Hmong refugees in the US.

Cha, D; Englewood, N. 1991 Folk Stories of the Hmong: Peoples of Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. (Denver, CO; Libraries Unlimited).
A colorful book which illustrates the various cultural beliefs and folk stories of the Hmong as well as how Hmong culture has met with conflict and endangerment in the United States. Because of its design and readability this book could easily be used in the classroom by students to learn about Hmong culture. 

Moore-Howard, P. 1987. Hmong: Yesterday and Today. (Sacramento, CA; Sacramento City Schools).
This is a resource book that offers a good overview of Hmong culture including art, traditions and language.  It is a very basic resource that should be followed by others that critique the educational system and its challenges for Hmong students.  It does includes sample lesson plans for teachers to use in their classrooms.