Validating culturally diverse students: Toward a new model of learning and student development


This study demonstrated that nontraditional students, no matter how fragile, can be transformed into full members of the college academic and social community. The importance of this finding cannot be over stated, for it points to real hope for students who do not see themselves as “college material” or who feel that college life has little or nothing to do with the realities from which they come. What is needed to transform these students is for faculty, administrators, and counselors to fully engage in the validation of students and to recognize that not all students can be expected to learn or to get involved in institutional life in the same way. Diversity in nature is a strength. So is diversity among college students. The challenge is how to harness that strength, and how to unleash the creativity and exuberance for learning that is present in all students who feel free to learn, free to be who they are, and validated for what they know and believe.

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Additional information

Laura Rendon has a Ph.D from the University of Michigan. She is currently an associate professor in the Division of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Arizona State University. She studies instructional and institutional issues related to the success of minority students, particularly Hispanic students and two-year colleges.

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Rendon, L.I. Validating culturally diverse students: Toward a new model of learning and student development. Innov High Educ 19, 33–51 (1994).

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  • College Student
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Community
  • Cross Cultural Psychology
  • Diverse Student