Students of color talk on campus

Diversity Opportunities

Our teacher candidates have opportunities to interact with ethnically, racially, linguistically, socioeconomically and exceptionally diverse peers and B-12 learners in a variety of campus, community and even global settings.

The mission of the WSU Inclusion & Diversity Office is to build an inclusive community. To that end, they organize several programs and events throughout the year for students, faculty, staff and the community.

Students have the opportunity to experience diverse cultures first hand through short-term faculty-led travel programs or semester-long study abroad trips.

The students enrolled in Special Education 300 - Children and Youth with Exceptionalities class serve approximately 100 children who reside at Maplewood Townhomes in Winona. When Carol Marchant began the Kids First program six years ago, it was a small venture with the goal to increase literacy levels. Since then, the program has only expanded, leaving a positive impact on the local community and university.

Kids First is a requirement for all teacher education candidates on the Winona campus; every education major has the privilege of participating in the service-learning course. This is a great time for the Winona State Education students to work one-on-one in a friendly and comfortable setting with students from different cultural backgrounds.

Kids First offers programs in community health sponsored by the nursing program, a book club to increase early literacy, cooking classes for all ages, preparation for college bound high school students and many other fun, enriching activities.


The students on the Rochester campus have the opportunity to take the majority of their education classes at Riverside Elementary. Riverside is one of the most diverse schools in the Rochester Public School (RPS) district where more than 30% are students of color and more than 11% of students speak a language other than English as their first language. The WSU-Rochester students spend more than 60 hours each semester working with the students in the RPS classrooms. WSU-Rochester students also have the opportunity to work with a diverse group of RPS students over the summer as they design and deliver lessons at STEM Camp under the direction of WSU-R faculty. 

The Foundations of Education course 308 - Human Relations and Student Diversity is available each May as the St. Paul Urban Immersion experience. While spending a full week in St. Paul, teacher education students have the opportunity to learn and apply multicultural education theory & practices in real urban school settings.
Students will acquire knowledge of said theory through assigned readings, group discussions, and educational seminars led by WSU faculty and cultural consultants from the St. Paul community. This community and the accompanying school district offer pre-service teachers rich, experiential learning settings in which they will both observe and interact with licensed teachers, students, and community members who may differ by ethnicity, race, language, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and family structures.

Winona State University offers more than 180 student clubs and organizations with a wide range of purposes and interests from academic clubs to honor societies to sports clubs. There are also many cultural clubs that represent the voices of our diverse student body. Clubs are a great way to meet new people and hear different viewpoints and students are encouraged to join clubs that interest them.

There are many volunteer opportunities in the Winona area where students can interact with diverse populations and provide valued service to the community.