The Impact of Cultural Diversity on Minority Student Achievement

Article excerpt

Cultural diversity was the hot topic of the nineties, and neither its importance nor popularity appear to be diminishing, as we move past the middle of the first decade of the century. I am delighted that authors are still exploring the importance of faculty members understanding the importance of their attitudes on the success of not only minority students, but on all students. Since I am a minority, I feel that adverse and/or uninformed attitudes of majority faculty members have a deleterious effect on the educational outcomes of minority nursing students. With so many minority students enrolling in nursing programs, it behooves faculty to understand the particulars of the cultures of the students whom they are supposedly teaching, if this population of students is to be successful in their college careers.

Hope springs eternal; however, I believe that very little has changed since I did my initial research in 1983 on how minority nursing students feel about their educational program. At the time, I was castigated for conducting unscientific research on minorities because research on minorities was not really "research." The faculty at this very prestigious university was so upset with me that if flogging had been an acceptable mode of punishment, I am sure I would have received twenty or more lashes. Being rather naïve, I saw nothing wrong with attempting to find out how minority students felt about the entire educational program at this school. I felt that this information would help all of us become better teachers. I was wrong in believing that intelligence over-ruled attitudes.

The four articles selected to appear in this issue are excellent examples of how faculty members in all disciplines can individually reach out and create numerous success stories. Dr. Xu and his colleagues, Dr. Davidhizar and Dr. Giger, authors of the Cultural Assessment Model (CAM) (2004), present two scenarios to illustrate how faculty use of the CAM can be used as a framework for understanding behaviors of Asian and Asian American students. Dr. Xu states that it is essential "that faculty assess students for culturally unique behaviors and learn to respond in a culturally competent manner..."

In the second article, Dr. Gardner presents an excellent introduction in which she reviews important census data related to minority growth projections in the future and gives a thorough review of the literature related to barriers to success for minority nursing students, although she did not find any research specifically related to foreign-born students. …