Diversity and Inclusion

We use the theories and models listed below to help students understand the connection between their background and their identity; develop broad cultural understanding, acceptance and appreciation of others; and engage in the process of advocating for equity. To explore multicultural programs and services, groups and resources, and multicultural celebrations, click here.

Overarching Theories and Models

Principles for Enacting Equity

Describes the development and understanding of equity in an educational setting through five detailed phases related to clarification, awareness, equitable practice and policies, learning and critical thinking, and systemic adoption of equitable principles.

  • Five Principles for Creating Equity by Design. (2015). (1st ed.) Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/sites/default/files/CUE_equity_design_principles.pdf
  • Witham, K., Malcom-Piqueux, L. E., Dowd, A. C., & Bensimon, E. M. (2015). America's unmet promise: The imperative for equity in higher education. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Model of Multiple Dimensions of Identity

Examines how individuals understand, embrace, and apply the different components of their identity to their sense of self and in their everyday lives. This development is influenced by environmental factors, stereotypes, life experiences, personal background, etc.

  • Jones, S. R., & McEwen, M. K. (2000, July/August). A conceptual model of multiple dimensions of identity. Journal of College Student Development, 41(4), 405-414.

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Fowler's Stages of Faith Development

Examines the development of an individual's faith over their life based on six stages, each of which are typically related to an age range. Suggests that traditional-age college students begin to question assumptions of their faith and may re-affirm and/or reject aspects of their faith based on their values.

  • Fowler, J. W. (1981). Stages of faith: The psychology of human development and the quest for meaning. New York, NY: Harper Collins.
Parks' Theory of Faith Development

Examines the transition from adolescence to adulthood based on knowledge and truth. Suggests that an individual's development is related to their overall understanding of knowledge and truth, the extent to which they rely on authority figures to shape and share knowledge and truth, and the level of support their community provides in helping them explore and contribute to knowledge and truth.

  • Parks, S. D. (1986). The critical years: Young adults and the search for meaning, faith, and commitment. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

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College Men's Gender Identity Development Theory

Addresses the process by which the gender identity of college-aged men develops from adapting and responding to societal norms and expectations, through performing one's interpretation of masculinity, coined as a "mask", and finally to evaluating one's authenticity in a variety of masks, resulting in maintaining certain masks and attempting to remove certain masks.

  • Edwards, K. E. (2009, March). "Putting my man face on": A grounded theory of college men's gender identity development. Journal of College Student Development, 50(2), 210-228.
College Men's Identity Construction

Examines the development of college-aged men's identity as they conform and navigate society's traditional definition and expectations of what it means to be a 'man'. Some of the struggles associated with this development involve scripted gender roles, fear of femininity, feelings of being overly challenged without support, and a sense of confusion about masculinity.

  • Davis, T. L. (2002). Voices of gender role conflict: The social construction of college men's identity. Journal of College Student Development, 43, 508-521.
Gender Role Conflict Theory

Examines the strain associated with the value, restrictions, and expectations placed on men's gender role. These strains/conflicts may be experienced in four main areas: internally, towards others, from others, and with transitions between various roles.

  • O'Neil, J. M. (2008). Special issue. Men's gender conflict: 25 year research summary. The Counseling Psychologist, 36, 358–476.
Male Gender Roles and Counseling Concept

Describes the conflict between traditionally masculine attitudes and the willingness to seek help for dilemmas. The deeper the gender-role conflict, supported by success, power, competition, and restrictive emotions, the more likely men are to turn away from the traditional sense of counseling.

  • Robertson, J. M., & Fitzgerald, L. F. (1992). Overcoming the masculine mystique: Preferences for alternative forms of assistance among men who avoid counseling. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 39, 240–246.
Men's Reference Group Identity Dependence

Suggests that men's attitudes and beliefs can be influenced by their relationship with groups; these attitudes and beliefs can be internalized and incorporated into their gender role self-concept.

  • Wade, J. C. (1998). Male reference group identity dependence: A theory of male identity. The Counseling Psychologist, 26(3), 349-383.
Theory of Identity Development in Women

Examines female identity development with regard to one's identity exploration and identity commitment. These identity statuses include moratorium, identity diffusion, identity foreclosure, and identity achievement. Furthermore, Josselson examines the intersection of race and gender identities.

  • Josselson, R. E. (1987). Finding herself: Pathways to identity development in women. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Transgender Identity Development

Describes the impact of both harmful and supportive environments on transgender individuals and their identity development. Examines the factors (e.g., financial, safety, psychological) related to the extent to which individuals can be authentic in their gender identity.

  • Levitt, H. M., & Ippolito, M. R. (2014). Being transgender: The experience of transgender identity development. Journal of Homosexuality, 61(12), 1727-1758.
Women's Development Theory

Describes the impact of systems on women's intellectual development. Provides insight on women's perspectives based on being silent, using their voices, listening to others, learning through personal experience, sharing knowledge, developing critical thinking skills and contributing new knowledge.

  • Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B. M., Goldberger, N. R., & Tarule, J. M. (1986). Women's ways of knowing: The development of self, voice, and mind. New York, NY: Basic.

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Multicultural Competency

Cultural Dimensions Theory

Cultural Dimensions Theory

Examines how values are influenced by culture and how these values then influence cross-cultural communication and behaviors in the workplace.

  • Hofstede, G. H. (1984). Culture's consequences: International differences in work-related values (2nd ed.). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Cultural Iceberg Model

Suggests that there are conscious and subconscious aspects of culture and the extent to which an individual actively participates in other cultures is reflected in the degree to which they are competent, aware, and accepting of those cultures.

  • Hall, E. T. (1976). Beyond culture. Garden City, NY: Anchor.
Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity

Describes the process by which individuals create awareness surrounding culture and a sensitivity towards differences through the stages of denial, defense, minimization of differences, acceptance, adaptation, and integration.

  • Landis, D., Bennett, J. M., & Bennett, M. J. (2004). Handbook of intercultural training. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Multicultural Competence Development Theory

Describes the process by which professionals in student affairs can address their competence surrounding issues such as race, gender, physical ability, age, income, and other social variables that can contribute to the difficulty in creating an environment that is welcoming for all students.

  • Pope, R. L., Reynolds, A. L., & Mueller, J. A. (2004). Multicultural competence in student affairs. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
U-Curve Theory of Adjustment

Explains the stages students experiences when introduced to a new culture, starting with the honeymoon phase followed by culture shock and ending in cultural adaptation.

  • Lysgaard, S. (1955). Adjustment in a foreign society: Norwegian Fulbright grantees visiting the United States. International Social Science Bulletin, 7, 45-51.

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Race and Ethnicity

Asian American Identity Development Model

Explores an individual's progression in racial identity development, proposing five stages: ethnic awareness, White identification, awakening to political consciousness, redirection to Asian American consciousness, and incorporation..

  • Kim, J. (2001). Asian American identity development theory. In C. L. Wijeyesinghe & B. W. Jackson, III (Eds.), New perspectives on racial identity development: A theoretical and practical anthology (pp. 67-90). New York: New York University Press.
Black Identity Development Theory

Describes a lifespan model of six sectors encompassing three patterns of developing a healthy Black identity.

  • Cross, W. E. & Fhagen-Smith, P. (2001). Patterns in African American identity development: A life span perspective. In C. L. Wijeyesinghe & B. W. Jackson, III (Eds.), New perspectives on racial identity development: A theoretical and practical anthology (pp. 243-270). New York: New York University Press.
Ecological Theory of Mixed Race Identity Development

Describes patterns for developing a healthy multi-racial self-concept and multi-racial identity transitioning from experiencing the self as a mono-racial individual, to an individual of multiple races, to identification as multi-racial and how that applies in situations and societies.

  • Renn, K. A. (2004). Mixed race students in college: The ecology of race, identity, and community on campus. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Perspectives on American Indian Identity Development

Recognizing no single self-definition or generalized approach, provides a framework for understanding individual and group(s) awareness of American Indian languages, histories, cultures, traditions, and their impact on individual identity development.

  • Horse, P. G. (2001) Reflections on American Indian identity. In C. L. Wijeyesinghe & B. W. Jackson, III (Eds.), New perspectives on racial identity development: A theoretical and practical anthology (pp. 91-107). New York: New York University Press.
Theory of Racial and Ethnic Development

Describes a three-stage process of exploring and committing to one's racial and ethnic identity which eventually leads to developing a social identity based on ethnic group membership.

  • Phinney, J. S. (1990). Ethnic identity in adolescents and adults: Review of research. Psychological Bulletin, 108, 499-514.
Torres' Model of Hispanic Identity Development

Suggests students' personal identity development and integration is a process defined by internal conflicts and peer/societal expectations. Offers four cultural orientation quadrants, and a grounded theory focused on identity development in the first two years of college orientated around conditions for situating identity and conditions for change.

  • Torres, V. (1999). Validation of a bicultural orientation model for Hispanic college students. Journal of College Student Development, 40, 285-298.
  • Torres, V. (2003). Influences on ethnic identity development of Latino college students in the first two years of college. Journal of College Student Development, 44, 532-547.
White Male Identity Development - The Key Model

Related to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, this model describes how White men understand their privilege and the impact of their privileges on others.

  • Scott, D. A., & Robinson, T. L. (2001). White male identity development: The Key model. Journal of Counseling & Development, 79(4), 415-421.
  • Scott, D. A. (2009). White male identity development and the world of work, using the Key Model. In G. R. Walz, J. C. Bleuer & R. K. Yep (Eds.), Compelling counseling interventions: VISTAS 2009 (pp. 21-29). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
White Racial Identity Model

Provides steps for understanding and abandoning White privilege and defining oneself with a non-racist identity: contact, disintegration, reintegration, pseudo-independence, immersion/emersion, and autonomy.

  • Helms, J. E. (1995). An update of Helms's White and people of color racial identity models. In J. G. Ponterotto, J. M. Casas, L. A. Suzuki, & C. M. Alexander (Eds.), Handbook of multicultural counseling (pp.181-198). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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Sexual Orientation

Heterosexual Identity Development Theory

Describes five statuses of heterosexual identity development: unexplored commitment, active exploration, diffusion, deepening commitment, and synthesis. Also explores development through an internal and external lens.

  • Worthington, R. L., & Mohr, J. J. (2002). Theorizing heterosexual identity development. The Counseling Psychologist, 30, 491-495.
Homosexual Identity Model

Provides six stages of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender identity development: confusion, comparison, tolerance, acceptance, pride, and synthesis.

  • Cass, V. C. (1979). Homosexual identity: A concept in need of definition. Journal of Homosexuality, 4, 219-235.
Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Lifespan Development Model

Describes the process by which an individual develops over the lifespan in six non-consecutive stages in combination with the development of understanding their identity in the context of oneself, one's peers, and one's family.

  • D'Augelli, A. R. (1994). Identity development and sexual orientation: Toward a model of lesbian, gay, and bisexual identity development. In E. J. Trickett, R. J. Watts, & D. Birman (Eds.), Human diversity: Perspectives on people in context (pp. 312-333). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Model of Gay and Lesbian Identity Development

Describes the process of developing gay and lesbian sexual identities and the process of becoming part of the gay and lesbian community.

  • Fassinger, R. E. (1998). Lesbian, gay, and bisexual identity and student development theory. In R. L. Sanlo (Ed.), Working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender college students: A handbook for faculty and administrators (pp. 13-22). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Multidimensional Model of Heterosexual Identity Development

Describes six areas that influence the development of sexual identity: biology; microsocial context; gender norms and socialization; culture; religious orientation; and systemic homonegativity, sexual prejudice, and privilege.

  • Worthington, R. L., Savoy, H. B., Dillon, F. R., & Vernaglia, E. R. (2002). Heterosexual identity development: A multidimensional model of individuals and social identity. Counseling Psychologist, 30, 496-531.

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