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Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President

2006-2007 Provost Lecture Series

Vasti Torres

The Journey towards the Middle for the Oppressed and the Intolerant

Tuesday, March 13, 2007
10:30 a.m. - 12:00
Fiedler Auditorium
Fiedler Hall

Vasti Torres, Associate Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs

Video of Lecture

Archived video of the lecture provided by the Office of Mediated Education and Regents Educational Communications Center.

Sponsored in part by the National Institutes of Health .

Biographical Sketch:

Vasti Torres is associate professor of higher education and student affairs administration in the W.W. Wright School of Education at Indiana University . Prior to coming to Indiana University in 2003 she was a faculty member at The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development in Washington , DC . She teaches courses in student development theory, research in higher education and student affairs administration. Prior to joining the faculty, she had 15 years of experience in administrative positions most recently serving as Associate Vice Provost and Dean for Enrollment and Student Services at Portland State University in Portland , OR . Dr. Torres' research focuses on how the ethnic identity of Latino students influences their college experience. She has written numerous articles on Latino college students, survey development and use, as well as other diversity issues. She was the Principle Investigator for a multi-year grant investigating the choice to stay in college for Latino students. She is active in several higher education and student affairs associations. In 2007 - 2008 she will become the first Latina president of a national student affairs association - ACPA. She has been honored as a Diamond Honoree, Wise Woman Award, and Emerging Scholar by the American College Personnel Association, Outstanding Faculty by the NASPA Latino/a Knowledge Community, Program Associate for the National Center for Policy in Higher Education, and SACSA Scholar from the Southern Association of College Student Affairs. Dr. Torres holds a Ph.D. in Counseling and Student Affairs Administration from The University of Georgia.


One of the goals of higher education is to create a market place of ideas. While this ideal is highly valued, it is a difficult goal to attain when it comes to conversations about diversity, privilege and intolerance. Using longitudinal data from a study of Latino/a college students, this presentation will explore the developmental task for students who belong to a minority social identity group (some of who could be oppressed) that they need to master in order to have conversations about diversity with students in the majority group. In addition, the presentation will explore developmental task that the social majority students (some of whom could be intolerant) need to master in order to have a conversation about diversity with students from the social minority groups. In understanding these developmental tasks faculty and staff can help students in their journey towards the middle and thus facilitate positive discussions within the market place of ideas.