RICHLAND, Wash. – Educators are invited to attend a workshop on how to develop and foster positive learning environments for diverse students on April 5 at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

During the workshop, titled “Disrupting Deficit Narratives Through Equity-Minded Practice,” participants will have an opportunity to:

  • Reflect on how the educator mindset affects perceptions and shapes institutional culture.
  • Assess campus climate and understand conditions needed to foster a positive learning environment for diverse students.
  • Practice AVID culturally-responsible strategies, which can be used in the curriculum and co-curriculum to support all students.

The workshop is put on by AVID for Higher Education, which provides professional learning opportunities and wrap-around support intended to positively affect students’ persistence and ability to complete assignments and courses while in college.

The workshop costs $150 and includes lunch and the book “AVID for Higher Education Engagement Practices for Teaching and Learning.” Individuals can register to attend online.

Participants will hear from Robin Withers, an AVID program specialist for teaching and learning. She has more than 35 years of experience in education, spanning the elementary to the collegiate level, and has worked in everything from student success and multicultural services to school administration. Withers earned a bachelor’s of science in secondary education from Chadron State College in Nebraska, as well as a master’s in special education with an emphasis in severe affective, and an education specialist degree with acknowledgements in educational leadership and policy studies, both from the University of Denver.

Participants will also hear from Yvonne Ortiz, an AVID program manager who has more than 23 years of higher education experience in both the public and private college and university settings featuring a range of demographics. She has worked with universities and colleges of varying sizes at predominantly white, historically African American, urban, secular and religiously-affiliated institutions. She received her bachelor’s in urban studies from New York University and a master of education degree in educational administration from Rutgers University. Prior to joining AVID, Ortiz served as the dean of student affairs at Houston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, and as assistant dean for campus life at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.


Kate McAteer, WSU Tri-Cities interim vice chancellor for academic affairs, 509-372-7371,