Minnesota Youth Development Research Group


The Minnesota Youth Development Research Group was initiated by Dr. Michael C. Rodriguez at the University of Minnesota in 2007. The group consists of faculty members, graduate students, and researchers from education institutions in the U.S. and Canada. This effort is partially supported by the endowed Campbell Leadership Chair in Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota.


We explore methodological and substantive challenges in youth development, relying on the tenets of positive psychology, ecological perspectives of youth development, and the translation of research to practice. We also do this work in the spirit of elevating youth voice, practicing elements of socio-cultural psychometrics.


The group explores these areas by utilizing existing large-scale data, primarily the MN Student Survey, and state-of-the-art modeling techniques. Three sets of measures were created from items in the survey, including measures of developmental skills, supports, and challenges - important components of social and emotional learning.


Youth development refers to the transitional period during which young people move gradually from early adolescence to adulthood to achieve their potential. The Minnesota Youth Development Research Group investigates the associations among academic, social, emotional, and physical characteristics, in the spirit of positive youth development.

2017 Educational Equity Convening, University of Minnesota

2018 Meeting with the MN Student Survey Interagency Team at the MN Department of Human Services

Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered, they can be key agents for development and peace. If, however, they are left on society's margins, all of us will be impoverished.

Kofi Annan

In European languages, to say to a person, You are acting childish, would be an insult. However, in my native Lakota, the corresponding phrase would be translated as You are acting like a sacred being. With such a respectful term as sacred being for childhood, it was not surprising that Native Americans exercised great care in nurturing the sacred little ones in our midst. Children were quite literally the purpose of life.

Martin Brokenleg

Real education should consist of drawing the goodness and the best out of our own students. What better books can there be than the book of humanity? The end of all education should surely be service to others. The end of all knowledge must be the building up of character. Years of misguided teaching have resulted in the destruction of the best in our society, in our cultures, and in the environment.

Cesar Chavez