Promoting Cultural Competency for a Diverse World

Each day that students spend on the GCC campus prepares them to meet the challenges of our changing world. As faculty, we impart knowledge and content to students, but at the same time we strive to develop critical thinking skills and communication skills that will enable students to navigate our increasingly complex society.

One important area of student development that cries out for more attention is cultural competence. While there are many definitions, the concept is broadly defined as a level of respect and awareness of one’s own culture and attitudes, but also those of others with whom we might interact. In short, this is how we think about and understand others; these components inform how we act and our attitude toward others. The National Education Association has highlighted the importance of culutral awareness and competency in their article, Why Cultural Competence?

Others can be defined based on many different characteristics, here are a few:

  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Geography
  • Race
  • Income
  • Occupation and social standing

Role modeling cultural competency is an important tool, but there are also other things instructors can do to help students develop these skills.

Faculty Focus outlines Five Competencies for Culturally Competent Teaching and Learning (Cheryl Irish, EdD and Monica Scrubb, EdD):