Becoming Culturally Competent

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  • “Wait a minute…why are we concerned with the looking at ‘differences’ among people? Aren’t we past that? I mean, we did elect a black President.”“By focusing on those differences, don’t we do more harm than good?”


  • 1. Becoming Culturally Competent
    An introduction to cultural differences and mindful techniques to reduce the impact of unconscious bias
  • 2. Quick Check. . . .
    How many of you visited the IAT website and took one of the cultural assessments?
    Which test did you take?
    Did the result you received match your expectation of the result you thought you’d receive?
  • 3. Goals for Today’s Seminar
    Discuss changing cultural demographics and their impact
    Examine how unconscious bias can affect educational institutions and interactions with:
    Faculty, staff, and administrators
    Begin to explore ways to become more culturally competent
  • 4. A Few Road Rules…
    Prepare to be:
  • 5. How Do We Define “Culture”?
  • 6. An Initial Cultural Competency Check. . . .
    What’s the difference between the words “Hispanic” and “Latino”?
    Touching a child on the top of his head is a non-threatening sign of affection from an adult.
    Establishing direct eye contact when talking with someone shows trustworthiness.
  • 7. What’s “Cultural Competence”—and Why We Need It
    Cultural competence emphasizes learning effective ways to operate in different cultural contexts
    Becoming culturally competent also:
    Helps educators more effectively deliver learning to students
    Helps recruit and retain a more diverse student and faculty population
    Helps workplace colleagues foster better cooperation and productivity in the workplace
    Helps prevent or minimize unintended consequences that result from the interactions we have every day
  • 8. What’s the Cultural Landscape:
    Whites = 72% (2000 census data)
    African Americans = 13% (2000 census data)
    Latinos = 11% (2000 census data)
    Whites = 89.27% (2000 census data)
    African Americans = 7.27% (2000 census data)
    Latinos = 1.48% (2000 census data)
  • 9. Other Aspects of the Current Cultural Landscape. . . .
    Generational differences
    Gender and gender orientation differences
    Sexual orientation differences
  • 10. “The Times They Are A-Changin’”
    Why educational professionals and those in the workplace have to learn cultural competency skills when dealing with colleagues and students
  • 11. Cultural Differences = Culture Clash??
  • 12. Cultural Differences, Communication and Unconscious Bias as the Source of Culture Clash
    Psychologists once believed that only bigoted people used stereotypes. Now the study of unconscious bias is revealing the unsettling truth: We all use stereotypes, all the time, without knowing it. We have met the enemy of equality, and the enemy is us. Article from Psychology Today
  • 13. A Post-Racial Generation/America?
    The extreme case
    Here’s what we typically think of when we think about “bias”
  • 14. But Bias Today Usually Isn’t That Extreme. . . .
    What most of us normally see or experience doesn’t rise to the most extreme levels—but there’s still pain and conflict
    Quick dialogue
    What have you seen, heard about or experienced within the last year that seemed to reflect a culture clash?
  • 15. Stereotyping and Unconscious Bias
    We all stereotype people
    Are we hard wired to stereotype?
    The need for “blink” decisions by prehistoric man
    The problem with taking fight/flight responses into a modern-day setting
  • 16. Focus with Unconscious Bias in Academia
    Current work mainly looks at faculty and primarily addresses sex, race and gender issues
    What those works indicate:
    Unconscious bias and stereotyping are particularly problematic when it comes to three constituencies:
    Other faculty
  • 17. Displays of Unconscious Bias that Affect Faculty, Administrators
    Complaints to administration, excessively negative evaluations, challenges to authority and classroom management
    Stereotyping of women, people of color
    Challenges by majority students about credentials, appearance, authority, evaluative methods used with students
    Colleagues and administration–
    Overburdening faculty with “academic housekeeping”
    Undermining comments to students and other faculty
    Belief people from “outside” groups are hypersensitive or have illegitimate concerns about stereotyping and bias
    Unconscious desire for people to assimilate in order to be retained
  • 18. But How Accurate Are Our Impressions?
    How much can you tell from a face?
  • 19. Unconscious Bias and Unintended Consequences
    At work
    In other settings
    For co-workers
    For the actor or actors involved
    For the work environment
    At home
    With health care professionals and health care delivery to patients
  • 20. Breaking the Cycle by Becoming More Mindful
    “Promising evidence in social cognitive psychology indicates that with sufficient motivation, cognitive resources, and effort, people are able to focus on the unique qualities of individuals, rather than on the groups they belong to, in forming impressions and behaving toward others.”
    From Reducing Racial Bias Among Health Care Providers: Lessons from Social-Cognitive Psychology
  • 21. What Are Your Concerns as Teachers or as Co-Workers?
  • 22. Specific Situations That May Require Special Care
    Insensitive remarks
    Over-generalizations about specific groups
    Classroom confrontations among students or with a student and faculty member
  • 23. Quick Ideas to Implement
    Educate yourself about what you value and what others value, differences in behaviors, etc.
    Become curious about the world around you
    Go beyond The Golden Rule
    Use “the Mark Twain rule”
    Special considerations for managers
    We’ll delve into ways to incorporate cultural competency into the higher education classroom at a separate session.
  • 24. Internal Monologue. . . .
    “There are too many different cultures to learn about—how am I supposed to know what could offend a person from a particular ethnic or racial background?”
    “This is a bunch of PC crap. I’m not going to change who I am!”
    “People get too sensitive about these things. They just need to grow up!”
    The “Roots” theory of cultural assimilation
  • 25. Additional Resources
    Web resources
    Video (race and its impact on healthcare; you’ll also find similar work related to other disciplines) (free resources on multiculturalism for health care professionals)
    YouTube (fun, slightly bawdy “tongue in cheek” that shows how cultural misunderstandings can create unanticipated consequences)
    “Gran Torino”