Student Affairs Initiatives Towarda Multicultural UniversityKathleen Manning                           Higher Education an...
culture. The word “culture” is susceptible to          American (United States) culture. She referredmany definitions that...
against which behavior is shaped and judged.           work and that of Atkinson, Morten, and SueTraits, characteristics, ...
370
shows organizational progression from mono-           rooted in long-term organizational developmentculturalism, through a...
practice. Conflict management such as room-           language can change from a dominant perspec-mate changes emphasize d...
TABLE 3                                Components of Multicultural InstitutionIndividual and Community                    ...
Barr, D., & Strong, L. (1988). Embracing multi-culturalism:    Heath, S. (1983). Ways with Words: Language, life and work ...
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Student affairs initiativestoward a multicultural university

  1. 1. Student Affairs Initiatives Towarda Multicultural UniversityKathleen Manning Higher Education and Student Affairs Program, University of VermontPatrice Coleman-Boatwright Office of Student Life, Trenton State CollegeThis article presents the Cultural versities from monocultural to multiculturalEnvironment Transitions Model elucidating a environments.monoculturalism to multiculturalism Student affairs departments shape, manage,continuum. The model assists one to and influence significant aspects of the univer-understand institutional progress toward a sity environment: residence life, student unions,multicultural environment. campus activities, career planning, and athletics. Student affairs staff can directly influence the formation of a multicultural environment, buildDiversity, a buzz word for the 1980s, promises an inclusive campus environment, and transformto be a goal as well as a rallying cry for student institutional structures. As such, their impact onaffairs educators into the next century. By the the process of multiculturalism is particularlyyear 2000, there will be more African American important to all participants in the institution.and Latino students, learning-disabled persons,and individuals from diverse backgrounds GOALS OF MULTICULTURALISMconstituting college and university populationsthan ever in the history of higher education The definition of multiculturalism (Strong,(Hodgkinson, 1983, 1984; Smith, 1989). To date 1986, as quoted in Barr & Strong, 1988) is pro-student affairs educators have used this infor- posed as a goal toward which higher educationmation in an effort to change practices so that institutions can grow.students and professionals of color are beingactively recruited into higher education, repre- The multicultural organization is one which is genuinely com-sented in campus programs, and encouraged to mitted todiverse representation of its membership; is sensitiveuse campus services. to maintaining an open, supportive and responsive environ- ment; is working toward and purposefully including elements Although colleges and universities have gen- of diverse cultures in its ongoing operations; and . . . is au-erated some successes from a strong recruitment thentic in its response to issues confronting it. (p. 85)effort, retention of multicultural students, staff,and administrators continues to elude solutions. This definition is useful in its emphasis onEducation and awareness training programs, communication, knowledge of different cul-particularly within student affairs divisions, tures, and appreciation and celebration of dif-have been initiated in an effort to increase re- ferences. An organization that is multicultural,spect for and encourage the valuing of cultural understood as a dynamic interplay between anddifferences. Years of such activity on some among cultures, can be productive, effective,campuses have helped but have not completed and inclusive. Such an organization values thethe task of moving those colleges and uni- achievements and talents of all community members as part of its ethical and moral purpose.Kathleen Manning is an assistant professor and can be con-tacted at the Higher Education and Student Affairs Program, CAMPUS CULTURES ANDUniversity of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405. Patrice WHITE CULTUREColeman-Boatwright is the executive assistant for the Deanof Student Life at the Office of Student Life and can be A discussion of multiculturalism is incompletecontacted at Trenton State College, Trenton, NJ 08650. without an explication of the ambiguous termJournal of College Student Development / July 1991 / Vol. 32 367
  2. 2. culture. The word “culture” is susceptible to American (United States) culture. She referredmany definitions that are seriously contested and to the predominant culture as “White culture”open to multiple meanings, disagreements. and because of its Eurocentric origins (see Table 1).interpretations (Clifford & Marcus, 1986). Cul- White culture characterizes the majority oftures are formed from a confluence of history, American organizations and institutions (Katz,past experience, human action, and tradition 1989). It is expressed in the symbols, religion,(Bourdieu, 1977; Giddens, 1979, 1984). language, rituals, and organizational structures The crux of the dilemma concerning the de- of colleges and universities. This representationscriptions and definitions of culture is that the includes the presence of male symbolism in artfollowing question is rarely asked: Whose past, and architecture, predominance of Christian ortraditions, actions, and experience are embraced Christian-like ceremonies, use of standardwithin our institutional structures, described in English and academically sanctioned writingthe study of history, transmitted through the cur- styles, and existence of bureaucracy. Institu-ricula of schools, and represented in the art and tional policy reflects predominant culture valuesarchitecture of campus environments? The cul- of power (i.e., held by elites, expert authority,ture that has come to predominate through a and upper-management decision making). Rigidvariety of historical circumstances permeates or- time schedule of classes, meetings, and appoint-ganizations and institutions such that many cam- ments, a parental style of club and organizationpus community members accept its monocul- advising, and housing assignment procedurestural characteristics as a given or as the way that assume heterosexuality are additional ex-things are done. This rarely questioned accep- amples of the predominant culture as it is ex-tance conceals the fact that many cultures are pressed on campus.possible and, in fact, do exist within institutions. The assumptions and characteristics of White In an attempt to make visible the less visible, culture form the basis for ways of behaving andKatz ( 1989) created a framework describing the operating in educational institutions. Thesecharacteristics and processes of the predominant ways of operating become the norm or standard TABLE 1 Components of White Culture: Values and BeliefsRugged Individualism Protestant Work Ethic Individual is primary unit Working hard brings success Individual has primary responsibility Progress and Future Orientation Independence and autonomy highly valued and Plan for the future rewarded Delayed gratificationCompetition Value continual improvement and progress Winning is everything Emphasis on Scientific Method Win lose dichotomy Objective, rational, linear thinkingAction Orientation Cause and effect relationships Master and control nature Quantitative analysis Pragmatic utilitarian view of life Dualistic thinkingDecision Making Status and Power Hierarchical Measured by economic possessions Pyramid structure Credentials, titles, and positions Majority rule when Whites have power Believe "own" system is bestCommunication Family Structure Standard English Nuclear family is the ideal social unit Written tradition Man is the breadwinner and head of household Direct eye contact Woman is primary caretaker of children Control of emotions Patriarchal structureTime Aesthetics Adherence to rigid time schedule Women’ beauty based on blonde, blue-eyed, thin, s Time viewed as a commodity and youngHistory Music and art based on European cultures Based on European immigrants’experiences War romanticizedReprinted and adapted from "The Sociopolitical Nature of Counseling" by J. Katz, 1985, The Counseling Psy-chologist, 13 (4), p. 618.368 Journal of College Student Development / July 1991 / Vol. 32
  3. 3. against which behavior is shaped and judged. work and that of Atkinson, Morten, and SueTraits, characteristics, and actions that differ (1989). These models promote individual devel-from these accepted or sanctioned ways are con- opment from monoculturalism or ethnocentrismsidered deviant, abnormal, and are, in general, through awareness, understanding, and appreci-rejected as appropriate ways of being (Schaef, ation to multiculturalism.1985). A great deal of time and effort during One could postulate that institutions gothe educational process is devoted to teaching through a parallel process so that through edu-adherence to these cultural norms (Giroux, cation, awareness, and sensitivity, institutions1988; Willis, 1977). can become multicultural. Such models can as- People of color, women, international stu- sist student affairs educators to understand thedents, physically challenged students, homosex- dynamics and complexities of institutionaluals, lesbians, and others who represent diverse change.perspectives may feel disenfranchised and alien-ated from an environment in which their way ofoperating, life-style, or cultural characteristics CULTURAL ENVIRONMENTare not the norm reflected in institutional sym- TRANSITIONS MODELbols, language, and behaviors (Heath, 1983).The norms around which the college was organ- The following Cultural Environment Transitionsized (e.g., admissions standards, sanctioned be- Model (see Table 2) depicts institutional strug-havior. disciplinary procedures, and financial gle with issues of diversity. The model, a chron-expectations) are at odds with what feels ological though not necessarily contiguous pro-"normal" for students of diverse perspectives. cess, is not a definitive way of explaining,For example, Latino students may have learned predicting, and controlling environments but isto switch (i.e., be proficient with the use of a means to assist institutional members to definecultural patterns, behaviors, and language from and work toward the goals of multiculturalism.their own and other cultures), but this balancing At each step and plateau of the model, com-act is achieved with varying degrees of success. munity participants can recognize initiatives People from diverse cultures may believe that (upper half of the model) and indicators (lowerthere is no one with whom they can identify. half of the model) that characterize theirFeelings of isolation, alienation, invisibility, and institution’ receptivity to the goals of multi- sattitudes that they are not welcomed are proba- culturalism. An organization in which racialble reactions for these students. Students of color slurs and violent attacks are tolerated with littleoften comment that there is no place on campus recourse available can be located at the mono-where they can feel psychologically or physi- cultural end of the continuum. When switchingcally safe (Fleming, 1984). The reality of a pre- by predominant and nondominant culture ad-dominant culture on campus can create a hostile ministrators is encouraged, role modeling isand potentially dangerous environment. The readily available for students of color, and powermoral imperative of remedying this situation is distributed equitably throughout the institu-takes on an increased urgency as the number of tion; the organization is closer to the multicultu-diverse students increases. Student affairs edu- ral end of the continuum.cators frustrated with the slow pace of change The Cultural Environment Transitions Modeltoward multiculturalism are facing the realiza- assumes that organizational growth occurs astion that racism, sexism, and other forms of members of the community acquire knowledgeoppression are cyclical and recurrent unless ap- about other cultures, gain experience with peo-proached through ethical, developmental, and ple different from themselves, and are chal-educational initiatives. lenged with structural and systemic change through this effort. Essentially, the status quo changes. Changes in policies, administrativeBEYOND INDIVIDUAL AWARENESS procedures, and language are indicators of or- ganizational growth toward multiculturalism.The current educational and awareness training Representative numbers of multicultural staff,sessions conducted on campuses take advantage judicious use of symbols, and inclusion of di-of individual awareness models. Examples of verse cultural styles indicate an increased levelthese models can be seen in Jefferson’ (1986) s of expression of diverse cultures. The modelJournal of College Student Development / July 1991 / Vol. 32 369
  4. 4. 370
  5. 5. shows organizational progression from mono- rooted in long-term organizational developmentculturalism, through a period in which some to achieve multiculturalism.college members are aware but unable to effect The second 90° step (see Table 2, II) in thechange in the institution, into a time of openly model is a towering one up which few institu-expressed conflict, through organizational re- tions have ventured. It is a turning point or quan-birth reflective of multicultural goals, and, fi- tum leap of sorts after which the organizationalnally, into a state of multiculturalism that is structures are transformed. A critical mass ofsystemic and institutional. These stages do not understanding and awareness precludes partici-necessarily follow one another in an orderly pants from settling for anything less than fullyfashion. Rather, commitment or retreat by insti- inclusive practices. Social justice and egalitari-tutional participants, particularly university anism are institutionalized and systemic.leaders, can influence a university so that stages The period leading up to this second step isare skipped, a period of regression can occur, one from which student affairs educators andor a renewal of multiculturalism is established college administrators regularly retreat. Thesymbolically through personnel changes. cusp through which institutions must travel is A true state of multiculturalism is hard won characterized by conflict, abandonment of pastthrough efforts, dramatic change, and compro- well-practiced ways of operating, and acknowl-mises. Past practices, institutionalized to be- edgment of the discrepancies between intentionscome "the way things are done here," serve to and reality.promote oppression. Organizational structuresbuilt on monocultural norms are difficult to pen- THE INEVITABILITY OF CONFLICTetrate by anyone outside the predominant cul-ture; new groups receive limited resources be- Institutions must confront the conflict present atcause of previously established allocation the second step of the model to progress towardprocedures. Selection procedures rarely for- multiculturalism. Power relationships, role def-mally recognize the contributions of people who initions, and priorities shift, both in a revolu-possess a perspective different from the institu- tionary and evolutionary sense, as multipletional norm. The institutional structure and ex- cultural perspectives become prevalent, recog-clusionary practices inherent in that structure are nized, and valued. Conflict, viewed from aformidable. multicultural perspective, is not a negative pro- The process of increasing communication to cess to be avoided but is positive, growth pro-intensely honest and effective levels as well as ducing, and essential to achieving the goals ofacquiring skills not formally valued in the insti- multiculturalism.tution is a long one. This process is fraught with Little in history would lead a person to believefalse starts, pitfalls, and blind alleys. The Cul- that the transformation from one culture to manytural Environment Transitions Model depicts cultures occurs through a voluntary relinquish-this dynamic process, which requires constant ment of the privileges and prestige of being theeducational processes and vigilance to reward dominant culture. Change is resisted on manynondominant cultural styles, structure, and levels. Individually, practices that base perfor-behaviors. mance rewards on mastery of a dominant culture The steps (see Table 2, I and II) in the model management style recreate a dominant culturecan be perceived as steep 90° angles that com- structure. Institutionally, practices that perpetu-munity members must scale. The plateaus are ate university sagas and fail to recount the ac-not flat but can be viewed metaphorically like complishments of women and people of colorthe rolling deck of a ship: slippery, difficult to further reinforce a dominant culture perspective.traverse, and often treacherous. Hard-won This resistance to multiculturalism can be vio-movement along the continuum is difficult to lent and traumatic, such as the hiring and firingsustain. The all-pervasive presence of the dom- of people who do not conform. The maintenanceinant culture in the organizational structure of the dominant culture structure can also occurworks against progress toward multiculturalism. less overtly by development of a reputation forThese realities are not causes for discourage- exclusionary practices that discourage diversement but, rather, sources of understanding about applicants.the need for empowerment, policy making, and The reality of conflict during cultural transfor-goal advancement. These processes must be mation raises substantial issues for student affairsJournal of-College Student Development / July 1991 / Vol. 32 371
  6. 6. practice. Conflict management such as room- language can change from a dominant perspec-mate changes emphasize diffusion. The unful- tive (e.g., military and violent metaphors) tofilled promises of student protests follow a prac- more empowering language (e.g., emphasizingtice of avoidance. These conflict management talent development of all rather than using su-practices of diffusion and avoidance must be perlatives to describe a few). Expectations ofabandoned in lieu of opportune confrontation staff and student employees can include theand true conflict resolution. These include the goals of multiculturalism. Advocacy workuse of social contracts and interventions that would be distributed throughout the campusbuild community and interaction among cul- rather than focused on work by culturally di-tures. verse people. Student affairs educators have a significantrole in prompting the institution beyond the re-active responses and conflict diffusion ap- COMPONENTS OF A MULTICULTURALproaches that are currently the modus operandi. INSTITUTION: VALUES AND BELIEFSThis reactive approach has been useful in spur- In an effort to visualize and clarify what a multi-ring institutions toward a new form of effica- cultural environment might look like, Katz’ scious intervention. Unfortunately, these inter- (1989) model of White culture (Table 1) wasventions fall short of empowering people toward adapted by the authors to reflect and identifythe goals of multiculturalism. Renewed efforts major characteristics of a multicultural environ-must propel community members from a level ment (Table 3). These characteristics serve as aof complacency and status quo to dissatisfactionwith the current representation of one culture guide and should not be construed as a definitive description of all multicultural institutions.within the campus power and administrativestructures. The many styles valued and respected within a multicultural environment enjoin that all par- The system as a whole must change when ticipants become adept at switching (e.g., com-there is a presence of enough people willing to municating with people of all backgrounds andand demanding change. A critical mass of stu- experiences, using a variety of languages anddents of color, significant accumulation of cul- expressions, adopting multiple cultures and per-tural knowledge by White administrators, and spectives). The responsibility for adaptation andadoption of an attitude that one culture can no adjustment should not be the sole obligation oflonger be viewed as the best or only one repre- the culturally diverse but shared by all memberssented in the power and administrative struc- of the institution. Concurrently, the presence oftures are all triggers for dramatic change. An different voices and points of view necessitateintolerable incident that triggers students’ de- that the campus become a less hostile environ-mands for change cannot be easily ignored by ment for nonmajority students, faculty, and ad-student affairs educators who have incorporated ministrators.celebration of differences into their everyday The multicultural environment is not a perfect language and behavior. place. The diverse preferences and perspectives Although certain incidents (e.g., student pro- represented in its cultures characterize the envi- test) precipitate revolutionary action, the insti- ronment as chaotic and difficult to administer. Intution works toward change through multi- homogeneous organizations where people haveculturalism that exists in pockets and individual similar backgrounds and cultural styles, some offices. For example, efforts on the part of a level of agreement and consensus is ensured.particular administrator can result in a depart- Already a long process, building consensus in ament or program that has staff (dominant and multicultural organization is a practiced art.nondominant cultures) who provide inclusive services and programs. Individual student affairseducators, regardless of the campus climate to- SUMMARYward multiculturalism, can change their behav- iors that are incongruent with diverse perspec- Multicultural institutions are more complex thantives. Changes occur as individuals share power organizations relying on a majority worldview. and engage in dialogue about topics previously The expression of diverse opinions, varieties of not discussed (Freire, 1970, 1985). Additionally, learning styles, and multiple perspectives pro- the college’ objectives and goals can be rewrit- s vide more opportunities for misunderstandings, ten to reflect inclusive practices. Institutional communication errors, and style clashes. The372 Journal of College Student Development / July 1991 / Vol. 32
  7. 7. TABLE 3 Components of Multicultural InstitutionIndividual and Community Work Ethic Win/win situations Stopping out, flextime, maternity/paternity leaves Consensus Productivity among elderly Autonomy and interrelatedness valued Decision-Making Approach Acceptance of coexistence with environment Collaborative efforts valuedCommunication Nonbureaucratic organizational structure (e.g., proj- Ability to communicate with more than one culture ect groups, flat structure) Variety of communication modes and styles utilized Time (i.e., oral traditions, storytelling, use of symbols, Flexibility in time schedules (e.g., staggered work silence) day, job sharing) Multilingual Holidays Language reflecting fewer military and competitive Diversity of religions activities recognized and cele- metaphors brated (e.g., Kwanzaa)Status and Power Thinking Styles Power distributed equitably throughout system Metaphoric Belief that shared power enhances everyones Overlapping boundaries recognized power Global Advancement and recognition based on diverse Qualitative and quantitative research methods perspectives one brings to situation Religion Belief that differing styles and modes of operating Life viewed in many ways (e.g., generative, cycli- can obtain same or better results cal) other than linear and finite Blurring of gender role boundaries Aesthetics Profit motive not sole measure of success Value in life transitions Less emphasis on aggressiveness Diversity represented in art and architecture History Cooperation All American cultures represented Win/win situations Family Structures Consensus Single parent families Action Orientation Extended family involved in child rearing Coexistence with nature Lesbian parenting Lateral changes viewed positively Same-sex life partners Small is valuedawareness training currently conducted at many personal styles, and culture, all involved cancolleges and universities that focuses on indi- reach a level of success and achievement forvidual awareness and education must proceed to themselves as well as the institution.more advanced stages of intercultural commu- Student affairs educators have the capacity tonication, group awareness, and systemic change. profoundly influence the initiation and fulfill- ment of multiculturalism within their areas ofImplications responsibility as well as throughout the campus as a whole. Through management of major pro-In addition to the human rights and moral pur- grams on campus (e.g., residence life, financialposes inherent in the multicultural movement, aid, campus activities), profound influence onstudent affairs initiatives toward awareness and the choices of university symbols (e.g., majorchange in the structure of the university serve a speakers, leadership awards), and input, if notpractical purpose. As universities become more decision making, about cultural representationmulticultural, they also become more effective, in everyday campus life (e.g., staff hiring, dininghighly productive institutions where all mem- hall food, student union decor), student affairsbers are affirmed and fulfilled (Katz, 1989). Het- staff have significant windows of opportunityerogeneous institutions with varied perspectives to influence and shape a multicultural campusencourage more creativity, effectiveness, and environment.problem solving. Such institutions are more in-teresting places to live, learn and work. Thepersonal expression and achievement possible REFERENCESwhen all people feel valued within the institution Atkinson, D., Morten, G., & Sue, D. (1989). Counselingis currently unimaginable. As all members of American minorities: A cross-cultural perspective. Du-the college are free to express their individuality, buque, IA: Brown.Journal of College Student Development / July 1991 / Vol. 32 373
  8. 8. Barr, D., & Strong, L. (1988). Embracing multi-culturalism: Heath, S. (1983). Ways with Words: Language, life and work The existing contradictions. NASPA Journal, 26(2), 85- in communities and classrooms. New York: Cambridge 90. University Press.Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. New Hodgkinson, H. (1983, March-April). Guess who’ coming s York: Cambridge University Press. to college? Academe, pp. 13-20.Clifford, J., & Marcus, G. (1986). Writing culture: The Hodgkinson, H. (1984). All one system: Demographics in poetics and politics of ethnography. Berkeley, CA: Uni- education from kindergarten through graduate school. versity of California Press. Washington, DC: Institute for Educational Leadership.Fleming, J. (1984). Blacks in college. San Francisco, CA: Jefferson, F. (1986. March). Training develops multi-cultural Jossey-Bass. awareness. ACU-I Bulletin, pp. 12-16.Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Katz, J. (1989). The challenge of diversity. In C. Woolbright Continuum. (Ed.). Valuing diversity (pp. 1-22). Bloomington, IN:Freire, P. (1985). The politics of education: Culture, power Association of College Unions-International. and liberation. S. Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey Pub- Schaef, A. W. (1985). Womens reality: An emergingfemale lishers. system in a White male society. Minneapolis, MN: Win-Giddens, A. (1979). Central problems in social theory: Ac- ston Press. tion, structure and contradictions in social analysis. Smith, D. (1989). The challenge of diversity: Involvement Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. or alienation in the academy? Washington, DC: ASHE.Giddens, A. (1981). The constitution of society. Berkeley, (ERIC Higher Education Reports Number 5) CA: University of California Press. Willis, P. (1977). Learning to labor: How working classGiroux, H. (1988). Schooling and the struggle for public kids get working class jobs. New York: Columbia Uni- life. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. versity Press.374 Journal of College Student Development / July 1991 / Vol. 32

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