Cultivating cultural competence

By: Kebron Tesfaye, Staff Writer

Associate Director of Student Diversity and Development Anee Korme introduced the Center for Student Diversity’s first Cultural Competency 101 seminar Wednesday and discussed how students and staff can understand and show appreciation for diversity.

During the seminar, the first of four this semester, Korme urged students to delve into cultural consciousness over cultural competence.

“‘Competency’ implies that there’s this ability to build this depth of expertise that is final. When it comes to cultural education and diversity work, there is no ‘final,’” she said.

During the workshop, students were given a Personal Profile sheet upon entrance and were asked to fill out the empty boxes that included questions like, “Where did you grow up?” or “What is your favorite holiday or day of celebration?”

Reflections on the group exercise were shared immediately afterwards.

Some recalled that it was interesting that something as simple as a name could carry so much meaning. Others reflected that the variety of languages spoken were beyond what they could have imagined.

The presentation touched on different levels of cultural interaction, such as the significance of interactive dialogue and understanding when not to breach sensitivity.

“We talk about dialogue as a more cyclical rather than a flat line,” Korme said. “Just because the conversation is over doesn’t mean it ends there.”

The course will have three more sessions that will cover religion, constitutional rights and the impact of hate groups in America.

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