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Cultural Competency Training

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion’s Cultural Competency Training model was launched in 2011. The program is a way to increase awareness, knowledge, and skills of Michigan Tech students, staff, and faculty about the following issues:

  • self-awareness,
  • communication,
  • cultural literacy,
  • diversity,
  • discrimination, and
  • conflict management.

All OTLs and student employees in Housing and Residential Life participate in the trainings. Faculty, staff, and students who are interested in the training may contact Kellie Raffaelli for more information. External agencies (universities and companies) interested in purchasing a packaged version of the Cultural Competency Training Model can click here for purchase information. 

Cultural Competency Training—The Eight Steps

Step One: Defining Diversity and Exploring Identity Development

The purpose of this training is to introduce the many aspects of diversity and the process by which identity develops. We will explore the process of socialization in order to understand the ways our values and thus our behaviors are shaped by our interaction with the world around us. We will analyze one specific aspect of diversity and discuss how we are socialized to understand and respond to that aspect, thereby exploring how we develop an understanding of ourselves in relation to others.

Step Two: Deepening Our Self-Awareness

The purpose of this training is to deepen understanding of identity and how sense of self is shaped. We will explore the social identity groups we identify as members of, what it means to us to be members of these groups, and how our membership in these groups impacts our lives. We will also analyze our understandings of what it means to be outside of the groups we identify with and how we think it impacts others to not be part of our identity groups. Finally, we will discuss how our understanding of self in relation to others is shaped by assumptions and impacts our communication with others.


Step Three: Unpacking Your Cultural Baggage

The purpose of this training is to discuss the impact bias, stereotypes and prejudice can have on people.  We will spend time exploring how our own cultural views create assumptions that impact the way we see and respond to others and how this can raise unnecessary hurdles in our cross-cultural communication with others. We will also share strategies for responding to situations where stereotypes are used.

Step Four: Exploring the “–isms”

The purpose of this training is to discuss some of the most common ISMs and the relationship between those systems of oppression and the assumptions people make about others. We will explore some of our individual assumptions and connect those to messages within our culture. We will also spend time exploring the way ISMs function institutionally and as overlapping systems of oppression.

Step Five: Power and Privilege

The purpose of this training is to look at the ways in which one is privileged in society. The workshop is designed to introduce the concepts of power and privilege and how they impact relationships with others. This training also touches on the complex web of privilege and the interconnectedness of all types of privilege, as well as systemic sources of privilege and how and why they are difficult to identify in society.

Step Six: Privilege Revisited, Connecting It All

The purpose of this training is to delve deeper into participants’ responses to the exploration of power and privilege by looking closely at the underlying reasons for those responses. We will also spend time looking back at steps one through five to connect our understanding of diversity, the process of identity development, the disconnects that can arise during intercultural communication, the impact of bias and stereotypes on relationships with others, the types of oppression, and the way they function institutionally, as well as the ways all of these constructs work to create power and privilege.

Step Seven: Conflict Management

The purpose of this training is to discuss common sources of conflict and the varying levels of tension they create. We will explore common fears that prevent us from addressing those sources of conflict and introduce conflict management strategies to help navigate situations of conflict. Participants will also take part in a role-playing scenario that presents multiple types of conflict and asks them to practice working through the steps of the conflict management process.

Step Eight: Facilitating Difficult Dialogues, Developing Personal Action Plans

The purpose of this training is to focus on identifying, discussing and developing strategies for managing difficult conversations.  The focus is on recognizing the complexity of engaging in and responding to controversial topics borne from attitudes, beliefs, values, etc. that illicit strong and sometimes hostile responses.  Another goal is for participants to reflect on the 8-step training module as a whole and to develop a personal action plan with goals they set for themselves that will enable them to continue their individual learning and development with respect to cultural competency.