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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 Student Life staff members, including resident assistants and other student staff, participate in the trainings. Faculty, staff, and students who are interested in the training may contact Renee Wells for more 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 dimensions of diversity and the process by which identity develops. We will explore the cycle 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 also discuss the need to be cognizant of socialization in order to become agents for change.

Step Two: Intercultural Communication

The purpose of this training is to deepen understanding of identity and how sense of self is shaped, to learn how to recognize social codes and cues that help determine how we think and act, and to introduce a strategy that we can use to resolve communication problems when they occur.

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 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 also spend time exploring the way the “-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 how and why conflict arises, the different types of conflict, conflict management styles, and steps for managing conflict when it occurs. 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.