The Importance of Integrating Cultural Competence Into Higher Education

Nikia Handy, “The Importance of Integrating Cultural Competence Into Higher Education”
Mentor: Benjamin Trager, Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research

How could cultural competence be more integrated into the culture of higher education? “Diversity and inclusion” are promoted by major industries such as the public sector, higher education, and social and economic institutions The concept has permeated major industries and the political climate has been diversified. According to Huffpost, “A new report on the 2018 midterm elections found that women and people of color won their races at similar rates to white men – challenging the prevailing notions of what types of candidates are more “electable.” (HuffPost, 2019). However, higher education institutions continue to lag in understanding the importance of integrating cultural competency practices on their campuses. Diversity and inclusion are no longer just the right thing to do. A wide variety of industries have stated that diversity and inclusion are the paths forward to ensuring your bottom line is great. These concepts are merely inviting a seat at the table, whereas cultural competency acknowledges cultural differences. To explore my question, I have chosen to engage in free reflection. In my research, a free reflection would apply because it focuses on students providing their unanticipated domains for their reflection that can be valuable in processing their experience. I will be clear about sharing my experience but without revealing the institution. through sharing my personal experience at my university, developing student success initiatives, and starting the conversation with my peers as they share their own individual experiences. Cultural competence pushes the initiative of diversity and inclusion by securing a seat at the table, as it demands equity and inclusivity. Cultural competence is a key component in working with others, facilitating communication, and group interaction: with acknowledgment of cultural differences and backgrounds while still accepting others.

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