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Rethinking Cultural Competence in Higher Education: An Ecological Framework for Student Development: ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 42, Number 4

Rethinking Cultural Competence in Higher Education: An Ecological Framework for Student Development: ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 42, Number 4

Edna Chun (Editor), Alvin Evans (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-119-29534-1

Jun 2016, Jossey-Bass

176 pages



Take a holistic look at an intentional educational ecosystem that builds cultural competence, a critical skill college graduates need for careers and citizenship in a diverse global society. This monograph unpacks the multilayered meanings of cultural competence and offers a term, “diversity competence,” that is more consistent with the broad spectrum of diversity learning outcomes that occur on campus.

Drawing on the findings of a survey of recent college graduates now working as professionals, the monograph offers:
  • leading-edge, integrative models that bring together the multidimensional components of the learning environment including curricular, co-curricular, and service learning,
  • research-based factors contributing to a campus environment that encourages cultural competence,
  • in-depth assessment and analysis of best practices, and
  • concrete recommendations that offer a transformative pathway to the attainment of diversity competence in the undergraduate experience.

This is the fourth issue of the 42nd volume of the Jossey-Bass series ASHE Higher Education Report. Each monograph is the definitive analysis of a tough higher education issue, based on thorough research of pertinent literature and institutional experiences. Topics are identified by a national survey. Noted practitioners and scholars are then commissioned to write the reports, with experts providing critical reviews of each manuscript before publication.

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Executive Summary 7

Foreword 12

Acknowledgments 14

The Politics of Cultural Competence in Higher Education 16

A Demographic Call to Action 21

The Veil of Color-Blindness 25

Inclusive Excellence and the Pathway to Cultural Competence 27

Purpose and Organization of the Monograph 29

Deconstructing Cultural Competence 32

Intercultural Competence 34

Multicultural Competence 37

Rethinking Culture 40

Unbundling Competence 43

An Alternative Term: Diversity Competence 44

Mission-Driven Statements of Diversity/Cultural Competence 46

Concluding Observations 48

An Ecological Framework for Developing Diversity Competence 50

Attributes of Campus Diversity Experiences 53

Application of the Ecological Model to Campus Environments 55

The Clash Between the Macro and Micro/Meso Levels 56

Holistic Environmental Models for Diversity Learning Outcomes 59

Campus Culture and Climate 62

The Campus Physical Environment 65

Diversity Leadership 66

Organizational Learning as a Catalyst for Change 69

Concluding Observations 71

The Educational Benefits of Diversity and the Link to Democracy Outcomes 73

The Relation of Liberal Education to Diversity Competence 78

Common Ground: Democracy Learning Outcomes and Diversity Competence 80

Cross-Cutting Educational Approaches to Democracy Outcomes 83

Concluding Observations 87

Mapping the Educational Terrain for Diversity Competence 89

A Visual Methodology 90

Campus Curricular Inventory for Diversity 91

Features of Curricular Best Practices 96

Service Learning as a Bridge to Diversity Competence 99

Campus Cocurricular Inventory for Diversity 102

Linking Diversity Competence to Accreditation Criteria 104

Concluding Observations 107

The Role of Identity Development and Intergroup Contact in Diversity Competence 110

The Formative College Years and the Social Construction of Identity 112

Racial and Ethnic Identity Formation 114

Sexual and Gender Identity Formation 119

Holistic Perspectives on Identity Development 121

Structured Intergroup Contact 122

Concluding Observations 126

Strategies and Recommendations for Practice 128

Note 140

References 141

Appendix A: Data Sample 160

Name Index 163

Subject Index 169

About the Authors 173