What is Cultural Competency?
Cultural competency, cultural proficiency, and cultural responsiveness are all terms used to mean similar kinds of things even if some authors have good reasons for choosing one term over the other. All of them point to the idea that actively working to understand the many identities and experiences our students bring will help us serve them better and provide them with a more meaningful and inspiring educational environment. This site uses the term “cultural competency,” but we are less concerned about which term is best and more concerned that we are actively (and sincerely) creating educational environments and opportunities in which students can bring all of themselves, without fear, to their work and interactions at FLC. We will continue to work to remove barriers that our own lack of competence might create. Our goal is that students should see themselves visible and valued in curriculum; in their interactions with staff, administrators, and faculty; and in the over-all campus culture and climate in order to support them in being the best students they can be.
What is Equity?
Equity is another term that is used in variety of ways, sometimes quite narrowly (e.g., to focus on specific disproportionately impacted groups of college students) and sometimes quite broadly (e.g., to discuss what is fair or inclusive). We use Equity to describe both a process and a goal. It is embodied in understanding the different needs of our FLC constituent groups (especially students) and distributing resources and support based on what is necessary for each member of our community achieve success. (See PolicyLink’s Equity Manifesto for a deeper explanation.)
FLC has adopted its own Equity Statement. Our statement is accompanied by a set of questions to facilitate the implementation of these ideals in practical ways on different institutional levels and in multiple locations of interaction throughout our campus community.
What is this site and how should I use it?
This site is meant to provide resources, ideas, and opportunities for discussion on cultural competency and equity issues to anyone at Folsom Lake College who interacts with students. While we may wish to have an environment that supports our increasingly rich diversity of students, it takes sincere and directed effort to do so. Before jumping off into curriculum and teaching ideas or any of the other resources on this site, please consider the material below as a starting point.
Start Where You Are
Working for a socially just and culturally competent college climate and campus means beginning with yourself. Starting where you are can include asking yourself difficult and uncomfortable questions to see your own interactions and roles in the college and other interconnected issues. As you begin to see yourself and the extent of your own context, the institutions and the systems to which they connect will become more visible. The self-assessment tools listed below can help begin that process.
- FLC’s Equity Statement includes specific questions for individuals and groups to consider/answer as part of making decisions or as part of the processes for creating and evaluating plans, policies, and practices. This document provides some specific ideas for how to use the questions to make our commitment to equity meaningful and real.
- Harvard Implicit Bias Test: Discover your implicit associations about race, gender, sexual orientation, and other topics.
- Cultural Proficiency Receptivity Scale: A nonscientific instrument designed to guide you through a process of self-reflection.
- Cultural Responsiveness – Questions to Consider: this is a short series of questions for folks to consider who are beginning to think about these issues.
- Racial Equity Organizational Assessment: this tool provides a multi-layered framework for gathering organizational information on equity issues.