The Council on Post-Secondary Education has launched a new process for reviewing and certifying cultural competency attestation programs offered by colleges and universities in Kentucky. The Cultural Competency Certification Program was unveiled at the 2021 Senior Council on EDquity Symposium hosted by Western Kentucky University.
â€œBeing able to communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds, appreciating intersectionality and being open to diverse perspectives are essential skills for today’s workforce,â€ said Dawn Offutt, Executive Director CPE initiatives for diversity, equity and inclusion. â€œThis statewide certification process is a way to ensure that Kentucky students, faculty, and staff at our public colleges and universities get consistent, high-quality opportunities to develop well-defined skills. “
The Council requires Kentucky public higher education institutions to include strategies to increase cultural competency on campuses in their annual diversity, equity and inclusion plans. One option is for colleges to offer micro-degrees to students, staff and faculty.
To earn a MicroCertificate of Cultural Competence, faculty and staff must complete at least eight hours of professional development, while students must complete at least six credit hours of coursework. The cultural competency framework provides a basis for aligning the curriculum with learning outcomes to identify and rectify personal and organizational biases, increase self-awareness, develop social skills around diversity, and develop an action plan for advocate for fairness.
For the purpose of this process, micro-degrees for students are defined as’ evidence-based institutional recognitions of academic skills that translate into essential skills and may be part of college courses, but may or may not be awarded directly to university, college, department and program credit. Micro-degrees do not replace courses, certificates or diplomas.
The process for an institution’s micro-accreditation program to be recognized as a Certified Kentucky Cultural Competency Diploma begins with the submission of a proposal for review by the Council’s Cultural Competency Advisory Council, a group of representatives. faculty and staff at Kentucky public two- and four-year institutions. The advisory board will then provide feedback and may suggest modifications to the program before the institution submits it for final approval to the CPE’s Academic and Strategic Initiatives Committee.
â€œThe workplace is increasingly diverse and our global economy often requires employees to work in intercultural environments,â€ said CPE President Aaron Thompson. â€œWe are doing students a disservice if we don’t provide them with structured and intentional systems to acquire cultural skills while they are still in college. Demographic changes are also reflected on college campuses. Faculty and staff need to be able to build trust with a diverse student body and model the values â€‹â€‹of equity, diversity and inclusion in their day-to-day interactions.
Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education