The Popel Shaw Center offers annual training opportunities for faculty staff and students to build awareness, knowledge and skills. These include workshops and presentations led by PSC staff, often in partnership with campus partners. We have also invited experienced facilitators to lead the campus in training.  

Workshops and presentations focused on cultural diversity and inclusion help community members gain tools to develop their Intercultural Knowledge and Competence: “a set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts” (Bennett, 2008).  

(Source: Bennett, J. M. 2008. Transformative training: Designing programs for culture learning. In Moodian, M. A. (ed.). Contemporary leadership and intercultural competence: Understanding and utilizing cultural diversity to build successful organizations, 95-110. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage).

Training levels:

  • Introductory Trainings focused on helping to introduce foundational concepts and ideas.
  • Intermediate Trainings targeting participants who are familiar with some foundational concepts and have some experience attending trainings but are seeking deeper engagement.
  • Advanced Trainings targeting people who feel conversant with a range of social justice concepts issues and terms, and actively practice culturally competence in their personal and professional lives, but are seeking additional layers

Developing cultural awareness, skills, and knowledge

All trainings and workshops can be classified as contributing to the cultural awareness, skills and/or knowledge of participants. Each area is important in helping individuals, and thus communities, become more culturally competent.  

Awareness is understood as developing a sense of self-knowledge and the ability to compare/contrast one’s culture with other cultures in a healthy way. Training opportunities featuring self-assessment/reflection activities, interactive opportunities for participants to understand each other (e.g. iceberg), exercises where people share and discuss vulnerable aspects of their identities, are awareness oriented trainings.

Culturally aware people are conscious of their social location (e.g. social class, gender identity, racial identity) and some related challenges and privileges of their identities. They can also recognize different ways of being that are culturally informed in an affirming and appreciative fashion. Along with appreciating different cultures culturally aware people are sensitive to how struggles against different forms of oppression shape the worldview of people with cultural experiences different form their own and are willing to engage these differences.

Knowledge refers to activities that expand an individual’s understanding of cultures, identities, issues, structures, and social dynamics. This could entail a mix of content knowledge as well as more abstract or theoretical understandings.

Training opportunities like courses, colloquiums, seminars, lectures, webinars, facilitated discussions, individual engagement with educational media (e.g. reading, viewing documentaries), are examples of knowledge-oriented trainings.  

Culturally knowledgeable people have specific, historically grounded knowledge about cultural groups, historical eras, political issues and related topics. The knowledge they acquire enables them to place individual experience and identity in larger historical and social contexts.

Skills describes the ability of individuals to apply and integrate cultural awareness and knowledge in a variety of cultural settings.

Training opportunities focused on topics like developing interpersonal rapport, active listening, facilitating dialogues, mediating conflicts, allyship, are skill-building trainings.

Some key skills that characterize culturally competent people include the following:

  • Ability to identify and openly discuss cultural differences and issues
  • Ability to assess the impact of cultural differences on communication and effectively communicate across those differences
  • Capability to empathize across cultural lines and genuinely connect with individuals who are culturally different from themselves
  • Ability to incorporate new learning and prior learning in new situations
  • Ability to gain the trust and respect of individuals who are culturally different from themselves
  • Capability to accurately assess their own multicultural skills, comfort level, growth, and development
  • Ability to differentiate among individual differences, cultural differences, and universal similarities
  • Ability to challenge and support individuals and systems around oppression issues in a manner that optimizes multicultural interventions
  • Ability to make individual, group, and institutional multicultural interventions
  • Ability to use cultural knowledge and sensitivity to make more culturally sensitive and appropriate intervention