At the Chancellor’s Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Luncheon in January, MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty said she’d like everyone at the College to take part in cultural sensitivity training.
That has started happening. A lunch-and-learn session on cultural competency was offered June 6 for Administrative Center and Broadway Plaza employees, led by Robert Page, executive director of inclusion and engagement.
Cultural competency training will be rolled out to the campuses this fall.
The training defines culture as shared ideals, values and assumptions about life. Culture can guide inclusive behavior in our work environment, Page says.
Race or ethnicity is not the same as culture, although culture can include food, clothing and artifacts from various ethnicities — visible signs of culture — as well as invisible signs such as norms, values and beliefs.
“Culture, generally, you’re not born with it,” Page says. “It’s a learned behavior.”
Participants at the AC session were asked to pair up with someone they didn’t know well and share how they identify culturally. Some of those stories were shared with the large group afterward.
Why are these conversations important? For one thing, if you enjoy what you do and you like the people you work with, you do better work, Page says.
And, as Dr. Beatty pointed out back in January, employees’ cultural competency also benefits our students. She told the story of a former English student who came to her class in “sagging pants.” That created an impression, but he would go on to great success. “Can we really say that we don’t pass judgments on our students?” Dr. Beatty asked.