At Elon we recognize every faculty and staff member serves as a teacher-scholar-mentor supporting an environment that excels at engaged student learning. Part of doing this work well means understanding and reflecting on how our cultural identities influence our practices as well as students’ cultural identities and the related impact on their learning. Cultural consciousness is having an awareness of one’s own cultural identity and views about difference. Within the context of higher education this includes the ability to learn with and build on the varying cultural and community norms of students and their families. It is the capacity to understand the within-group differences that make each student unique, while celebrating the between-group variations that make our country a tapestry. This understanding informs and expands inclusivity and celebration of diversity in a teaching environment.
To support faculty and staff to view and grow in their current work with the lens of intercultural consciousness, the Center for Equity and Inclusive Excellence has developed the Cultural Consciousness Certificate. The core components are:
- Kick-Off (Fall): The kick-off day is intended to provide participants with an overview of the program (including an understanding of tools that will be used), an opportunity to engage beginning reflections of their participation in the program, and an introductory overview of some frameworks used to think about intercultural development and engaging across difference. The format is interactive and informal, with meals, snacks, and materials provided.
- Dialogue Process (Fall): The dialogue process consists of eight 1 ½ hour lunches over the course of the fall semester. We will meet weekly (with a few breaks included) to develop dialogue across difference. A dialogic process is characterized by a format that encourages active listening, development of deep understanding, and a framework that fosters risk-taking and vulnerability. All sessions will be an invitation to participate in the prompts of the day, but participants must commit to attending the lunch sessions to be a part of the certificate. Some lunches are provided, but most are bring-your-own.
- Project Proposal Development (Winter): During Winter Term, the group will have the opportunity to meet for coffee sessions (voluntary) to receive feedback and support in developing their full proposal for work they will engage during the spring semester. Full proposals will be due by the end of Winter Term.
- Project Work (Spring): Certificate participants will work more autonomously during the spring semester on a project that will address an aspect of intercultural engagement they would like to more fully develop. Work will complement existing work in the campus community and incorporate continued individual growth. Technical assistance for the spring work will be provided throughout the spring by the Office of Inclusive Community Development. Outcomes of the spring work will be presented and celebrated at a graduation ceremony at the end of the semester.
If you are interested in more information about the program or participating in the future, please contact Leigh-Anne Royster.