• Arthur Goss posted an update in the group Group logo of Cultural Diversity Course CriteriaCultural Diversity Course Criteria 8 years, 5 months ago

    (Email sent to all faculty 12/4/15)
    Hi Faculty Person,

    I wanted to give you a heads-up that the curriculum advisory committee (CAC) intends to have a session on the February 11th college issues day, whereby the faculty will discuss and vote on criteria for designating a course a “Cultural Diversity” course. More information will be forthcoming early next month, but this email is to give advanced notice about this important topic.

    You probably know that every associate degree graduate from BC must take a course that has been designated as a cultural diversity (CD) course. Despite the fact that this is a special requirement for graduation, we do not, as a college, have any special criteria for designating a course as such. Recent proposals to the CAC have brought this issue to the fore.

    A group from the social science division researched and discussed proposed criteria at the request of the CAC. Their recommendations can be found below. Some CAC members thought these were quite good. Others wondered if they might be too stringent and would result in some of the current CD courses being removed from the list. (You can find the list at .) One suggestion was that instead of requiring all five aspects, perhaps fewer should be required. The CAC did agree that whatever criteria we adopt, whether it is requiring all five aspects of the recommended plan, less than five, or even a different plan, it was important enough that it should be a faculty-wide decision. That is why we arranged for time on the College Issue Day February 11th, and that is why I’m notifying you with this email.

    Whatever criteria wins the vote on February 11th, we will also discuss if we should grandfather-in the existing CD courses, or review them with the new criteria in mind.

    If you have strong opinions about this topic, it would be entirely appropriate to begin organizing like-minded folks. The cultural diversity experience that our graduates have here is important, and says a lot about us as a college. The decision should be made after careful thought and discussion. If you do organize folks in support of a plan other than the recommended plan below, I’d be grateful if you could let me know by mid-January so we can effectively plan the time on College Issues day.

    I’ll email a reminder and update in early January.

    Art Goss
    Astronomy Faculty
    CAC Chair

    Proposed plan:

    For your class to meet the Cultural Diversity General Education Rating the course content and outcomes must include all of the following:

    1. Culture as an adaptation
    a. Ex. Culture as a adaption for environmental survival
    b. Ex. Culture as a function of environmental change

    2. Cross Cultural Comparison
    a. Ex. The exploration of multiple cultures and cultural traits beyond a “laundry list of cultural traits.”
    b. Ex. The exploration of differences between cultures not only addressing how, but also the why they are different.
    c. Ex. Exploration of the insiders (emic) view versus the outsiders (etic) view.

    3. Cultural power and stratification
    a. Ex. Culture is constructed through intra and inter cultural power structures
    b. Ex. The view of a culture or cultures are shaped by power and stratification relationships

    4. Cultural relativism and ethnocentrism
    a. Ex. Cultures are viewed from the perspective that they exist within and develop within their own unique context
    b. Ex. Within the frame work of cultural relativism, no culture should be viewed as better than any other and no cultural trait should be viewed as wrong, just different.

    5. Awareness of self as a cultural being
    a. Ex. Understanding one’s place in the world as a cultural beings.
    b. Ex. Understanding others exist in this world as cultural beings.

    • This is a good proposal for faculty to begin talking about. I appreciate that it is brief. However, I’d like to propose some revisions:

      1) Rather than “the course content and outcome MUST include all of the following,” I’d propose a certain minimum number required (e.g. 3 out of 5). One out of five is too few, and 5 out of 5 is too many, particularly since these outcomes appear to be slanted toward the Social Sciences. It makes sense to me that the CD courses would, in fact, heavily fall within the realm of the Social Sciences and Humanities, but #2, for example, is heavily anthropological.

      2) Under #4 above, I’d recommend adding a “c” that says something to the effect of “Identify the shortcomings, fallacies, and ethical implications of both ethnocentrism and cultural relativity.”

      3) I’d like to see a #6 added, to include something like “Historically marginalized groups (pertaining to race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, social class, etc.) are a significant focus of the course. A critical analysis of the role of power, with regard to both privilege and oppression, is included.”

      Those are my initial thoughts.