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Special Programs 

Recognition of Cultural Competency

The Recognition of Cultural Competency (RCC) is an acknowledgement noted on a student’s transcript, stating that he or she has taken at least 5 courses about cultures within and outside of the United States AND has engaged in activities that provide extensive interaction with people whose cultures and backgrounds are different than his or her own. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with the RCC adviser as they plan their coursework to ensure that they are preparing an appropriate portfolio. Once ALL of the requirements listed below are fulfilled, a student will receive a notation (approved by the instructor of the capstone course) on the transcript indicating that the student has completed this program.

Cultural competency encompasses:

  • awareness of and knowledge about cultures and backgrounds other than one’s own
  • a deeper understanding of one’s own culture in comparison with other cultures
  • social skills for interacting with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures
    awareness of disparities and inequalities based on cultural or social backgrounds and identities
  • understanding of social justice issues (i.e., issues related to creating an equitable and fair society)

Benefits of RCC for students

  • The study of various cultures and social identities results in a better understanding of oneself through a comparison with others.
  • Studying other cultures and social identities results in an enhanced ability to empathize with people who differ from us.
  • The study of cultures and social identities enriches us by exposing us to the perspectives of members of various groups.
  • Learning about and interacting with people whose backgrounds are distinctly different from our own, improves interpersonal skills and abilities to negotiate in a variety of social situations.
  • Cultural competency is a key skill desired in the corporate world.

Requirements:

In order to qualify for the Recognition of Cultural Competency (RCC), students must complete a minimum of 21 credit hours of course requirements. Courses used to fulfill these requirements can also count toward a student’s major or minor and/or toward the fulfillment of general education requirements. All required courses can be taken for CR/NC. However, a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 2.0 must be achieved to gain the RCC acknowledgement on the transcript.

  1. Required foundations course (3 credit hours): Students are required to take one of the following three courses:
  • ANT 101 - Social Justice in a Global Society 3(3-0) OR
  • SOC 101 - Social Justice in a Global Society 3(3-0) OR
  • COM 255 - Undergraduate Intergroup Dialogue 3(3-0)
  1. Study of populations within the United States (9 credit hours)
  • Any course that satisfies the University Program requirement in Integrative & Area Studies Subgroup IV-C Studies in Racism and Cultural Diversity in the United States (See University Program in the Index for page number).
  • A course in any discipline in which at least 2/3 of the content is on a culture within the United States; preferably, the course should also include a discussion of social justice issues.
  • A list of approved courses can be seen on the MEC web site: http://www.cmich.edu/x21666.xml.
  1. Study of Global Cultures (6-7 credit hours depending on whether a language class is used to fulfill this requirement): Students are required to choose two courses from the following:
  • Any course that satisfies the University Program requirement in Integrative & Area Studies Subgroup IV-B Studies in Global Cultures; (see University Program in the Index for page number).
  • 4 credit hours can be selected from foreign language courses
  • Only one language course below the 300 level is allowed
  • A course in any discipline in which at least 2/3 of the content is on a non-Western culture; preferably, the course should also include a discussion of social justice issues
  • A list of approved courses can be seen on the MEC web site: http://www.cmich.edu/x21666.xml.

Capstone Course (3 credit hours): Culminating experience for students qualified to receive the Recognition of Cultural Competency. To complete the capstone course, students will be required to:

  • Hand in a portfolio of reflection papers on 12 different events or activities
  • Complete and reflect on a cultural competency self- assessment
  • Write a paper integrating theories of cultural competencies with their related courses, activities, and other experiences since coming to CMU

Portfolio of reflection papers:

This portfolio consists of papers written for courses taken during the student’s career at CMU. If needed, a student can complete the portfolio while taking the capstone course. In addition to a summary of the event or activity, the reflection papers must include a discussion of how the event or activity contributed to the student understanding of the history and conditions of a particular group and/or of issues related to cultural competency in general.

Ten of the reflection papers may be based on attendance at a diversity event, a cultural competency workshop, a diversity-related conference, or on participation in Leadership Safari. Additional qualifying activities need to be approved by the advisor/capstone course instructor.

The additional two reflection papers must be activities approved by the advisor/capstone course instructor. Suggestions include but are not limited to: volunteering with Special Olympics, participation in Study Abroad, facilitation of an intergroup dialogue, presentation of a paper or poster session at a diversity-related conference, active participation in a registered student organization representing a culture other than the student’s own culture, or mentoring/tutoring students from a culture other than the student’s own culture.

Transfer students—should consult with the adviser for the RCC program to see which of their transferred courses can count toward completing the requirements for this program.

For more information, contact the Multicultural Center at mec@cmich.edu or 989-774-7318.

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