The College of Agriculture & Life Sciences has partnered with the Department of Multicultural Services to implement a Certificate in Cultural Competency that will integrate programs, courses and service learning into a certificate program to help students prepare for participation in the modern global economy.
There are numerous threads of evidence that support the notion that Texas A&M students would be well served to have more ways in which to demonstrate multicultural competence. The university mission statement and the Vision 2020 imperatives recognize the importance of understanding and respecting other cultures, while acknowledging it is an area that needs improvement.
With employers spending millions on diversity education and multicultural competence training, the question is why universities are not doing a better job in this respect. A Certificate in Cultural Competency would highlight Texas A&M’s willingness to tackle this issue and show future employers that the certificate holder comes to the job with the skills and willingness to function in a pluralistic society. Companies are looking for new hires that show cultural competence and the ability to work in diverse environments are high on the list. This experience will also better prepare our students for job interview questions in the area of cultural competence.
To apply for the certificate, a student must be pursuing a major within in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and have at least a 2.0 grade point average.
Students interested in the certificate should complete an application and include a statement of why they are interested in this certificate. A committee made up of individuals from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Department of Multicultural Services will evaluate applications based on demonstrated interest in issues of multiculturalism and diversity, as well as the ability to answer all application questions. The committee reserves the right to conduct interviews with applicants to make final selections. Students who are admitted will be assigned an advisor in the Department of Multicultural Services to coordinate the co-curricular requirements of the certificate. The application will be available online at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Department of Multicultural Services websites.
- Orientation Session – Every student wanting to enroll in the Cultural Competency Certificate needs to participate in an orientation and a capstone session. The orientation session will be offered a few times during and prior to the semester as needed.
- Academic Coursework – The academic component of the certificate consists of the completion of a minimum of 12 hours of courses that contain diversity components, with GPA of 3.0 in those classes.
- Service Learning Projects – Service learning is an educational approach that combines service to the community with classroom curricula. It is a hands-on approach to mastering subject material while fostering civic responsibility.
- Students can meet this requirement by completing a minimum of 20 hours in one or two projects. These projects can be paid or unpaid, connected to other classes or certifications, or to other entities outside the university. Students must also submit a reflection paper of their service-learning experience.
- Co-curricular Activities – This component consists of attendance to 10 hours of educational and experiential cultural competency education opportunities offered outside of the classroom by various constituents on or off campus.
- To fulfill the co-curricular requirements of the certificate, the students must document their participation in the event, receive the approval of their advisor, and write a reflection piece in their portfolio. Students are expected to cover an array of events and not simply concentrate on a specific area.
- Examples of this include:
- Presentations, workshops and lectures by Department of Multicultural Series (CommUnity Conversation, Film Series, Book Club)
- Evans Library Diversity Series
- Women’s Studies Lecture Series
- NCORE National Conference on Race and Ethnicity
- NCBI National Coalition Building Institute
- Social Justice Week at Texas A&M
- Distinguished Lecture Series
- Residence Life Diversity Programs (Tunnel of Oppression)
- U-ACT Programs
- Women’s Resource Center Programs
- Gender Issues Equity Center Programs
- Race and Ethnic Studies Programs
- Student Government Association Diversity Symposium
- Other National and Local Diversity Conference
- George Bush Library Programs
- SIETAR- Houston
- Anthropology Events and Programs
- Cultural Day Trips through DMS
- Attendance at museums, different religious services, etc
- Education Abroad Trips (If there is a service component attached, then this can also count towards the service-learning component)
- Participation in International Week (I-Week) or other cultural festivals
- Participation in Hispanic Heritage Month, Asian Heritage Month, or Black History Month.
- Capstone Presentation – Upon completing all other requirements of the certificate program, students will register for a capstone presentation.
- The objective of the capstone is:
- To make connections between classroom and co-curricular activities
- To provide the opportunity to publicly present the work completed towards the certificate
- To reflect on the implications of this work, both personally and globally
- The objective of the capstone is: