WKU is first to have certified cultural competency program

Western Kentucky University’s Inclusive Teaching Academy will offer professional development to faculty

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) — The Council on Postsecondary Education awarded its first cultural competency credential certification to Western Kentucky University’s Inclusive Teaching Academy on Jan. 19. Launched in November 2021, the certification process reviews and certifies programs offered by Kentucky colleges and universities aimed at developing well-defined cultural competencies and remedying both personal and organizational biases.

“The ability to communicate effectively and respectfully with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and with a wide variety of life experiences is an essential skill for students, faculty and staff,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson. “Our certification process helps Kentucky colleges create and expand structured, evidence-based programs so their campus communities can develop the competencies they need to successfully teach, learn and operate in an increasingly diverse environment.”

The Inclusive Teaching Academy is a four-month professional development opportunity for all faculty ranks. Faculty from each of the five WKU colleges will be selected through a competitive application process each semester. The academy will launch its inaugural cohort this month.

“The fact that Western Kentucky University is the first university in the state to receive approval for its Cultural Competency Credential program continues to illustrate our ongoing commitment to educating faculty about creating an inclusive classroom environment,” said WKU Provost Robert “Bud” Fischer. “This program and similar programs related to diversity, equity and inclusion are part of the university’s ONE WKU campaign.”

The academy’s functions include deepening participants’ knowledge of inclusive and culturally responsive teaching; creating opportunities for participants to apply evidence-based diversity, equity and inclusion principles to course design and pedagogy; and offering a collegial space for participants to reflect on their teaching practices.

The Council requires Kentucky’s public higher education institutions to include strategies to increase cultural competency on campuses in their annual diversity, equity and inclusion plans. One option is for colleges to offer micro-credentials to students, staff and faculty. Micro-credentials do not replace classes, certificates or degrees.

The process for an institution’s micro-credential program to be recognized as a certified Kentucky Cultural Competency Credential begins with submitting a proposal for review by the Council’s Cultural Competency Advisory Council, a group of faculty and staff representatives from Kentucky’s two- and four-year public institutions. The advisory council provides feedback and may suggest modifications to the program before the institution submits it for final approval by CPE’s Academic and Strategic Initiatives Committee.

Categories: News, State News

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