Developing your Cultural Competency: Individual actions to improve the climate for all

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 8:30am-11:30am REC Center Lower Gym Meeting Room


Gary Weissmann, University of New Mexico-Main Campus
Roberto Ibarra, University of New Mexico-Main Campus
Science and academia have a culture that can be challenging for students, particularly those from groups underrepresented in the STEM fields. This session will engage participants in activities to increase their self-awareness of their personal culture and biases, and the impact these have on their own careers and teaching. With this grounding, participants will build competency in engaging with students who don't share the same cultural attitudes.


Why are we having difficulty attracting a diverse population of students to the geosciences? Are we doing things in our classrooms that inadvertently dissuade students from underrepresented groups to choose the geoscience major, and if they enter the field, are we supporting these students in a culturally-sensitive manner? This workshop will lead you through exercises to help you understand your cultural self and how this may affect your teaching, explore the Western scientific approach to knowing and doing, and learn about other ways of knowing and doing from different cultures. We will evaluate approaches to learning from different cultures, and explore things you can do in your classroom to broaden participation. You may find that many of the approaches you already use enhance learning for all students and why this is so.

The workshop is targeted for faculty and administrators who are interested in some potential reasons we have not attracted a diverse community in the geosciences, and explore things that can be done programmatically and in curricula to broaden the appeal of geosciences and help retain and support students once they choose the major.

When you complete this workshop, you will:

  • Recognize aspects of your personal cultural upbringing that may influence how you teach, your expectations in the classroom, and how students may learn from you;
  • Be able to evaluate aspects of your teaching that may be more conducive for different student populations using a contextual model;
  • Be able to build classroom exercises that are conducive to Multicontextual learning.

We will use activities during the course of the workshop to help you explore cultural difference in our approaches to learning and science. Activities will include development of a cultural autobiography, exploration of contextual diversity, and development of activities that you may use to approach Multicontextual learning.

      Next Page »