Report on Reading Group for “Embracing Diversity: Developing Cultural Competence for Inclusive Education”

On Friday, April 19, 2024, DKU faculty, staff, and students were invited to our last Session 4 reading group on “Embracing Diversity: Developing Cultural Competence for Inclusive Education”. During this session, we commenced our discussion with a brief overview of the study conducted by Allen, Cowie, and Fenaughty (2020), titled “Safe but not Safe: LGBTTIQA+ Students’ Experiences of a University Campus.” This study sheds light on episodes of name-calling, fear of coming out, and the lack of gender-neutral toilets and inclusive practices for addressing discrimination, highlighting the nuances of queerphobia on campus. Although the institution had a “Zero tolerance for discrimination” policy in place, it lacked the necessary structures and processes to ensure true inclusivity. Departing from this point, we further discussed three diversity statements from different universities and elaborated on what we can do as the next step to truly promote cultural competence among DKU students and address DKU students’ specfic needs on campus.

Building upon the discussion from the previous reading group event, where we delved into various aspects of fostering cultural competence, we collectively identified an essential next step in our endeavor to promote diversity and inclusivity on the DKU campus. Recognizing the importance of understanding the specific concerns and experiences of our student body, we unanimously agreed to initiate a comprehensive survey aimed at soliciting feedback from DKU students. This survey will be designed to explore a wide range of topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusiveness, allowing students to voice their perspectives, challenges, and suggestions regarding these crucial issues. By actively involving students in this process, we aim to gain valuable insights that will inform our strategies for creating a more inclusive and supportive environment at DKU. Moreover, the survey results will serve as a foundation for faculty members to tailor their pedagogical approaches, ensuring that classroom practices align with the diverse needs and perspectives of our student community.

The event was organized by Zhenjie Weng, Assistant Professor of English Language Education, and Yanan Zhao, Senior Lecturer of English for Academic Purposes, from the Language and Culture Center. The event was sponsored by the Humanities Research Center, covering the fees for event promotion and refreshments for attendees.