|Center for Culture and Diversity
|The Center for Culture and Diversity (CCD),
a division of the Institute for Human Services, was founded in 1998
to promote the development of personal, interpersonal, and organizational
cultural competence. CCD helps individuals, and the organizations
in which they work, develop and refine the capacity to relate to
people from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds in a sensitive,
mutually respectful, and collaborative manner.
|Through a variety of training, consultation,
program evaluation, and facilitation activities, CCD helps organizations
and their staff in a variety of ways, which include:
To help employees develop understanding
of concepts of culture and diversity, and how these apply to their
To help employees understand how their
own cultural backgrounds affects their values, feelings, and actions,
and their perceptions of and responses to other people;
To help employees recognize how lack
of awareness, differences in communication styles, and misinterpretation
of cultural cues can create interpersonal conflict, preventing
thoughtful dialogue and resolution of cultural issues;
To help employees recognize the strengths
and limitations of all cultures, including their own;
To teach employees strategies that
promote cultural understanding and cultural competence in the
|What Makes CCD's Approach Unique?
There are many sources for culture
and diversity training and consultation. Perhaps you or your colleagues
have participated in some of these programs, and were not completely
satisfied with the results. CCD's approach to cultural education
is unique in a variety of ways.
First: Understanding the Dynamics of Culture
A majority of training programs focus on learning about others...
usually presenting the traits and characteristics of a particular,
often minority, ethnic, cultural, or racial group. This approach
can actually promote stereotyping, and, by itself, fails to prepare
people to function effectively in cross-cultural environments.
It is virtually impossible to understand every nuance of every
culture. Culturally competent people understand the dynamics of
cross cultural interactions, and can "think culturally"
in diverse situations. General information about cultures can
then be acquired and used within an appropriate context, rather
than as a rigid stereotype.
Second: The "Safe Environment"
A safe and open learning environment promotes thinking, questioning,
dialogue, and an opportunity to test out and correct one's own
beliefs and presumptions. Our goal is to challenge each other
to think; to examine our own beliefs, biases, and misconceptions;
and to develop a more accurate understanding of culture and its
dynamics. Mistakes, misperceptions, and cultural errors are not
only expected, but accepted as a normal and natural part of the
learning experience. CCD trainers and consultants create and maintain
this safe environment throughout the initiative.
Third: Facilitated Dialogue and Problem
In a dialogue, people explore ideas, opinions, and assumptions
to reach a higher level of understanding. Effective dialogue allows
participants to identify and deal with interpersonal and organizational
cultural dynamics without feeling threatened. The enhanced understanding
derived from dialogue frees people to craft mutually-agreeable
|CCD works with staff and managers to plan,
implement, and evaluate an organization's culture and diversity
initiatives. A leadership team is generally formed and given responsibility
to design, guide, and monitor the initiative. This team is trained
and facilitated by CCD staff.
CCD works in partnership with intact work teams, leadership groups,
and managers to identify and assess organizational strengths and
limitations related to diversity; and, to identify how cultural
dynamics impact the functioning of the work force, and the effectiveness
of services. This information is used to identify objectives and
activities for the change initiative.
Facilitated Strategic Planning
CCD helps organizations design and implement strategic plans to
improve organizational cultural competence. Sustained follow-through
and consistent support from CCD consultants helps assure that the
plan will actually be implemented, and productive changes will be
maintained over time.
The Institute for Human Services, the organizational home of CCD,
is recognized throughout North America for its sophisticated approach
to competency-based inservice training. The principles of the IHS
CCBIT system, including a Universe of Competencies, individualized
training needs assessment, focused training that addresses both
group and individual needs, the highest standards of trainer excellence,
and strategies to promote transfer of learning, all of which are
incorporated into CCD's culture and diversity training.
A multi-cultural team of trainers leads all
CCD training initiatives. The trainers model effective cross-cultural
communication, provide trainees ample opportunity for small group
dialogue, and facilitate dialogue in areas of conflict or disagreement.
A variety of training approaches are possible,
depending upon the organization's unique needs and budget.