diversity

Diversity and Belonging Council’s goal: Send culturally competent students out into world

BGSU council is preparing biennial report to share with community in July

By Bob Cunningham ’18

The Bowling Green State University Diversity and Belonging Council is set to celebrate its second anniversary this summer.

The council was created to help implement the vision, mission and values of the Division of Diversity and Belonging Strategic Plan:

·     Vision: The Division of Diversity and Belonging promotes equity and inclusion for all members of the BGSU community through culturally competent education, support and celebration.

·     Mission: The Division of Diversity and Belonging strives to create a safe, brave, equitable and inclusive environment where people of all identities — especially the most minoritized and marginalized — are affirmed, empowered and supported.

·     Values: As the Division of Diversity and Belonging, the University values dignity, personal growth and cultural competence. Dignity is defined as the respect and equitable treatment of and opportunity for people of all identities. Personal growth is the development achieved through holistic education, learning, involvement and openly engaging diverse perspectives. Cultural competence is civic, intercultural and ethical engagement that leads to a culture of awareness surrounding equity, social justice and inclusion.

BGSU Chief Diversity and Belonging Officer Jennifer McCary chairs the council, which was created so that there are representatives, appointed by President Rodney K. Rogers, from every area on Bowling Green campuses. It also assists McCary in writing the Diversity and Comprehensive Strategy and Plan and moving the initiatives of the plan forward.

As a public university for public good, McCary said it is important to be able to send culturally competent students out into the world.

“Cultural competence is about our ability to interact with others who are from different backgrounds and cultures than our own,” McCary said. “It is a continuous journey and an emphasis on gaining knowledge — it's about the individual, cultural and organizational connections. Helping our students to have the ability, no matter which atmosphere they're in, to be able to learn, work and interact with people from different cultures and beliefs, and to appreciate people who are different from them is our goal.

“We want our students graduating with the culture competence and confidence necessary, but ultimately, we want to contribute to the need for cultural harmony — which builds on cultural competence but is less about the ability to interact and more about the conscious effort to respect and be open to the cultural differences of others.

“In order to go out into the world as a global citizen, you have to be able to learn about everyone and have an appreciation of those differences.”

The council currently is preparing a diversity and belonging biennial report to share with the community in July.

To learn more about the BGSU Division of Diversity and Inclusion, visit its website.

Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349