Inaugural Cultural Competence Institute aimed at helping educators change organizational environments

July 18, 2019 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Educators from across the region are invited to participate in a new Grand Rapids Community College program aimed at creating organizational change in environments where conscious or unconscious behaviors influence prejudice and discrimination.

The program, set for Sept. 27, is part of the GRCC Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’s inaugural Cultural Competence Institute.

“A faculty member or teacher engaging in instruction is responsible for creating an educational experience that safeguards the psychological and emotional well-being of students,” said Dr. B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, GRCC’s chief equity and inclusion officer.

“Therefore, it is imperative for practitioners to expand their pedagogical ideas and approach. It is my sincerest hope that the Cultural Competence Institute can help build a network of culturally responsive educators in the West Michigan region.”

The institute focuses on offering participants practical skills and evidence-based best practices and strategies. The initial program is “Bandwidth Recovery: Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Social Marginalization.”

It will be led by Dr. Cia Verschelden, vice president of academic and student affairs at City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College. Verschelden, who earned her doctorate at Harvard University, is the author of the 2017 book “Bandwidth Recovery: Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Social Marginalization.”

The full-length course is designed for administrators and educators devoted to creating strategies and interventions that show promise in helping students regain cognitive resources required for success in school. 

A prerequisite for enrollment in the CCI course includes, but is not limited to, Intergroup Dialogue training, Institute for Healing Racism training, or Cultural Intelligence training.

Seating is limited. More information about the registration process and fees can be found online.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.

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