As part of our Middle States Association (MSA) accreditation in 2016, ASL determined one of our two student-learning goals to be: By 2023, students will become more culturally competent. Prior to the setting of the goal, and after extensive research in consultation with experts, we adopted a definition and model of cultural competency based on Milton Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS). The School developed common language around cultural competency using this model, and we decided to use the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) to assess our progress on meeting this student-learning goal. The IDI is a cross-culturally valid and reliable assessment of intercultural competence, which is grounded in the DMIS.
Developing cultural competency is at the heart of an effective learning experience and a critical capability for students to acquire in order to flourish in our diverse world. Cultural competence is defined as an ongoing process by which individuals and institutions respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures in a manner that recognizes, affirms and values their multiple identities. Cultural competency is the ability to be your whole self with people who are not like you. As a community, we hold a growth mindset at the center of our beliefs and thus, we are all in the process of moving forward in the cultural competency continuum.