ERIC Identifier: ED455902
Publication Date: 2001-05-00
Author: Kirkpatrick, Laura
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse for
Community Colleges Los Angeles CA.
Multicultural Strategies for Community Colleges: Expanding
Faculty Diversity. ERIC Digest.
For years, many community colleges have been discussing the need for
multiculturalism in the classroom in an effort to give students an understanding
of an increasingly diverse population. According to Burstein (1997),
multicultural education is a process that promotes understanding and
appreciation of the cultural diversity that exists within a pluralist society.
King (2000) stresses that students must be able to compete academically and
technologically on a global scale and to communicate effectively with people
from different cultures.
Multiculturalism is of great importance in the community college, for it is
the community college that provides the initial exposure to higher education for
most non-traditional students. Adopting a multicultural stance in the community
college is helpful in facing the challenge of serving a diverse student
clientele (Burstein, 1997). However, undertaking such an endeavor is not an easy
task. Students that come from a variety of cultural and lifestyle backgrounds
need role models on their college campuses (Erkut & Mokros, 1984).
Increasing the diversity of the administration and faculty is one promising way
to provide role models and establish the kind of rapport needed for effective
mentoring. To be effective, mentoring must include people that listen to each
other, care about each other, and have a willingness to strive toward mutually
rewarding experiences leading to the satisfaction of individual and group needs
MULTICULTURAL SUCCESS THROUGH A MULTICULTURAL
Multicultural education involves more than adding a few classes.
Rhoads and Solorzano (1995) contend that this endeavor should begin with
restructuring community colleges so that all constituents have the opportunity
to expand upon current academic understandings, making issues of citizenship,
social responsibility, and democratic participation central to the experience.
The personal and academic relationship between faculty and students has been
referred to as the "core relationship" of learning, encompassing the roles of
teachers and students, the subject matter and their interaction in the classroom
(Burnette, 2000). Castro-Abad (1995) stresses that a faculty member's goal
should be to assist multicultural students in adapting to American educational
culture rather than to bring about, or encourage, their assimilation. Such a
curriculum could enable all students, regardless of their cultural background,
to take an active role in their own education.
Though student diversity on community college campuses is increasing at a
rapid pace, community colleges are not achieving similar levels of diversity
among their administrators (Foote, 1996). Some experts believe that community
colleges will not reach their full potential as a catalyst for educational and
social progress without increasing the commitment to multicultural leadership
(Bowen & Muller, 1996). Students from underrepresented cultural and
lifestyle backgrounds are less attracted to education and teaching as a
profession due to the lack of desirable role models in those particular fields
(Crase, 1994). Thus, the lack of diverse role models in faculty and
administrative positions creates a cyclical pattern in which the diminished
diversity works against the ability and desire to increase and build a
BEYOND GOOD INTENTIONS TO IMPLEMENTATION
need to hire a more multicultural staff, a number of innovative educators have
initiated programs to help recruit and train staff from underrepresented
populations to succeed academically and socially within the community college
system. Several of these ongoing initiatives are described below.
County Community College (NY)
Schenectady County Community College, New York campus, created an intern
program aimed to increase faculty diversity. The program was started after the
college's affirmative action and multi-cultural affairs committee decided to
address the lack of diversity among faculty. The program is designed to select
and give interns from a variety of diverse cultures an overall knowledge of the
entire community college operations. Candidates intern for four semesters and
then apply for vacancies as they become available.
Diego & Imperial Counties (CA)
The San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College Association in
cooperation with San Diego State University created a community college training
internship for members of multicultural groups interested in community college
teaching or counseling careers. The program identifies, recruits, trains,
prepares, and helps place individuals from historically underrepresented groups
in California community colleges as faculty and counselors. Throughout the year,
each intern works very closely with an assigned mentor. After completion of the
program, interns are employed by one of the colleges as an adjunct instructor or
counselor. During a three-year period, 70 interns participated in the program;
70% were females and 80% were from multicultural backgrounds, including
International, African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, and Amer-Asian
students. The program has been successful; 75% of interns have been employed at
a community college after program completion.
of Manhattan Community College (NY)
Recognizing that its student body is far more diverse than its faculty, the
Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York has developed a fellowship
program aimed at recruiting teaching fellows from diverse populations that
represented the variety of ethnic groups within the community. The minority
fellowship program was started in the fall of 2000 and is designed to recruit
teaching fellows from among multicultural graduates. These graduates are placed
into the program where they teach 12 hours per week under a mentor teacher, and,
upon completion of the program, they are given the opportunity to compete for an
available faculty position at the community college.
College of San Francisco (CA)
The City College of San Francisco (CCSF) has listed diversity as a key
institutional value in its strategic plan and stresses the importance of
celebrating the diversity of the students, faculty, administrators, and
communities it serves. To achieve this goal, CCSF has established a
Faculty/Mentor Diversity Internship to increase the number of faculty members
from a variety of cultural and lifestyle groups employed by the college. The
interns are afforded the opportunity to learn and practice teaching and
interaction techniques appropriate for community college students, which will
make them more competitive when applying for full and part-time positions after
all project qualifications have been met. CCSF also supports diversity by
sponsoring the Annual World PULSE Diversity Retreat, a weekend of exploring
cultural issues and identities.
Monica College (CA)
Santa Monica College (SMC) produces more transfer students from a variety of
minority groups for the University of California system and the California State
System than any other community college in the state. Under the leadership of
its president, SMC has developed several programs that address diversity issues.
At SMC, the areas of greatest impact are mentoring and "grow your own"
activities. The college provides professional development, utilizing national
organizations that promote underrepresented groups in higher education. The
college president and other key administrators and faculty also serve as active
mentors to these students. In addition, SMC has engaged in a new transfer
agreement with historically black colleges, encouraging former African-American
students to come back to SMC as professional employees.
It is beneficial for community colleges to adopt
programming activities that encourage faculty, administrators, and students to
enhance their growth and development through interactions with people from a
variety of lifestyles and cultures. Moreno (2000) stresses that for the benefit
of educational efficiency and productivity, multicultural groups accomplish
tasks that could not be done by individuals working alone; they bring multiple
skills and talents to bear on highly complex tasks. The community college
student population, which is increasingly diverse, needs administrators and
faculty members as mentors and role models who can demonstrate successful
strategies to overcome barriers and achieve success. "A basic tenet of
psychological theories of identification is that people emulate models who are
perceived to be similar to themselves in terms of personality, characteristics,
background, race, and sex" (Erkut & Mokros, 1984, p. 400). The relationship
between educators and students is most effective when both groups share common
experiences and characteristics.
American Council on Education (ACE), American
Association of University Professors (AAUP). (2000). Does diversity make a
difference? Three research studies on diversity in college classrooms. Executive
Summary. Washington, DC: ACE/AAUP.
Bowen, R. C., & Muller, G. H. (1996, summer). Achieving administrative
diversity. New Directions for Community Colleges, Number 94. Washington, DC:
Jossey-Bass. (ED 397 884)
Burnette, J. (2000). Critical behaviors and strategies for teaching
culturally diverse students. Reston, VA: The Council for Exceptional Children.
(ED 435 147)
Burstein, M. (1997). Multiculturalism and the community college. Community
College Journal of Research and Practice, 21(5), 523-526. (EJ 549 461)
Castro-Abad, C. (1995). A human development workshop on cultural identity for
international students. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, Mid-Career
Fellowships Program. (ED 384 382).
Crase, D. (1994). The minority connection: African Americans in
administrative/leadership positions. Physical Educator, 51(1), 15-20. (EJ 484
Erkut, S., & Mokros, J. R. (1984). Professors as role models and mentors
for college students. American Educational Research Journal, 21(2), 399-417. (EJ
Foote, E. (1996). Achieving administrative diversity. ERIC Digest. (ED 395
King, D. (2000). Experience in the multicultural classroom. Community College
Week, 13(4), 4-6.
Moreno, K. (2000). Wasted opportunity. Forbes, 166(3), 129-131.
Rhoads, R. A., & Solorzano, S. (1995). Multiculturalism and the community
college: A case study of an immigrant education program. Community College
Review,23(2), 31-45. (EJ 521 871)