Cultural Competence: How to Navigate Diversity in Bachelor’s Degrees

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When it comes to cul­tur­al com­pe­tence in bach­e­lor’s degrees, Amer­i­can col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties are a great place to embrace diver­si­ty. The US has among the best and most exten­sive high­er edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tions. Ivy League schools and pub­lic insti­tu­tions like the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia sys­tem are high­ly esteemed. Stu­dents can find almost any aca­d­e­m­ic pro­gram they want in the US. As a result, there is an increas­ing num­ber of inter­na­tion­al stu­dent enrollments.

In 2022–2023, new inter­na­tion­al stu­dent enroll­ment rose by 14%. This was after a record 80% increase the pre­vi­ous year. This surge proves the increas­ing impor­tance of diver­si­ty in high­er edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tions. While a pos­i­tive trend, embrac­ing diver­si­ty in under­grad­u­ate pro­grams also has its challenges.

Nav­i­gat­ing diver­si­ty in high­er edu­ca­tion is cru­cial to your per­son­al growth. It helps you adopt a glob­al mind­set and enhances your adaptability.

Relat­ed Resources:

Col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties are pro­mot­ing cul­tur­al com­pe­tence in bach­e­lor’s degree pro­grams and cul­tur­al com­pe­ten­cy. Explore the best ways to embrace it:

Develop intercultural competence and self-awareness.

Col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties lay the foun­da­tion for diver­si­ty and inclu­sion in bach­e­lor’s pro­grams. As a stu­dent, you are respon­si­ble for learn­ing about inter­cul­tur­al competence.

Start by edu­cat­ing your­self through research. This helps you avoid mis­un­der­stand­ings. You also gain a bet­ter per­spec­tive on life.

Under­stand how embrac­ing diverse cul­tures pro­motes tol­er­ance. In today’s dynam­ic envi­ron­ment, find out why cul­tur­al sen­si­tiv­i­ty is crucial.

Leverage college initiatives for meaningful interactions.

Join study groups, clubs, orga­ni­za­tions, cul­tur­al events, or exchange pro­grams that cel­e­brate cul­tur­al com­pe­tence in bach­e­lor’s degrees. These plat­forms expose you to oth­er cul­tures. You can engage in mean­ing­ful inter­ac­tions with indi­vid­u­als from var­i­ous backgrounds.

Be open-minded.

Include rather than exclude. Have an open mind and be respect­ful and recep­tive to oth­er peo­ple’s viewpoints.

Promoting Diversity in Academic Settings

As a stu­dent, your main goal is to estab­lish a career that pays well. Hence, the pur­suit of a bach­e­lor’s degree. How­ev­er, you can be a skilled grad­u­ate but end up strug­gling pro­fes­sion­al­ly. Often, a lack of aware­ness of cul­tur­al diver­si­ty keeps you from suc­ceed­ing. This is why under­stand­ing cul­tur­al com­pe­tence in bach­e­lor’s degrees while you’re still a stu­dent is a great way to start off on the right foot.

Aca­d­e­m­ic excel­lence and tech­ni­cal skills are impor­tant. How­ev­er, they are not suf­fi­cient for suc­cess in today’s diverse and inter­con­nect­ed world.

From two-year col­leges to four-year uni­ver­si­ties, enroll­ments have nev­er been more diverse. Many of which have inte­grat­ed activ­i­ties to increase diver­si­ty and inclusion.

As a stu­dent, how do you help in pro­mot­ing diver­si­ty aware­ness in col­lege degrees?

Advocate for diverse representation.

Read­ings and case stud­ies involv­ing cul­tur­al per­spec­tives let you gain knowl­edge of diver­si­ty. You can work with stu­dent clubs to peti­tion to pro­mote diver­si­ty in course materials.

Be active in diversity initiatives.

Join cam­pus ini­tia­tives pro­mot­ing diver­si­ty and inclu­sion. There are mul­ti­cul­tur­al clubs, work­shops, and vol­un­teer­ing events you can become part of. You can also dis­cuss cul­tur­al com­pe­tence and diver­si­ty with your peers and pro­fes­sors. All these can lead to greater aca­d­e­m­ic com­mu­ni­ty awareness.

Support underrepresented students.

Pro­vide sup­port and men­tor­ship to stu­dents across under­rep­re­sent­ed back­grounds. You can offer aca­d­e­m­ic help, guid­ance on nav­i­gat­ing col­lege life, advice, and encour­age­ment. Your actions can help these stu­dents thrive in their aca­d­e­m­ic journey.

Check institutional policies.

Advo­cate for poli­cies and prac­tices pro­mot­ing cam­pus diver­si­ty and inclu­sion. Learn about inclu­sive hir­ing prac­tices. Under­stand acces­si­ble resources for stu­dents from diverse back­grounds. Be famil­iar with cul­tur­al­ly sen­si­tive sup­port services.

Lead by example.

Chal­lenge stereo­types and bias­es by show­ing inclu­sive behav­ior. Show respect and accep­tance in inter­act­ing with oth­ers regard­less of their cul­tur­al background.

Importance of Cultural Competence in Today’s Workforce

Under­stand cul­tur­al com­pe­tence in bach­e­lor’s degrees to help pro­mote a har­mo­nious work­place. Ulti­mate­ly, increased pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and high­er prof­its are the outcomes.

Let’s look at the ben­e­fits of build­ing a cul­ture that embraces cul­tur­al diversity:

Better Job Performance

Employ­ers find the ben­e­fits of cul­tur­al com­pe­tence woven into the work­place. Employ­ees feel a stronger con­nec­tion to their co-work­ers and the com­pa­ny’s mis­sion. Cul­tur­al com­pe­tence also pro­motes a sense of belong­ing and accep­tance. It boosts employ­ee morale and job satisfaction.

Reduced Employee Turnover

Among the major prob­lems in the US mar­ket­place is high employ­ee turnover. It con­tributes to increased recruit­ment costs, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty loss­es, and dis­rup­tions in operations.

Orga­ni­za­tions that pri­or­i­tize cul­tur­al com­pe­tence are more suc­cess­ful in retain­ing tal­ent. Employ­ees would stay in a work­place where they feel respect­ed and sup­port­ed. They aim for excel­lence when they see oppor­tu­ni­ties for growth and advance­ment. By fos­ter­ing inclu­sion, orga­ni­za­tions can reduce turnover rates and retain top performers.

Fewer Sick Days

Accord­ing to the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion, tox­ic work­places leave employ­ees sick and scared. Stress, con­flict, and neg­a­tiv­i­ty make employ­ees sus­cep­ti­ble to phys­i­cal and men­tal health issues. All these can lead to increased absen­teeism and high­er rates of sick days.

A pos­i­tive work­place leads to bet­ter health out­comes for employ­ees. With low stress lev­els, they expe­ri­ence a few phys­i­cal or men­tal health issues. This trans­lates into cost sav­ings for orga­ni­za­tions by reduc­ing pro­duc­tiv­i­ty losses.

Increased Creativity and Innovation

Cul­tur­al diver­si­ty stim­u­lates cre­ativ­i­ty and inno­va­tion with­in orga­ni­za­tions. When employ­ees col­lab­o­rate and exchange ideas, they bring diverse per­spec­tives to problem-solving.

The team­work and under­stand­ing it brings lead to more inno­v­a­tive solu­tions and prod­ucts. Cul­tur­al com­pe­tence encour­ages and val­ues diverse voic­es. In turn, employ­ees explore cre­ative think­ing and break­through opportunities.

Enhanced Reputation and Brand Image

Orga­ni­za­tions that pro­mote cul­tur­al com­pe­tence and diver­si­ty are gen­er­al­ly well-liked. Con­sumers, investors, and stake­hold­ers look for com­pa­nies that pro­mote diver­si­ty, equi­ty, and inclu­sion. Fos­ter­ing a diverse or inclu­sive cul­ture in your work­place can enhance your brand image. It also attracts top tal­ent and strength­ens rela­tion­ships with cus­tomers and communities.

Resources for Building Cultural Awareness

  • A Thou­sand Splen­did Suns tack­les the lives of Afghan women. It offers a poignant explo­ration of love, resilience, and the impact of soci­etal norms. (Author: Khaled Hosseini)
  • Home­go­ing (author Yaa Gyasi) explores the lega­cy of slav­ery and colonialism.
  • The Hate U Give tack­les sys­temic racism and police vio­lence. It sparks cru­cial con­ver­sa­tions about iden­ti­ty, jus­tice, and activism. (Author: Ang­ie Thomas) 
  • Behind the Beau­ti­ful Fore­vers spot­lights Mum­bai’s Annawa­di slum. It bears wit­ness to the intri­ca­cies of life amidst pover­ty and aspi­ra­tion. (Author: Kather­ine Boo) 
  • Open Veins of Latin Amer­i­ca explores Latin Amer­i­ca’s his­to­ry of resis­tance and exploita­tion. (Author: Eduar­do Galeano)
  • Psy­chol­o­gy of Diver­si­ty and Uncon­scious Bias explains the fac­tors influ­enc­ing behav­iors toward diver­si­ty. (Offered by Udemy) 
  • Main­tain­ing Cul­ture is a short course that teach­es cul­tur­al diver­si­ty in the work­place. (Offered through EdApp)
  • Inter­na­tion­al Busi­ness and Cul­ture shows the cul­tur­al nuances in glob­al busi­ness envi­ron­ments. (Offered by Coursera)
  • Cul­tur­al Com­pe­tence is a very pop­u­lar pod­cast. It focus­es on cul­ti­vat­ing cul­tur­al com­pe­tence in var­i­ous aspects of life. (Offered by the GALLUP Center) 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I learn about diver­si­ty in col­lege?

Learn­ing about diver­si­ty and inclu­sion in col­lege pre­pares you for the com­plex job mar­ket. Accep­tance of oth­er cul­tures leads to a har­mo­nious work­ing envi­ron­ment. You can expect respect and sup­port to thrive in it.

How can I pro­mote diver­si­ty as a col­lege stu­dent?

Join cam­pus ini­tia­tives pro­mot­ing diver­si­ty and inclu­sion. Engage in dia­logue, and advo­cate for diverse rep­re­sen­ta­tion in edu­ca­tion. You can also sup­port under­rep­re­sent­ed stu­dents. Read insti­tu­tion­al poli­cies and see how they can be improved. Lead by exam­ple to cre­ate a more inclu­sive aca­d­e­m­ic environment.

What are the chal­lenges of learn­ing diver­si­ty in earn­ing my bach­e­lor’s degree?

Learn­ing diver­si­ty in a bach­e­lor’s degree can be chal­leng­ing. It can mean uncom­fort­able con­ver­sa­tions to fight resis­tance to change. Cul­tur­al­ly inclu­sive stu­dents work to end a lack of rep­re­sen­ta­tion and emo­tion­al labor.

What are some basic guide­lines for embrac­ing diver­si­ty in col­lege?

The most basic guide­line for embrac­ing diver­si­ty in col­lege is to keep an open mind. What may offend you is a deeply held belief or the cul­tur­al norm of some­one else.


  • US News and World Report
  • Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Association