About General Education.

General Education: Diversity

Rather than affirm or celebrate difference, courses in the Diversity requirement investigate the complexities of human difference and commonality. The Diversity requirement emphasizes the promises and problems of plural societies and the challenges that must be addressed to achieve just, equitable, and productive societies. Courses in the Diversity requirement explore the gritty struggles through which plural societies are established and maintained.

Two categories of courses comprise the Diversity requirement: Understanding Plural Societies and Cultural Competence.

Understanding Plural Societies courses recognize that life in a globally competitive society of the 21st century requires an ability to comprehend both theoretical and practical dimensions of human difference. From that perspective, Understanding Plural Societies is the centerpiece of the University's Diversity requirement. Courses in this category speak to both the foundations—cultural, material, psychological, historical, social, and biological—of human difference and the operation or function of plural societies.

Cultural Competence provides opportunities to gain an increased understanding of cultures and cultural practices, while learning to communicate effectively across cultural differences in a diverse society and world. This diversity category reflects a developmental, on-going process through which students learn about the lived experiences of individuals as members of socio-cultural groups and the complex interactions between groups. Cultural Competence courses emphasize acquisition of new knowledge, thoughtful consideration of issues of equity and justice, critical thinking, self-reflection, empathy, engaged global citizenship, and the development of skills necessary to work effectively with individuals, groups, and teams from diverse identities and perspectives.

To fulfill the Diversity requirement:

  • Students must complete two Understanding Plural Societies courses (3-6 credits total)
    OR
  • One Understanding Plural Societies course (3 credits) and one Cultural Competence course (1-3 credits). Courses fulfilling the Diversity requirement may double count in an approved Distributive Studies category.