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4 to 6 credits /2 courses

2 Understanding Plural Societies courses
or 1 Understanding Plural Societies course AND 1 Cultural Competence course

Note: Diversity courses may also fulfill a Distributive Studies category.

instagram grid of faces of people from various ethnic backgroundsRather 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.

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Diversity Education Diversity Requirement Changes

On March 1, 2022, the University Senate overwhelmingly approved meaningful changes in UMD's General Education diversity requirement. Full implementation of these changes is expected to take several years. The Office of Undergraduate Studies will post periodic updates here.

Forthcoming changes include:

  • New course categories: Understanding Plural Societies (DVUP) courses will become Understanding Structures of Racism and Inequality (DVUS), and Cultural Competence (DVCC) courses will become Navigating Diverse Social Environments (DVSE).

  • New content: DVUS courses will include fact-based, nuanced discussions of systemic and structural racism throughout history and across the world, whereas DVSE courses will offer instruction in communication, conflict resolution, teamwork, and coalition-building skills essential for constructive civic engagement.

  • Broader learning opportunities: when these changes are fully implemented, students will take ONE (1) DVUS AND ONE (1) DVSE course.

Watch this space to learn more about this exciting curriculum change!

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