Cultural Competency Activities

Impact on Student Success

Authors

  • Jeffrey Coleman Kennesaw State University
  • Darryl Holloman Spelman College
  • Melanie Turner-Harper Georgia State University
  • Christina M. Wan Georgia Institute of Technology

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18060/24536

Keywords:

cultural centers, student affairs, career readiness, student development

Abstract

This study examines the impact of a cultural center on students’ views and perceptions of their own cultural competency learning and ability to manage their college experience at a large metropolitan university. This exploratory analysis highlights the views of ten students who frequently engaged with a cultural center. Emerging themes include: (a) how students at a metropolitan university defined cultural competence; (b) challenges, difficulties, and problems participants experienced interacting with people from other cultures (e.g. nationality, ethnicity); and (c) successful interactions participants experienced with people from other cultures. Findings and discussion from this study suggest: (a) identity, exposure, and critical awareness; (b) navigating and negotiating conflict; and (c) engaging cultural resources are the skills students develop, through experiences with a cultural center, that impact their ability to manage their college experience. This project studied a culturally mixed group of students using personal experiences, interviews, and focus group discussions to describe meaningful and defining moments. This study and its findings are noteworthy because there is little research in this subject area. All participants were frank, cooperative, and candid throughout the process. They offered insights and shared information regarding cultural competency at Metropolitan University (MU).

Author Biographies

Jeffrey Coleman, Kennesaw State University

Dr. Jeffrey K. Coleman is the Deputy Chief Diversity Officer at Kennesaw State University and formerly was the Director of the Multicultural Center at Georgia State University. Dr. Coleman has researched and presented extensively on identity development, cultural competency, sense of belonging and student success on college campuses, African American male student retention and graduation in higher education, and professionals of color in higher education.

Darryl Holloman, Spelman College

Dr. Darryl B. Holloman is the Vice President for Student Affairs at Spelman College and was formerly the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Georgia State University. Dr. Holloman’s research agenda examines how cultural identities and cultural distinctions shape college experiences. He is a scholar and teacher with extensive experience in higher education, student affairs and student life and has presented more than 80 research papers at national conferences

Melanie Turner-Harper, Georgia State University

Melanie Turner-Harper is a Sociology Instructor and Ph.D. student at Georgia State University and was formerly a Graduate Assistant for the Multicultural Center at Georgia State University. Her current research is on sex work among homeless youth, and in general her research interests include sex work and sex trafficking narratives; pedestrianism, public space negotiation, and street harassment; and social-political behavior of artists/musicians. 

Christina M. Wan, Georgia Institute of Technology

Christina M. Wan is the Assistant Director of Summer Session Initiatives at Georgia Institute of Technology and was formerly the Student Affairs Advisor for Community Building and Student Success for the Multicultural Center at Georgia State University. Christina has experience working in residence life, multicultural affairs, and career & leadership programs. Throughout her career, she has gained experience advising student organizations, teaching first-year students, and working with mentorship programs. 

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Published

2021-08-09

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