PSU to host trainings and workshops to enhance cultural competency
Author: Christian Aniciete, University Communications
Posted: February 3, 2015

In today’s increasingly globalized world, cultural competency – the ability to interact with people of different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds – is imperative particularly at public universities like Portland State University that have a diverse student population. With this in mind, PSU’s Diversity Action Council (DAC) in collaboration with the Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion is hosting its first ever series of cultural competency trainings. A President-appointed advisory committee comprised of faculty, staff and students, the DAC fosters equity and social justice by guiding PSU programs, policies and decision making so that the university works in conjunction with its diverse constituents.

The trainings are geared to the campus community of students, faculty, and staff and will explore various diversity issues including race, sexuality, gender, disability and socioeconomic class. The series will strive to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, celebrate differences and intersect commonalities in people, cultures and community. The first training, “Illumination Project: Rehearsing to Stop Oppression,” will address ways to combat oppression and be held on February 19th, 2015 from 10:30am-12pm in the Smith Memorial Student Union Multicultural Center. Subsequently, another training will take place in April addressing the topic of recruitment and retention of students of color. A half-day symposium is scheduled in the spring to culminate PSU’s inaugural efforts to enhance cultural competency on campus

“PSU is committed to preparing our students for the global economy.  Part of this preparation is to make sure that interactions with others are respectful, courteous and inclusive,” said Charles “Chas” Lopez, Interim Chief Diversity Officer.  He continues that, “One way of accomplishing this is by sharing information. A first step in the process is an honest acknowledgement that we cannot know everything about everybody, which is referred to as ‘cultural humility.’ He adds, “Once that foundation is in place, then there can be a receptiveness to begin the learning process toward cultural consciousness. Armed with this knowledge, the hope is that it will allow for greater success in the global economy by increasing mutually positive interactions with others both domestically and internationally.”

The first cultural competency training on February 19th will feature the Illumination Project, Portland Community College’s innovative student leadership and education program that uses an interactive social justice theater as a forum for social justice, community building and problem solving. Student Educators/actors and audience members join together to find solutions to the challenges of racism and immigration. During performances, audience members are invited to enter scenes and change outcomes. Workshop participants build understanding and skills for creating a climate of equality, compassion, and respect by exploring actions and outcomes through an open dialogue. Interested students, faculty and staff are encouraged to register by February 10th online.

About the Diversity Action Council

The Diversity Action Council (DAC) is a President-appointed advisory committee comprised of PSU faculty, staff, and students that works closely with the university's chief diversity officer and executive director of Global Diversity and Inclusion. DAC's role is to foster equity and social justice by guiding PSU programs, policies, and decision making so that the university works in conjunction with its diverse constituents. For more information, please contact DAC Co-Chairs Christian Aniciete and Maria Tenorio at

About the Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion

Global Diversity and Inclusion (GDI) offers support, information and advice to the Portland State community on how to work to make our campus a welcoming place for everyone. GDI plays an important role in campus leadership promoting equity and inclusion. GDI recognizes the importance of partnering with all offices, programs, departments, campus leaders and our local and international communities in furthering the university's strategic plan regarding global excellence.