Definition of Diversity and Multiculturalism for General Education:
In this interconnected global community, individuals of any profession need to be able to understand, appreciate, and function in cultures other than their own. Diversity and multiculturalism in the university curriculum contribute to this essential aspect of education by bringing to the fore the historical truths about different cultural perspectives, especially those of groups that traditionally have been under-represented. These groups might be characterized by such features as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identities, political systems, or religious traditions, or by persons with disabilities. By studying the ideas, history, values, and creative expressions of diverse groups, students gain appreciation for differences as well as commonalities among people.
Subject matter alone cannot define multicultural education. A key element is to examine the subject from the perspective of the group that generates the culture. The inquiry needs to be structured by the concepts, ideas, beliefs, and/or values of the culture under study. A variety of approaches can be used, including comparative or interdisciplinary methodologies. Regardless of the approach, courses should view the studied group(s) as authors and agents in the making of history.
Courses may be contemporary or historical in focus; they may be broadly based or highly specialized; they may be at an introductory or advanced level. Courses must contribute to advancing multicultural and/or diverse perspectives and also highlight the perspective of the group(s) under study.
Courses appropriate to this category must meet at least one of the following criteria:
1. Emphasize that there are varieties of human experiences, perceptions, thoughts, values, and/or modes of creativity;
2. Emphasize that interpretive systems and/or social structures are cultural creations;
3. Consider the similarities that may exist among diverse groups;
4. Develop an understanding of and sensitivity to issues involving human rights and migration;
5. Develop an awareness of the dynamics of social, political, and/or economic power in the context of any of the above four items.
At least one course selected by each student must provide an international perspective and/or comparative study of the history of culture(s) over time and place. Courses meeting the international requirement must focus on a group(s) outside of the United States or on cultural continuities and transformations.