We seek to educate both the college community and Macomb County in the importance of recognizing, respecting and insuring the diversity of our changing student and county populations. We pledge to actualize this through international and multicultural programs offering varied educational opportunities to guide Macomb's transformation to a culture of diversity in all facets of college life. Such a goal must characterize any institution of higher learning in a global society, and is worthy of the leadership Macomb College provides for its broader community.
As noted in Richard Light's Making the Most of College, the multicultural nature of students, faculty and staff in an institution of learning becomes a key factor promoting student academic success. We understand diversity, or multiculturalism, to include gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious differences, cultural and class differences, as well as those related to physical mobility and age. A culture of diversity enhances the range of perspectives shared in classrooms, skills developed in cooperating with those of different customs and values, and knowledge of how to do so.
Diversity is also critical to individuals entering today's global workforce. "In an increasingly interdependent world, it is essential to foster the global and cross-cultural knowledge and understanding necessary for effective U.S. leadership, competitiveness, and security." (NAFSA: Association of International Educators) As informed citizens or competent workers, our future hinges on the college's ability to prepare its students and the college community with a range of skills and experiences for problem-solving and balanced judgment within a continually changing and pluralistic framework.
Two features will be central to the creation and maintenance of a culture of diversity: cultural competency and critical mass. Cultural competency is sensitivity, knowledge, and behaviors applied to cross-cultural situations. Cultural competency applies to students as well as staff, faculty, and administrators by ensuring a process of continuous learning. Critical mass invites increased participation and voice in decision-making of under-represented groups by actively soliciting them in hiring practices, and in support activities for students. Research shows that all students learn better when there is a critical mass of minority groups. (Ibid, Light) Role models among staff and faculty play an important part in motivating students to succeed.
We can assume that all wish for student success and economic prosperity within Macomb County and the Greater Detroit area. We strive to be an institution where a multicultural global perspective is welcomed, celebrated and supported! Finally, while we strive for a culture of diversity, this by no means implies a focus only on differences between people. The valuing of diversity provides the surest foundation for our unity, joint progress and ethical action as a community.