Joe Monaco
KU Office of Public Affairs

KU to host symposium on enhancing cultural competency

Thu, 11/06/2014

LAWRENCE — In today’s world, cultural competency — the ability to interact with people of different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds — is crucial for employees, particularly at public universities like the University of Kansas that have a diverse student population.

With this in mind, KU is hosting a Symposium on Enhancing Cultural Competency from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, in the Kansas Union.

The symposium is designed to help advisers, faculty and staff build cultural competency by studying various diversity issues — including race, gender, sexuality, disability and socioeconomic class.

“KU has a mission to educate leaders, and that includes training students from different backgrounds and circumstances,” said Ann Cudd, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Studies. “It’s important that our advisers, faculty and staff be culturally competent so we can better serve all of our students, provide them an outstanding undergraduate experience and ensure they earn their degree.”

The symposium includes breakout sessions and prepared remarks from Cudd, along with Mike Rounds, associate vice provost for Human Resources Management; Blane Harding, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs; and Nate Thomas, vice provost for Diversity & Equity.

“Much of KU’s strategic plan, Bold Aspirations, focuses on energizing the undergraduate experience, with a focus on raising our retention and six-year graduation rates to 90 percent and 70 percent, respectively, over the next decade,” Cudd said. “In recent years, KU has implemented a number of initiatives in support of this goal, including an overhaul of our recruitment and the creation of the KU Core. Improving our cultural competency is another tool to help us better serve our students and ensure they progress to graduation.”

RSVPs are not required but are appreciated for planning purposes. To RSVP, and to see a detailed conference agenda, visit

KU is an international research university with a history of educating a diverse mix of students. KU currently has an all-time high of nearly 2,500 international students, hailing from 104 countries. Of KU’s domestic students, nearly 40 percent are from outside Kansas, hailing from every state in the nation. The most recent freshman class set the KU record for diversity, with more than 23.6 percent being minority students.

The Symposium on Enhancing Cultural Competency is sponsored by the Office of Accessibility and ADA Education, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Academic Achievement & Access Center, the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, the Office of Diversity & Equity and Human Resources Management.

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