Created in response to the 2017 House Bill 2864 – Cultural Competency at Post-Secondary Institutions – this report describes Southern Oregon University’s compliance with the requirements of the bill and outlines specific goals related to its implementation.
House Bill 2864 defines cultural competency as “an understanding of how institutions and individuals can respond respectfully and effectively to people from all cultures, economic statuses, language backgrounds, races, ethnic backgrounds, disabilities, religions, genders, gender iden-tifications, sexual orientations, veteran statuses and other characteristics in a manner that recognizes, affirms and values the worth, and preserves the dignity, of individuals, families and communities.”
Each public institution of higher education shall establish a process for recommending, and providing oversight for the implementation of, cultural competency standards for the public institution of higher education and the institution’s employees.
The process established must:
- Include a broad range of institutional perspectives;
- Give equal weight to the perspectives of administrators, faculty members, staff and students;
- Require that the institution provide continuing training and development opportunities that foster the ability of the institution’s faculty, staff and administration to meet cultural competency standards;
- Propose institution-wide goals that seek to improve the cultural inclusion climate for students, faculty, staff and administration from diverse backgrounds;
- Require preparation of a biennial report that is presented to the appropriate board regarding the institution’s progress toward achieving the goals
- Recommend mechanisms for assessing how well the institution meets cultural competency standards; and
- Ensure that the institution clearly communicates to new faculty, staff and administrators the institution’s commitment to including meeting cultural competency standards in professional development
In 2018, Southern Oregon University’s Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a new vision, mission, set of values and strategic plan for the institution (Appendix A). Many aspects of these formally adopted guiding documents are rooted in equity, diversity, and inclusion, which, for SOU, aligns congruently with the requirements of HB 2864. Specifically, the university’s Strategic Direction IV addresses related goals directly: SOU will create a diverse, equitable, inclusive community where learners flourish.
This strategic direction and goals, as well as the university’s mission and values, which predate HB 2864’s compliance requirements, guide SOU’s response to the bill. Other strategic directions of the university’s strategic plan share reciprocal dependencies with Strategic Direction IV and also guide the cultural competency work of SOU, which also supports SOU’s compliance with the requirements of HB 2864. For example, one of these reciprocal dependencies is Strategic Direction I (SDI) of the university’s strategic plan, “SOU will transform its pedagogy and curriculum (how and what it teaches) to enhance the success of its learners and graduates.”
As SOU’s strategic plans are accomplished and updated, the plan will be revised and updated accordingly. In the interest of continuous improvement, amendments to the goals contained in this plan also will be updated based on the needs of the institution.