Cultural Pluralism Team
The recommendations presented for SFCC's curriculum transformation with respect
to diversity were developed by the Cultural Pluralism Team of Spokane Falls. The
momentum for curriculum transformation began during SFCC's accreditation process
in 1993 and continued into the critical dialogs emerging from our college involvement
in the Washington Center's Cultural Pluralism Project.
An important purpose of the Team was to look inside and outside the college community
Identify activities, programs and strategies that work well.
Examine the content and processes of other colleges and universities which have
undergone curriculum transformation in the area of cultural diversity.
Discuss SFCC's institutional climate in terms of readiness for change.
Additionally, as the Team studied curriculum transformation models, it became apparent
the impressive number of colleges and universities across the state and nation who
have, or are designing curricula to incorporate the plurality of cultures worldwide
and, increasingly, within the United States.
Curricular transformation involves faculty development and collaboration. The SFCC
Cultural Pluralism Team, supported by the college administration, believes the future
level of achievement in this area will require the vision and expertise which results
from such collaboration among our various instructional departments. SFCC faculty
have formally adopted four abilities which are being taught across the college curriculum,
one of which is World View.
The World View ability ensures that diversity issues will be taught and discussed
across the SFCC curriculum. The curriculum approval process ensures these outcomes
will be addressed and assessed.
Exemplary Program at SFCC in Curriculum Transformation
The Communications Department is the largest department at Spokane Falls with twenty-five
full time and approximately 25 adjunct faculty teaching in the seven disciplines
that form the department: English, Developmental Education (English and Reading),
Journalism, Drama, Foreign Languages, Speech, and Humanities. Because of the breadth
and nature of course offerings, the department has been a focus of curriculum transformation
that promotes college diversity efforts. An in-depth examination of this department's
efforts provides evidence of the implementation of some of Spokane Falls' most ambitious
strategies to have the curriculum and the instructional program support diversity.
As a result of faculty participation in the Washington Center's diversity project,
four new courses have been introduced into the curriculum:
African Literature and Culture (offered 3 times)
Native American Literature and Culture (offered 3 times)
Hispanic Literature and Culture (offered for the first time Spring 1999)
Literature by Women (offered twice)
One of these courses is offered each quarter, often paired with composition in a
learning community open to 40 students. The department offers three sections of
Intercultural Communications each quarter. In addition, the department has added
a Humanities 223 (Classic International Cinema) and Humanities 224 (Contemporary
Global Cinema). Faculty in literature have significantly changed curriculum to reflect
a canon that incorporates writing by people of color and women.
The College's Core Book Project is in its seventh year. The project's goal is to
increase reading across campus by selecting one or more books that could be incorporated
into classes across disciplines.
Members of the Communications Department are active in all college assessment activities
including the World View Ability Group that promotes students' awareness and appreciation
of diverse cultures. Faculty in the Communications Department were important organizers
of the Tibet Teach-in that exposed SFCC students to Tibet culture, history, politics,
and religion over three days in April 2000. The teach-in touched over 500 students
in classes as different as literature and gerontology. Faculty incorporated content
about Tibetan life into their classes and assignments. Student writing about Tibet
has been collected and was assessed not only for the quality of the composition,
but also for insights into the students' knowledge and appreciation of cultures
with different world views.
Implementation of Systemic Change
The SFCC Cultural Team's work resulted in three recommendations that are felt to
be central to a complete education for Spokane Falls' students:
Establish course requirements in the area of American Ethnic Studies.
Establish at least four new, full-time tenured faculty positions in American Ethnic
Increase financial support for faculty development in the area of cultural pluralism.
These recommendations are viewed as the initial stage of a project which will require
an unwavering institutional commitment in order to overcome the barriers and resistance
to deep, systemic change. Strong, unyielding leadership is requested from the SFCC
Administrative team so that we can develop and follow a systematic and comprehensive
plan, with short and long-term goals.