Cultural Competence (from LCC Diversity Plan 2010-2015)- Cultural competence is defined as an ongoing process by which individuals and systems respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, sexes, ethnic backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, abilities and other diversity factors “in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families, and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each.” (NASW, 2001)

Operationally speaking, culturally-competent organizations and individuals are able to integrate and transform knowledge about diverse groups of people into “specific standards, policies, practices, and attitudes used in appropriate cultural settings to increase the quality of services; thereby producing better outcomes.” (Davis & Donald, 1997)

The Cross Model of Cultural Competence by Terry Cross (1988) offers both an institutional and individual framework to help the College gauge its progress on various initiatives. He describes cultural competency as movement along a continuum that is based on the premise of respect and appreciation of individuals and cultural differences. The six stages identified by Cross are:

1. Cultural Destructiveness
2. Cultural Incapacity
3. Cultural Blindness
4. Cultural Pre-Competence
5. Basic Cultural Competence
6. Advanced Cultural Competence

Striving to approach the stage of “Advanced Cultural Competency” should be the goal at Lane as it seeks to meet the needs of all students, staff and community members. Professional development and training opportunities should be provided for Lane staff to attain this stage.

Advanced Cultural Competence

Individuals at this phase:
a) move beyond accepting, appreciating and accommodating cultural difference and begin
actively to educate less informed individuals about cultural differences; and
b) seek out knowledge about diverse cultures, develop skills to interact in diverse
environments and become allies with and feel comfortable interacting with others in
multicultural settings.

At the organizational level, this translates into conducting research on cultural diversity, hiring staff who are specialists in culturally competent practices, and acting as an advocate for historically underrepresented groups and for multiculturalism.


Cross, Terry. (1988). “Services to minority populations. Cultural competence continuum.” Focal Point, 3, pp. 1–9

Davis, P., & Donald, B. (1997). “Multicultural counseling competencies: Assessment, evaluation, education and training, and supervision.” Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

NASW National Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity. (2001) “NASW Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice.”

WMU Project AGE. “Developing Cultural Competence.” in Western Michigan University Project AGE’s website at

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