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Friday, January 20, 2017
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Cultural competency high among MU graduates, survey finds

MU graduates have high levels of respect for other cultures and think it’s important to interact with people who are different than them, according to a “cultural competency” survey conducted by Faculty Council in May.

The survey comprised 15 statements involving diversity and cultural issues and asked students to respond along six levels of agreement or disagreement with each statement. The survey was given to all seniors graduating in spring 2014 and received 730 responses.

More than 88 percent of responders said they are “interested in learning about the many cultures that have existed in this world.” Nearly the same proportion indicated disagreement with the statement: “I am only at ease with people of my race.”

Some of the statements explicitly involved race, while others were more general.

When given the statement, “It is very important that a friend agrees with me on most issues,” more than 63 percent of responders disagreed, and nearly 25 percent indicated they “agree a little.”

Angela Speck, Diversity Enhancement Committee chairwoman and professor of astrophysics, said the primary goal of the survey was to determine how effectively MU is educating students on multicultural issues and where the university could improve.

Speck said the results suggested MU is effectively educating its students in cultural dimensions.

“Students are leaving with the sort of cultural competency that they’re not going to embarrass us when they leave town,” she said in a report to the Faculty Council on Thursday night.

The survey is the first step in responding to calls from various faculty and student groups for a cultural competency course. Speck said the survey will now be administered to all incoming freshmen and graduating seniors each year to better estimate the impact of MU’s education on cultural competency.

Currently, undergraduate students can earn the Multicultural Certificate, first offered in 2006, by successfully completing 15 credit hours on a list of approved courses from two or more departments.

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