The Relevancy of Cultural Competency in the For-Profit Classroom

More than ever before, population demographics have a major impact on the business dynamics of for-profit institutions. Ethnic composition of students has increasingly become diverse. For-profit institutions have focused on this fact and actively engage in efforts to recruit and retain a diverse student body.

Practitioners who teach from all fields in the classroom would benefit greatly from systematic plans for integrating cultural competency components into learner-focused environments.

Definitions of cultural competency are varied, but generally describe intelligence, respect, and knowledge to respond to diverse bodies of people and their cultures. Diversity trends authenticate the need for addressing cultural changes through specific curricula enhancement, identifying key curricular components, and evaluating existing didactic learning experiences.

Cultural competency is an important component of education yet cultural competency remains daunting to many faculty practitioners largely because they have not received training to emphasize moving from mere exposure to diversity and fostering cultural awareness to acquisition of cultural knowledge and skills to transfer knowledge attained to the actual classroom.

Practitioner faculty can only become accomplished in this important educational endeavor by earnestly working and promoting an understanding of culture and its importance in enhancing educational experiences for all students. A major accomplishment in this area will prepare students to meet, address, and succeed in their careers by acquiring cultural competencies to meet the multifaceted needs of ethnically diverse patients, customers, employees, vendors, community groups, and other areas where human services, human capital, and human resources play a significant role in business culture, business strategies, and business planning.

Cultural competency enhances team building, collaboration, and cooperation between worker groups and departments, joint ventures and mergers as well as acquisitions, and on a global note-geographically positioned operations.

Taylor (2009) proposes that “the work of emotional development and growth of self may have a positive impact on educators in their relationships with diverse cultures by transferring some of the competencies and skills learned through emotional intelligence to inform their work with diverse populations” (p. 311).

Cultural competencies are transferable to all fields because they are universal. Such competencies enable practitioners in the classroom to attain the ability to:

• Practice personal reflection and self- correction to assure continual professional development;

• Recognize and manage personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice;

• Recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power;

• Gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups; and

• Recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences. (Phillips, Peterson, Bakko & Clark, 2011, p. 36).

Academic institutions are in a position to promote cultural competency training by making a commitment to include it in faculty training. Practitioner faculty who have acquired a high level of cultural competence are better able to deal with the challenges and issues of culturally diverse classes (De Beuckelaer, Lievens, Bücker, 2012). Academic institutions are skilled at appreciating and valuing multiple cultures and work to subdue differences in cultural backgrounds, expectations, education needs, and academic traditions (Bodycott & Walker, 2000).

Practitioner faculty have an important role in advancing cultural competency in the for-profit classroom. Cultural competency training for faculty to enhance the classroom experience can promote advantages for constructive dialogue in developing strategies to address prejudices, reach comfort levels in confronting misunderstandings about cultural differences, and advance a more civil and accepting society.


Bodycott, P., & Walker, A. (2000). Teaching abroad: Lessons learned about inter-cultural understanding for teachers in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 5, 79-94.

De Beuckelaer, A., Lievens, F., & Bücker, J. (March/April 2012).Role of faculty members in cross-cultural competencies. The Journal of Higher Education, 83(2).

Phillips, A., Peterson, S., Bakko, M. & Clark, T. (2011). Promoting cultural competencies through use of growth groups in predominantly white classrooms. The Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 16(2).

Taylor, B. (2009). Emotional intelligence and cultural competency: Implications for pedagogy. The International Journal of Learning, 16(9).

Dr. Rosalie Lopez, M.B.A., J.D., D.M. (Organizational Leadership) is an attorney and president of The Savvy Latina, a consulting practice for Strategic Planning and Career Strategies for Individuals, Small Business, and Corporations. Learn to deal clearly, rationally, and creatively with a diverse workforce. Coaching in this area is designed to teach you the effectiveness of critical thinking and decision making that will enhance your career opportunities with the ability to identify and solve organizational issues. Focus is on career direction and strategies to achieve success in the national and global business worlds. For those starting out, a business plan can be designed specifically for your company. Need a mentor? For more information, visit