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TEDx Preview: Does Cultural Competency Training Really Work?


Cultural competency is a form of training widely used in corporate and public work settings. Julie Hogan is a business professor at the University of Nevada, Reno who has devised many of these training materials, but she says it’s not effective. Now, she's proposing a different approach, a deeper dive through a concept called cultural humility. She’ll be giving a talk for Reno’s TedX series on this topic and she gave a preview to our News Director Michelle Billman.

The current standard for cultural sensitivity training for many work places involves workshops that require reading case studies and listening to lectures.

“Then at the end, they get this certificate that says, ‘This certificate is given to Julie Hogan who is now hereby considered a cultural expert,’” explains Hogan.

She says learning in the classroom and earning a certificate doesn’t actually immerse students in other cultures, which is key to learning about people who are different. Effective training would take more work, but Hogan says the effort is rewarding.

“It would require us to be paired up with somebody who was more of a senior member in a culture and we’re more of a junior member, so a mentee with a mentor. And you would start with somebody who could hold your hand, walk you through, and you would learn that way through questions and answers.”

Hogan will be speaking at the University of Nevada TEDx event on January 27. Learn more here.

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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