The Role Of Diversity

1325 words | 5 page(s)

Intercultural communication offers a unique ability to truly get to know someone else and their culture, and to gain appreciation for things that we may assume about others or ourselves, and the things which might be difficult for another person. This form of communication can open minds and truly enable people to place themselves in the shoes of another person, and respect them for it. By learning to communicate better, we can learn to be mindful of our thoughts and our actions (Grant, 1989).

A complete description of your diversity role.
Filling a diversity requirement, my role is that of a professor whose second language is English and whose first language is Spanish. Schools and businesses alike are under continual stress to ensure their staff consists of a wide range of people with various backgrounds, and I seem to fit that mold well. My official role however is an adjunct professor of chemistry.

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Describe a typical day for you (where you go, who you see etc.)
That being said, my day would include creating curricula in the morning, starting around 7am, that meets with my departmental regulations and teaching two lectures each day. In between the two lectures I hold office hours where students can come to me with any inquiries about their course. I also utilize this time to review tests and papers, while staying available for student and faculty meetings. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I work on my service duties and contribute to my research because my lectures are shorter. After the final session of the day, I may continue working on my research or drafting up my report for review, and on Wednesdays I must attend Faculty Senate meetings. But most days I go home by 6pm. After work, I typically run errands and get groceries, then return to my family to prepare dinner. My family has adapted well to American culture and we often watch American television shows and speak English primarily at home, though we ensure our children do speak Spanish over meals and we often use dinnertime as a time for family bonding, particularly over our culture and the popular Spanish foods.

Describe where you work and what you do there (if no job…why not?)
I work at Texas State University as a science professor. As an associate professor, I am tenured. I participate in three duties as a tenured professor each day. In addition to teaching I must research and complete service. I have to conduct scholarly work and publish my work in peer reviewed journals. I must also complete service. Service duties can include the administrative work that keeps our academic institution running. It also includes sitting on many committees which oversee the academic world, specifically the Faculty Senate. As a member of the Faculty Senate I am required to meet every Wednesday at 4pm when school is in session, and once per month when school is not in session (Faculty Senate, n.d.).

What things are difficult for you every day?
There are times when the word or the statement I need to make to a lecture or in the middle of a discussion does not come to me in English, or I accidentally use improper grammar which some students like to point out. It can be difficult to express ideas quickly or answer questions on the fly while ensuring that my idioms translate and that I am using the correct academic terms (Disability, n.d.). Drafting the reports for my research findings can be a big burden as well because, while I may not be as self-conscious about grammatical mistakes when lecturing students, I am very self-conscious about it when I write. Speaking, it is much easier to overlook errors because the meaning is still often understood by the person on the other end of the conversation, but when I draft a research paper or proposal, each and every inconsistency, misused word, or error is a large black mark. I spend hours poring over the details in an effort to avoid asking someone else to edit my work, as that does not push me to better myself (Cook, 2001).

How do other people treat you? Include specific examples
Other people treat me well who know me, but those who do not know me assume that because of my accent and the fact that I work in the state of Texas, that I am somehow a new immigrant or that my family was illegal. Their prejudice remarks and stereotyping can be burdensome and hurtful. There are many racist individuals in my classes who were raised to judge and hate those of Spanish roots. For example: in one of my remedial science labs there is a student who has very Republican roots and often makes off hand remarks about “aliens”, continually interrupting lectures when I make a mistake in my sentence structure to ask “how long I have been in the country” and to demand why I can’t “speak English” yet. These are snide remarks made to get attention, but it is nonetheless a reflection on the feelings that so many people have and their treatment toward me if we are unacquainted (Schoem, 1993).

What questions do people have about you?
People always want to know how long I have been in this country, assuming that I just recently arrived and assuming superiority. They also want to know where I learned to speak English and if it is the only other language I speak. People often assume that I have only been here a short time. They also inquire as to what I “used to do” “back in my country”, implying that I must have had a much different job before starting at the university.

What are your favorite “things” (to do, to experience, etc.)?
My favorite things to do are to teach. Truly, I enjoy learning new things and I am fascinated by how chemistry plays a role in so many aspects of life. That being said, teaching my children about chemistry, taking cooking courses where we make cheese from scratch, is all part of what I love to do in my free time.

Overall, improved intercultural communication is a gateway which should be appreciated for the learning opportunities it brings. By developing better communication and listening to people we can learn about them. We can use mindfulness to avoid falling upon our stereotypes or prejudices and instead adapt to a more cohesive culture.

Not adapting communication to others can make others feel not only out of place, but cut off from their peers or fellow employees. Whatever the disability may be, it is important for both sides to try and make strides toward improving communication in whatever means is necessary. By holding on to prejudices and stereotyping, we are prone to making inaccurate decisions about others before we even meet them and we stop seeing them as similar to us. This can be detrimental to our acceptance of others, our understanding and openness, and it can be hurtful to those who are the target of the aforementioned. This project has helped me to recognize that stereotypes I assume as commonplace can be perceived as hurtful and insulting to those who are the butt of the stereotype and I should make serious strides toward no longer judging people before I meet or assuming I have any idea as to their background. I certainly would be offended if others were to judge me in such a manner so the least I could do is return the kindness.

  • Cook, V. (2001). Second language learning and language teaching (3rd ed.). London: Arnold Disability. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2015, from
  • Faculty Senate. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2015, from
  • Grant, C., & Sleeter, C. (1989). Turning on learning: Five approaches for multicultural teaching
    plans for race, class, gender, and disability. Columbus: Merrill.
  • Schoem, D. (1993). Multicultural teaching in the university. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.

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