Professional & Organizational Development

Cultural awareness

As President Ana Marie Cauce stated in her April 2015 speech launching the Race & Equity Initiative, “We cannot just escape our history and biases by pretending they don’t exist.”

Few of us endeavor to discriminate or act in a biased manner, yet discrimination and bias exist—and many of us are blind to our own preconceptions and prejudices. This can create an inequitable and ineffective work environment. Individual employees may feel silenced, misrepresented, or even mistreated; on an organizational level, there may be an inordinately homogeneous culture in which a variety of voices go unheard.

Diversity consultation

Race, gender, ethnicity, culture, age, education levels, sexual orientation, and work experience are a few of the many ways in which team members can be different. How these differences are managed affects how your team functions and how well it accomplishes its objectives.

If managed well, the same variables that challenge us can also inspire us to discover and build on common ground and increase the synergy of our teams.

Consultants can provide:

  • Customized training modules and workshops to build team member skills for working with a diverse group
  • Leadership coaching
  • Assistance planning for diversity management
  • Assessment of diversity issues that may be impacting the functioning of the team
  • Problem-solving for managing diversity issues

Through its University Consulting Alliance, POD has access to a number of internal and external consultants who have experience with both higher ed and with issues of race, diversity, and cultural competence.


POD offers a variety of classes for both staff and leaders to heighten cultural awareness and increase your ability to work with or lead a diverse group of employees:

Cultivating Cultural Competence
Participants explore the isms that can bias communication and work together to examine various perspectives that can enhance communication across cultures. The instructors offer participants opportunities to ask candid questions in a nonjudgmental environment and to practice tackling sensitive topics in a positive and productive way.

Cultural Proficiency
This course uses case study analysis and other interactive learning methods to reflect on the personal values and behaviors that best enable us to effectively engage with students, educators, and staff at the UW.

Supervising in a Diverse Workplace
Participants in this course explore the organizational benefits gained by working with people from a variety of backgrounds and helping employees adjust to the requirements of the organization. Discussion addresses how communication styles are influenced by differences in generation, national origin, ethnic background, personality, and varying physical and mental abilities.

Working Across Generations
Participants in this course learn what motivates each of the generations at work, how to capitalize on respective talents, and ways to work together with greater understanding and appreciation for optimal workplace performance and satisfaction.

To learn more about these and other offerings, view POD’s course catalog.

Additional resources