Faculty and Staff Cultural Competency Development

How can we teach from traditional white, middle class academies and cultures and still reach students from various socio-cultural and linguistic backgrounds? How can we discuss racism and still promote inter-group harmony? How is it that faculty and staff can do their best to be inclusive with students and colleagues from different backgrounds and feel lost and confused at the same time?

If any of these questions resonate with you, you are not alone. The reality is that most faculty members have been prepared to understand and work with particular content and academic disciplines exquisitely. On the other hand, many fewer feel competent in effectively understanding and reaching students who bring very different knowledge bases, attitudes, values and beliefs, and skills.

This past Sunday’s New York Times reported that Blacks are far more likely to be stopped, arrested and even brutalized by police than Whites. On the contrary, contributors to ‘Criming While White’ expose the stunningly uneven application of law enforcement to Whites. Many university faculty and staff may unknowingly perpetuate such uneven treatment of students and underrepresented faculty, staff and students. What can you do?

The first step is to acknowledge the situation. The second step is to learn more about what you can do. Join me for a FREE webinar on Faculty Cultural Competency Development onTuesday, November 17, at 11:00 a.m. PST or 2:00 p.m. PST.  Use the following links to sign up:

11:00 a.m. PST   

2:00 p.m. PST    

Institutional Trauma and Academic Success

Last week was suicide prevention week. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students and the third leading cause of death for young Americans age 15 to 24. So how is your campus part of the solution?
This very useful graphic shows the signs leading up to suicide. For teens, early signs include: reckless behavior, change in sleep, withdrawal, substance abuse, etc. These and other coping mechanisms may evolve into more serious conditions when the current or earlier adverse experience is not resolved. What impresses me and gives me hope about this information is that all of these signs are actually symptoms of unresolved trauma. A trauma is a shock that can have lasting effects; it is a response to a real or perceived threat of danger or loss that overwhelms a person’s usual coping ability.

While we may not be able to avoid all adverse experiences, we can certainly be institutions, communities and individuals who are  trauma informed and trauma sensitive, so that we live and work in the kinds of environments that interrupt the downward cycle and promote resilience. Would you like to know how your institution can help reduce unresolved trauma symptoms? Would you like to know how many in the K-12 world are increasing student success among the most at risk students?

Join me for a FREE webinar on Institutional Trauma and Academic Success on September 29, either 11:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. PST. Click on the Register link below:

11:00 am: Register
2:00 pm:  Register

If you missed the last webinar on Institutional Cultural Competency Development, here's a link. Consider how the model I presented might be useful for you to reflect on your own organization and what the next step would be for your organization to be more effective.  I welcome your feedback and offer you a conversation to discuss your current efforts, challenges and lessons learned as you move forward in this work.

Thank you.

 Jaime Romo, Ed.D.

"It's not that they can't see the solution; it’s that they can't see the problem"

Cultural competencies can help everyone teach and learn to their best ability. Having multiculturally informed individual practices, group expectations, and institutional policies in place that promote inclusion equity and excellence for all should lead to individual and institutional growth and vitality.  
The challenge many institutions face is that every person on every campus comes with life experiences that influence how we relate to others. Sometimes unresolved experiences around race, class, gender, sexual orientation, etc., get activated or triggered by micro-aggressions, whether conscious or unconsciously. This activation process sets off a chemical reaction that can limit or even shut down our ability to think and act in reasonable, creative and/or productive ways.
Every campus community has an opportunity to incorporate intentional and integrated culturally responsive practices and policies that reduce harm and promote faculty, staff, and student excellence.

Have you heard the expression ‘I think someone discovered water, and I don’t think it was a fish’? With the support of excellent coaches, individual, group, and institutional transformation is most likely to happen when desire meets opportunity. Can you benefit from customized faculty and staff development? I excel at helping individuals and groups learn, co-create, work productively, and become their best selves in the process.

Would you like to learn more about how to bring faculty and staff behaviors to a higher level of cultural competency that directly impacts students’ achievement?

Join me for a free 30-minute webinar!
on Individual and Institutional Cultural Competency

September 10, 2015

The webinar will be offered at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. Click on the links below to register:

11:00 am  http://www.anymeeting.com/PIID=EC50D788854830

2:00 pmhttps://www.anymeeting.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=EC50D788864D3B

Donald Trump & Scapegoating


Thinking about the recent Jorge Ramos-Trump interaction and the subsequent comment by the Trump supporter, ‘Get out of my country.’ Thinking about the political scapegoating by Trump and others explicitly about undocumented immigrants and implicitly about Latinos in general.

We know that undocumented immigrants do not threaten U.S. citizen jobs; in fact, immigration boosts U.S. citizen wages and is not connected to Unemployment. We know that immigrants aren’t straining schools and U.S. citizen taxpayers. Unaccompanied minors (.1% of immigrants) are the only one who aren’t paying taxes. A burden to social services? Undocumented immigrants don’t even qualify for welfare, food stamps, Medicaid and most other public services. Threatening our national unity? Please.

What if the truth is that people like Trump are blaming the most vulnerable for what many of the 1% are doing: threatening American jobs by financial decisions that boost corporate short term profit; not paying their fair share of taxes by circumventing tax laws and thereby leaving our public schools and social services short changed; taking advantage of bankruptcy provisions and government subsidies; dividing our national cohesiveness by promoting fear and animosity towards people of color. 

What do you think?


Jaime Romo, Ed.D.

Real and Symbolic Violence

We continue to see real race –related violence. Just over a year ago, we witnessed the incident took Michael Brown’s life and then learned about the systemic economic policy targeting African-Americans in Ferguson about which Coates (below) might be referring. Since then several people have been killed through police contact, predominantly African-American's: Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and so many others, most recently Texan college student, Christian Taylor. Eric Garner’s case spurred a recognition by white allies of the biased and very unequal application of the justice system, called ‘Criming While White.’

 I appreciate the observation that Ta-Nehisi Coates raises in Between the World and Me: “But a society that protects some people through a safety net of schools, government-backed home loans, and ancestral wealth but can only protect you with the club of criminal justice has either failed at enforcing its good intentions or has succeeded at something much darker.” In culturally relevant classrooms, this and other points are addressed.

 There are other kinds of violence that are both hard to see and measure. Universities appear to be a focus of bias and unequal application of their stated missions (i.e., symbolic violence). A recent University of Illinois report recommended that the administration should train faculty and staff about microaggressions and provide them with "tools to address racial microaggressions, such as how to facilitate dialogue in the classroom." Beyond that, it recommended creating an education requirement that students take a class about race, white privilege and inequality in the United States.

Bias is real in educational systems. I see microagressions as symbols of our deeper social dis-ease with our history, trauma and fears. And the ongoing killings are the more extreme expressions of the same root dis-ease. However, and fortunately, transformative teaching and extracurricular activities, as well as consistent university-wide policies and practices that promote inclusion and counter micro and other aggressions are the medicine we need to administer in order to promote wellbeing, racial and other justice.

 However, many universities seem to be caught in web of ‘trigger warnings,’ practically editing anything that may be seen as upsetting or offensive. As the authors note in the thought provoking essay, The Coddling of the American Mind,Universities themselves should try to raise consciousness about the need to balance freedom of speech with the need to make all students feel welcome. Talking openly about such conflicting but important values is just the sort of challenging exercise that any diverse but tolerant community must learn to do.” Unfortunately, classroom discussions should be, but are too often not safe places to be exposed to incidental reminders of various kinds of trauma.

 On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your campus with respect to inclusion and excellence?

I excel at developing the customized practical resources to meet particular group development needs. Let’s talk to discuss your campus needs and the results you could expect from me in responding to those priorities.