One America Community Efforts
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Program: Cultural Diversity in Education Program, Champaign, IL
Contact(s): Pauline Kayes, Director: (217) 351-2541
Purpose: To instruct educators in Illinois on the relationship between inclusive classrooms and schools, and to promote the success and achievement of culturally diverse and minority students

Background Program Operations Outcomes


In the early 1990s the Illinois Board of Higher Education became concerned that black and Latino students attending Illinois community colleges and universities had disproportionately lower retention and graduation rates. The board challenged the state's colleges and universities to address access and equity for minority students, and determine whether educators are prepared to do an effective job of including and teaching diverse students. The Cultural Diversity in Education Program (CDEP) was developed as a cooperative project of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Prairie Higher Education Consortium, and Parkland College. The focus of the program is assessment, evaluation and transformation of the "total educational environment" of elementary schools and colleges. Its goal is to have faculty, administrators and staff develop pedagogies, curricula, policies and support services that include culturally diverse and minority students, and that foster intercultural awareness and understanding among all students.

Program Operations

The Cultural Diversity in Education Program sponsors conferences, institutes, symposiums and workshops primarily for faculty and staff from Illinois K-12 schools, community colleges and universities. Two trainers from CDEP go into these schools and work with a group of thirty to forty staff and faculty members and guide them through a series of six three-hour workshops on the following topics: An Overview of Diversity Work, Issues, and Concerns in Education; Understanding How Our Biases, Assumptions, and Stereotypes Impact Educational Climate and Achievement; Creating Inclusive Educational Communities for Culturally Diverse and Minority Students; The Hidden Curriculum: Causes and Effects of Intercultural Conflict in the Classroom; The Chilly Climate in the Classroom: Creating Inclusive Classrooms; The Chilly Climate Outside The Classroom: Creating Inclusive Student Support Systems. The trainers prepare participants to lead workshops of their own with their peers, and encourage them to take initiative within the school or university community. The trainers generally return each year to work with a new group of faculty and staff.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Over the last six years, the Cultural Diversity in Education Program has worked with over 1,000 faculty members, administrators, and staff from both urban and rural colleges and schools in Illinois. In order to foster ongoing dialogue among Illinois educators who have been through the program, the Cultural Diversity in Education Program has created the Illinois Diversity Web. (

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