Celebrating Cultural Uniqueness at TU
Under the leadership of Dr. Schumacher, TU has embarked on an initiative to strengthen our approach to diversity. At the end of the initiative, the University will demonstrate a culture of openness to diversity of thought and action, not because we don’t do so now, but because we can do better. TU’s administrators, faculty, staff and domestic and foreign students will show a stronger attitude of embracing, welcoming and leveraging diversity. Tiffin University will be known, internally and externally, as an institution that educates and develops individuals to be prepared for the realities of the world they live and work in.
We would like to assure our students, our employers and our community that:
Tiffin University graduates, regardless of their area of specialty are: innovative problem solvers who can leverage diversity of any type to work effectively with people who are different from them and produce innovative ideas.
Why Celebrating Uniqueness?
Culture is defined as “the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, and arts.” (Zimmerman 2015).
At Tiffin University, we have more than one culture at play: The campus culture and the individual culture each individual encompasses.
We are calling the initiative “Celebrating Cultural Uniqueness,” not only because TU’s culture is unique from other academic institutions, but because we are all unique. It is something to be understood, respected and celebrated. We feel it is important that all TU students graduate as globally competent individuals who can continue to understand, respect and work with others who are different from them. We also feel our students should be able to work effectively within other cultures that may be different than what they are accustomed.
Zimmerman, K.A. (2015, February 19). What is Culture? Definition of Culture.
Retrieved from: www.livescience.com/21478-what-is-culture-definition-of-culture.html
President Schumacher's interview discussing Celebrating Cultural Uniqueness at Tiffin University.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: It has been rumored that some students think this initiative is about forcing people to get along? Is this true?
A: Absolutely not. Most of us are already doing much of what this initiative focuses on; it’s just about being more proactive and intentional about how we prove that we are open to differing thoughts and beliefs. That is why the initiative is primarily focused on developing a set of competencies that all of our graduates possess that makes them more marketable in the workplace.
Q: What is the overall purpose of this initiative and what will be the benefit for students?
A: Upon completion of their degree from TU, we want our graduates to be successful and effective when working with colleagues, direct reports, supervisors, counterparts and community members that are different from them. Diversity in the workplace generates more innovative and well-rounded problem solvers. To state this overall purpose formally: Tiffin University graduates, regardless of their area of specialty, will be innovative problem solvers who can leverage diversity of any type to work effectively with people who are different from them and produce innovative ideas.
Q: How are you going to implement the initiative?
A: First and foremost, our faculty and staff are leading by example and this has already started but we have much work to do over the next three to five years to full completion. The Celebrating CulTUral Uniqueness Steering Committee, the General Education Curriculum Committee, the Diversity Committee, and a select group of faculty will start the process of infusing an agreed upon set of competencies into our general education curriculum and these competencies will be further enhanced through established co and extracurricular activities in which students participate during their collegiate journey at TU.
Q: What are ways this initiative supports TU's purpose and mission?
A: Our purpose is: To transform lives through education. Our mission is to: Educate students by linking knowledge to professional practice. We want to ensure that by the time our students graduate from TU, regardless of their major, they are effective contributors to their employers and to their communities and are successful long after graduating from our institution. Bundling a strong set of globally diverse competencies with a solid curriculum in one’s major field of study does this.
Q: How can I get more involved with the initiative?
A: Get your student organization involved or get involved on your own. Ask a faculty or staff member on either the Steering Committee or the Diversity Committee for specific details. As a new student, you will learn about the initiative in great detail starting with first-year seminar. Please do not let any idea you have wait or go to waste. We want your involvement now and throughout the initiative process.
Q: I think I’m culturally unique and I want to share my story. Who do I contact?
A: We would love to hear your story, and know that each of us is unique even if we do not come from a different country, so encourage your friends to also share a story. Julia K. Porter, Ph.D., is the project manager of the initiative. You can email her at email@example.com or call her on campus at 419.448.3369.