Intercultural Knowledge and Competence encompass "a set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts" (Bennett, 2008, AACU 2009).
Equity involves trying to understand and give people what they need to enjoy full, healthy lives. The concept of equity is synonymous with fairness and justice. It is helpful to think of equity as not simply a desired state of affairs or a lofty value. To be achieved and sustained, equity needs to be thought of as a structural and systemic concept. Systematic equity is a complex combination of interrelated elements consciously designed to create, support and sustain social justice. It is a robust system and dynamic process that reinforces and replicates equitable ideas, power, resources, strategies, conditions, habits and outcomes (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2014).
Inclusion requires the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in people, in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical). This engagement with diversity has the potential to increase one’s awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions (AACU, 2009).
Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, encompassing the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. While diversity is often used in reference to race, ethnicity, and gender, . . . a broader definition of diversity that also includes mission-relevant experience, age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language(s) spoken, and physical appearance (Code for America, 2020).
Equity is fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups (Code for America, 2020).
Inclusive environments are places in which any individual or group is and feels welcomed, respected, supported, valued, and able to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming culture embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people, and fosters a diversity of thought, ideas, perspectives, and value (Code for America, 2020).
Below are some resources to help you learn more about the competencies of Intercultural Competency and Equity/Inclusion: