CSU Program Develops Competent Leaders

After reading an article in The Cleveland Stater entitled Diversity Management program is designed for 21st century workplace, I was pleased to learn that Cleveland State University offers a master’s degree in Diversity Management. This two-year program is held one weekend a month but students must be able to dedicate three full days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Although the program is geared mainly for full-time working adults, younger students are welcome to apply.

According to Dr. Lisa Gaynier, director and graduate of the program, “the program is about developing culturally competent leaders who can lead and sustain change.” The article points out the  fact that many corporations are spreading globally, and the work force in general has become more culturally diverse. Gaynier would like to  “train as many culturally competent leaders as she can.” Getting along with co-workers can be difficult enough without throwing in the social norms of another culture.

The neighborhood that I live in is very diverse. My family and I have benefitted from learning and understanding why people from a different culture sometimes do things differently than we do. We have also expanded our culinary abilities as my husband and I have learned to cook some of the dishes that our Lebanese and Palestinian neighbors have shared with us over the years. The elderly Hungarian woman, Maria, who lives three doors over, is being cared for by neighbors, who are a homosexual couple that have been together for t en years. Before her health declined, Maria would bake fancy desserts from recipes she brought with her from the “old country”, and pass them out to her favorite neighbors, us included.

When choosing applicants for the diversity program, Dr. Gaynier looks for differences such as race, age, ethnicity, sex, and religion to name a few examples, due to the fact that these differences can cause problems within the workforce environment. Dr. Gaynier commented on how the Iranian culture for example has different sexual norms than that of the United States. Iranian women tend to be more masculine and the men more sensitive and nurturing. Today’s leaders need to be sensitive, conscientious, empathetic, and professional. I feel that enrolling in a program such as the one CSU is offering is an  excellent way to achieve these goals.

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