Celebrating Cultural Uniqueness (CCU) at TU

The Initiative

Under the leadership of Dr. Schumacher, in 2016 Tiffin University (TU) embarked on an initiative called Celebrating Cultural Uniqueness (CCU), now called CCU@TU. The initiative began as a focus to strengthen our approach to diversity and inclusion in order to be able to demonstrate a culture of openness to diversity of thought and action; not because we were not doing so, but because we could better. TU administrators, faculty, staff and students wanted to show a strong attitude for embracing, welcoming, and celebrating diversity and inclusion and, moreover, become known internally and externally as an institution that educates, develops and prepares individuals for the realities of the world in which we live and work.

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 person encompasses.

We call the now commitment to Celebrating Cultural Uniqueness our response to diversity and inclusion not only because TU’s culture is unique from other academic institutions, but because we are all unique. Uniqueness is to be understood, respected and celebrated.

Today, we pledge to our students that regardless of area of specialty, they will graduate as innovative problem solvers who can leverage diversity of any type to work effectively with people who are different from them and produce innovative ideas.

Reference
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.

View podcast episode with closed captioning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: It has been rumored that some think this commitment is about forcing people to get along? Is this true?
A: Absolutely not. Most of us are already doing much of what this commitment focuses on; it’s about being more proactive and intentional about how we prove that we are open to differing thoughts and beliefs. That is why the commitment is primarily focused on developing a set of competencies that all of our graduates possess that makes them more marketable in the workplace.

Q: It seems like what we’re doing is more about international culture and not really diversity? Can you speak to this?
A: Yes. First, refer to our cited definition of culture. Then think about diversity. Diversity is evident in many ways; race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, disability, citizenship, nationality, etc. Diversity is domestic AND global. CCU is a commitment to building and demonstrating a culture of openness to diversity of thought and action; a strong attitude for embracing and welcoming difference no matter who you are or where you are from. TU has just chosen to use an assessment tool that measures this through something called cultural intelligence. The CQ tool is a tool that measures one’s ability around cultural awareness and sensitivity. 

Q: What is the overall purpose of this commitment, 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: What are ways this commitment 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: I am unique and I want to share my story. Who do I contact?
A: We would love to hear your story.  Know that each of us is unique even if we do not come from a different country, so encourage your friends to also share their story. Contact Julia K. Porter, Ph.D. You can email her at porterju@tiffin.edu or call her on campus at 419.448.3369.

Q: How can I get more involved?
A: Get your student organization involved or get involved on your own. Ask a member of the President Advisory Council for Celebrating Cultural Uniqueness (CCU@TU) for specific details. As a new student, you will learn about CCU@TU in great detail starting with your Dragon Education Courses. In the meantime, we want your involvement and ideas! Don’t wait if you want to be involved. 

Q: How are you implementing this commitment to diversity and inclusion that you call CCU@TU?
A: It took us four years to create a commitment to diversity and inclusion at TU, and this continues to be a process. But today, we do make a promise to all undergraduate students that each student, regardless of area of specialty, will graduate as innovative problem solvers who can leverage diversity of any type to work effectively with people who are different from them and produce innovative ideas. We do this through an intentional redesigned general education curriculum focused on a set of core competencies around cognitive, inclusive, integrative and foundational mindsets. This model is extremely unique to Tiffin University, and our faculty have done a phenomenal job of creating this new curriculum.

We also formed an Advisory Council to the President on Celebrating Cultural Uniqueness.  This group promotes and sustains the institutional commitment to inclusive excellence by creating an environment focused on student and organizational success. It consists of three sub councils: Academic Experience, Expansion of Opportunity, and Talent and Engagement Councils. These councils are comprised of faculty, staff, students, and local community members, who ensure that we practice what we preach with respect to diversity and inclusion, both in and out of the classroom, and both on and off campus, anywhere and anytime we are representing Tiffin University.

We are also training all of our employees and additional select students who aspire to earn the certification. This fall, we will be running the third cohort of Building Cultural Competencies within Organizations which is our 7-month internal certification program.  We will continue this training until all employees have become certified. 

Q: If I am an alumni or outside organization, can I get involved and/or is a training or seminar offered to external folks?
A: Yes. Earlier this year, we began widening the outreach of this commitment by offering this training to alumni and outside organizations across varying sectors. By encouraging others to join in and learn how to respect oneself and others, we are trying to be the change we hope to see in the world. We have moved past Celebrating Cultural Uniqueness as simply an initiative for us, but as a way of life and a unique competitive advantage for our students, alumni, community and now organizational partners. For more information, please contact the Office of the President at 419.448.3413 or via email at luciuse@tiffin.edu.