Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
Online Cultural Diversity Course Available For Court EmployeesSeptember 04, 2007
The Minority and Justice Commission developed “Cultivating Cultural Competency” in conjunction with the Administrative Office of the Court’s (AOC's) education unit, to provide an option for the many court employees who can’t travel to in-person cultural diversity training at the Institute for New Court Employees and Bailiffs.
The course can be accessed at any time from a computer with online capability, can be started and stopped as time permits or repeated for sections of particular interest.
The course can also be paired with a six-part "Follow-Up Guide" designed for small group discussion among colleagues. The Follow-Up lessons run about 45 minutes each so they can be part of brown-bag sessions, if desired.
“Cultivating Cultural Competency” includes six units — Overview, Knowing Self, Knowing Others, Knowing Issues, Working With Others, and Next Steps — and is presented through audio, visuals, text, graphics and interactive exercises. It includes the ability to navigate in the lessons of each unit, such as the ability to pause, go back, repeat slids and jump to other sections.
King County Superior Court Judge LeRoy McCullough provides the introduction and the course is “taught” by four court employees sharing their personal experiences and information.
For instance, Roman is an African American court manager who was once embarrassed to be mistaken for a defendant. Anita is a Latina who was mistaken as a court user when she arrived at a court to apply for a job. James is an Asian American court intern who is often asked where he is from and why he speaks English so well.
Judge McCullough explains that diversity is exploding within Washington state and its courts, and that court employees are often the first to interact with diverse court users needing help with justice needs -- court employees help engender trust in the court system by their actions.
And what is cultural competency?
It is a “set of values, behaviors, attitudes and practices within a court system and among individuals, enabling them to work effectively regardless of culture to ensure the integrity of the courts,” as explained by Roman in one of the lessons. “It requires practice every day.”
The full course can take approximately three hours to complete, depending on the individual.
The Cultural Competency course is part of AOC’s Virtual Institute for New Court Employees (VINCE), which seeks to develop online courses to give courts training options for court staff members. Another online course currently available is "Bailiff Orientation: Interaction With Jurors."
To view the online "Cultivating Cultural Competency" course and download a copy of the "Follow-Up Guide," follow this link (scroll down to access the course): http://www.courts.wa.gov/training/vince/.
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