The SMCCCD has long been recognized as having an outstanding faculty and staff, well known for their teaching competency and ability to serve students effectively. In its continuing quest for excellence in teaching and learning, during the 2000-2001 academic year, the District funded two groups of 20 employees to attend a two-day training offered by the Simon J. Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance (“MOT”) in Los Angeles. The training, titled “Tools for Tolerance for Professionals” provides participants with intensive interactive learning experiences related to acceptance and valuing of societal differences in people and diversity of cultures, language groups, abilities, backgrounds and points of view.
The academic and classified staff, trustees and administrators who attended the MOT reported a high degree of satisfaction with the content and caliber of the experience. Some even described the experience as “life changing.” It has been generally agreed by most participants that all employees should have a chance to participate in such a meaningful experience and that the training has many implications for both employment and educational enhancements within the three Colleges and Chancellor’s Office.
Due to the feedback received from the participants during the 2000-2001 academic year, the Faculty and Staff Diversity Advisory Committee (FASDAC) developed a proposal to the Board of Trustees to request annual funding to continue sending two groups of 20 employees annually to the training. On May 29, 2002, the Board of Trustees adopted the proposal and made a commitment to provide the Tools for Tolerance for Professionals training as an institutionalized enhancement of the District mission, relative to valuing diversity for continued institutional growth.
Upon return from the two-day training, each group has met for a debriefing to discuss the experience and to recommend potential follow-up programs, services and activities that could be institutionalized within San Mateo County Community College District.
The benefit to the District is an increased level of collegiality among college and District staff, faculty and administration. This leads to better teaching, more productive work and improved communication among all employees. Ultimately, the benefits of a culturally competent workforce will transcend the workplace, and will impact the values, beliefs and actions of being in our communities at large.
The goal is to develop, nurture and sustain a culturally competent and responsive workforce for the ‘21st Century SMCCCD’ that will appropriately equip employees to respond effectively to the increasingly diverse student and staff population in the District.
Three objectives are proposed to accomplish this goal:
- To send 30 employees in the Fall each year for training
- To invite MOT speakers to the SMCCCD to meet with past participants and present to a larger audience of other interested faculty and staff
- To maximize the training and experience of those who have already had MOT training by providing “follow-up” activities at each of the Colleges
We will continue to undertake supportive and effective activities at all levels.
Starting Fall 2023, this program will re-start after it was temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 pandemic.