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Running head: AREAS FOR GROWTH

Areas for Growth


Jacob A. Hartz
Seattle University
Portfolio
Erica K. Yamamura, Ph. D.

AREAS FOR GROWTH

Areas for Growth (LO 1, 2, 6, 9, 10; Artifacts C3, E, F1, G, H, I)


While my strengths narrative highlights the importance of reevaluating my identities,
what they mean to me, and how others might view or interact with the identities I hold, the
reevaluation process has been difficult and extensive. As previously stated, prior to the SDA
program I was never asked or even encouraged to take a close look at who I am and how my
upbringing may have influenced me, especially in terms of how my most salient identities
perpetuate many societal inequities. Now, in the SDA program, this process has been initiated
and is in full motion. I realize that while I have come a long way from the first day of the
program in understanding my identities and myself as both a person and as a professional, I still
have a long way to go. It is because of this realization that I have identified multicultural
competence as an area of improvement. Through the three stages of Popes (2004) multicultural
competence model, (a) awareness, (b) knowledge, and (c) skills, I have come to better
understand my past, present, and future as they relate to my identities and their interaction with
others.
Past: Awareness (LO 1, 2; Artifact C3)
My upbringing nor my undergraduate experience at the University of California, Santa
Cruz (UCSC) did not particularly challenge my identities and force me to consider their meaning
in relation to who I am as a person or professionally. I would also say that I was not completely
blind to my identities. UCSC allowed me to acknowledge the environments I grew up in as
lacking diversity and not conducive to expanding or enhancing my multicultural competence.
Through my past positions as an academic advisor and program coordinator at UCSC, I began to
establish a foundation around LO 2, understanding students and student issues, through
conversing more with minority student populations. Building on this foundation, my enrollment

AREAS FOR GROWTH

in the SDA program allowed me to take my understanding of LO 2 to a deeper level. I


understand many of the barriers students of color often face when entering the education system,
and how that system often does not have the necessary resources to support those challenges.
Throughout Student Affairs Theory, Research, and Practice (SDA 578), I accumulated
theoretical tools to help inform understand and work with diverse student bodies. During the
transition into the SDA program and particularly SDA 578, the conversations had around
diversity, social justice, and building inclusive environments for students refocus my own social
identities in terms of race and ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and class, as well as
how those identities affect implementing theory into my work (Pope, 2004, p.40). This
understanding really initiated my multicultural awareness in the sense that I was now
approaching my work with students in a more cautious, informed position. From leading students
in the ISCs cultural programs, to how I interact with professional staff, I began to understand the
variance amongst identities and how each individual brings a unique background and perspective
to their work.
In addition to gaining theoretical tools to inform for student development, I also gained a
new understanding of learning styles and how our current education system fails to acknowledge
learning outside of Freires (2000) banking style concept. Complimenting SDAD 578, my
understanding of the student affairs profession was further explored in my final paper for
Foundations of the Student Affairs Profession (SDAD 577; Artifact C3). In relation to LO 1,
understanding the foundations and emerging nature of the Student Affairs profession and higher
education, artifact C3 investigates the Student Affairs profession and the need to understand
students as more than a subject or financial resources or academic prime matter, but as a
person (Thon, 1989, p.14). By acknowledging that students experiences are incredibly diverse,

AREAS FOR GROWTH

my approach to working with students in any setting is to learn to understand them first as
humans, with the varying experiences and backgrounds they hold. This understanding ultimately
interacts with how they view me as an educator and will allow a proper utilization of theory as a
tool to best inform professional practice. As hooks (1994) states, our responsibility in education
is to have a total effect on the development of the student, not just the intellectual effect, but an
effect on how that student perceives reality beyond the classroom, which often involves
utilizing strategies that are seemingly foreign to the banking style concept of education (p. 137).
Present: Knowledge (LO 4, 10; Artifact C2, F1, G)
With a stronger foundation of multicultural awareness and my salient identities in place, I
believe I am currently working towards Popes (1994) multicultural knowledge. As Pope (1994)
highlights, understanding how specific cultural constructs, concepts, and realitiesaffect how
individuals and organizations operate in the world is crucial to provide relevant and effective
services (p. 41). Stemming from Popes statement, my group presentation for SDAD 578
(Artifact G) required extensive research into the systems that perpetuate educational inequities.
Given my identities as a white male from a middle class family in a white suburban community, I
did not have much exposure to the inequities I researched and the majority of the information
relayed through the workshop was new to me. Working with my peers to create a workshop
beyond awareness that instead relied upon knowledge of the societal systems that perpetuate
inequity and impede access for marginalized groups was certainly a challenge. Designing and
implementing the workshop required extensive reflection on my past educational experiences
which helped to establish LO 4, understanding and fostering diversity, justice and a sustainable
world formed by a global perspective and Jesuit Catholic traditions. From entering the SDA
program with the slightest awareness of my identities and the inequities they essentially

AREAS FOR GROWTH

symbolize, to co-leading a workshop on the very educational systems my dominant identities


perpetuate shifted my perspective drastically.
With the knowledge that I am capable of change in thought, particularly in eradicating
some of my previous views of my identities and how I work with students, has influenced LO
10, establishing and enhancing professional identity. I completed the workshop with a critical
lens around how I look at the education system and how students are being served. During Best
Practices in Student Affairs (Artifact C2) I engaged with each university in the Portland area with
this lens in mind. I realized how much I had gained in understanding students and the varying
systems in place that inhibit the growth of marginalized populations. For instance, when visiting
schools from different sectors of higher education for SDAD 5750, Best Practices, my
interactions with the Art Institute of Portland (Ai Portland) really put my growth into
perspective. While Ai Portland does some great work for its students, it was obvious the
institution is out of touch with their student demographics and in turn, out of touch with how to
appropriately engage with them. I understand the necessity of knowing who students are and
their needs in order to best accommodate and serve them. My letter of promise (Artifact F1)
from my peer and colleague, Luisa Lora, recounts her perceptions of my professional
commitment in engaging with students while being mindful of the cultural backgrounds they
might come from. I strive to carry this perspective in every professional environment I find
myself in. Luisa noted my focus on creating an inclusive environment for the ISC new student
orientation program, which I was simultaneously attempting to create around the same time as
the Exploring Systems of Educational Inequity workshop. I found myself considering the
implications of our education system on the international student population, and the importance
in creating spaces on campus that help ease the transition into Seattle University and for many,

AREAS FOR GROWTH

an entirely new culture. While I have grown in my multicultural competence, I realize I must
continue to learn and adapt this practice for continued learning.
Future: Skills (LO 9: Artifacts E, H)
Although I have experienced growth in terms of multicultural awareness and am
currently enhancing my cultural knowledge, Popes (1994) skills component is an area of
improvement I am aiming to develop. Recognizing this process is a lifelong journey, I do not feel
I have arrived at the ability to critique theories and apply them to the practical experiences of a
diverse study body and complex organizational structures (p. 42). Admittedly, I lack the most in
LO 9, understanding issues surrounding law, policy, finance and governance, and feel this is a
crucial component to exercising multicultural skills, given the complexity of education systems
in relation to equity and diversity. My self-assessment of the ACPA and NASPA competencies
(Artifact H) identifies this as one of my weakest competences. Although Leadership and
Governance in Postsecondary Education (SDAD 576) certainly provided an overview of the
importance in understanding where policies and law are derived from as well as their impact, it is
an area I have little experience with. Moving forward, regardless of the professional environment
I find myself in, it will be crucial for me to seek out opportunities to learn how law and policies
impact professional practice.
My first tangible step toward cultural skills as was my contribution to the Exploration of
Leadership Programs for LGBTQ Leaders in the Pacific Northwest group research project for the
Pride Foundation (Artifact E). The project bordered on the utilization of multicultural knowledge
toward personally exercising multicultural skills by education a select group of identities on
leadership programs. Being a part of a group that researched, evaluated, and made
recommendations for leadership programs to help advance equality for the LGBTQ community

AREAS FOR GROWTH

was a transformative and informative experience. Through research on varying leadership


models, I began to understand the impact of law and policy on marginalized communities,
particularly within the LGBTQ community. In our groups meetings with the Pride Foundation
board, I began to understand the importance of their knowledge around the policies that continue
to marginalize the community, as well as their ability to translate educational theory for the
greater cause. It is in part through this experience that I recognize the gaps in my ability to
exercise cultural skills, and ultimately better understanding law and policy is the first step for
societal change.

AREAS FOR GROWTH

References
Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.
hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. New York:
Routledge.
Pope, R. L., Reynolds, A. L., & Mueller, J. A. (2004). Multicultural competence in student
affairs. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Thon, A.J. (1989). The ignation perspective: The role of student affairs in Jusuit higher
Education [Monograph], pp.6-18. Retrieved from
http://jaspa.creighton.edu/Publications/index.htm.