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Princeton, New Jersey, March 24, 2011–Princeton Theological Seminary has launched “Navigating the Waters: Pathways to Embracing Diversity,” a three-to-four-year cultural proficiency and diversity competency initiative that will include all of the institution’s constituencies. The Seminary, through its Office of Multicultural Relations, has been researching cultural proficiency and methodology programs and organizations that address diversity competency, and has contracted with The Kaleidoscope Institute of Los Angeles to facilitate the program.

Cultural proficiency is a “way of being that allows individuals and organizations to interact effectively with people who differ from them,” says Victor Aloyo, the Seminary’s director of multicultural relations. “In any organization, it is the policies and practices, and the values and behaviors, that enable the organization or the individual to work and live together effectively in a culturally diverse environment. Cultural proficiency is reflected in the way an organization treats its employees, its clients, and its community.”

Both higher education in general, and the church, including Princeton Seminary, have witnessed a growth in traditionally underrepresented populations in their constituencies. In response, for the past two years, the Seminary’s Office of Multicultural Relations has researched and explored strategies to create cultural proficiency and diversity competency on its campus. “We view a diverse student body as an important educational resource that enhances the environment for learning,” Aloyo says.

The launch team for Navigating the Waters, which has already had two meetings, includes students, administrators, faculty members, and support staff. It is chaired by Dean of Student Life Nancy Lammers Gross.

Aloyo says that Navigating the Waters is the first and to date the only intentional, comprehensive cultural proficiency and diversity competence program among theological seminaries of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

For more information about the Navigating the Waters initiative, contact the Office of Multicultural Relations at 609.497.1940 or multicultural@ptsem.edu.

Princeton Theological Seminary was founded in 1812, the first seminary established by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church.  It is the largest Presbyterian seminary in the country, with more than 500 students in six graduate degree programs.

 
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