Practicing educational leaders frequently want to know what a culture audit “really looks like.” While auditing formats may vary depending on the specific school, college, or district, there are some key areas that can be examined to determine strengths and needs.
To help educational leaders visualize how a culture audit might look, the diagram below reflects ten potential domains of focus for conducting culture audits in schools and colleges. The domains are not meant to be exhaustive and may be expanded or reduced to accommodate the needs and interests of the individual organization.
Based on professional experience, research, and literature on organizational cultural competence and proficiency (Bustamante, 2005), examples of culturally competent practices are listed under each domain to provide a better sense of the kind of factors that can be observed in a culture audit.
- Stated commitment to diversity.
- Integrated global perspectives.
- Literature selections reflect a variety of cultural perspectives.
- Integration of world views, geography, and history.
- Linguistic and content objectives are addressed for second language learners.
- Balanced racial/ethnic representation in advanced placement, honors, gifted programs.
- Regular meetings held with randomly selected groups to obtain feedback and consider student “voice” in decision-making.
- Variety of student leadership development opportunities for all students.
- Observed inter-racial/inter-ethnic social integration among students.
- Support programs to promote achievement and retention of lower achieving groups.
- Student-initiated community service.
IV. Teachers/ faculty
- Conscious recruitment of diverse groups.
- Mentoring and support programs for new teachers.
- Vertical and horizontal teacher teaming according to individual strengths, leadership abilities, and interests.
- Conscious integration efforts to diverse teacher teams.
- Professional development that addresses race, culture, and language opportunities and challenges.
- Focused, long term professional development.
V. Teaching and learning
- Differentiated instruction.
- Researched strategies that account for various learning styles.
- Technology integration.
- Connections to student culture and prior knowledge.
- Second language learning and teaching strategies.
- Service learning.
- Outreach to various local community constituency groups.
- Inclusion of all potential stakeholder groups in community-building forums through use of parent liaisons.
- Parent involvement programs for all culture groups.
- Established national and global ties through partnerships with similar organizations.
- Realization and utilization of the electronic community for relationship building and sourcing best practices.
VII. Conflict Resolution
- Recognition of the inevitability of intercultural conflict.
- Peer mediation and proactive approaches to conflict resolution.
- Practices to ensure classroom and school safety for all.
VIII. Evaluations and Assessments
- Authentic student assessments to complement standardized tests.
- Formative and summative program evaluations.
- 360 degree teacher and administrator evaluations.
- Ongoing organizational assessments aimed at continual improvement.
- Opportunities for staff input into policies and procedures.
- Professional development opportunities on attitudes and behaviors toward diversity.
- Recognition of informal leadership roles.
- Focus on staff growth and integration.
- Examination of organizational traditions to check for exclusive/inclusive practices.
- Diverse representation at events and celebrations.
- Celebrations that reflect various cultures and introduce the community to new cultures.
- Integration of experienced and entry-level personnel in change management.