GENESEO, N.Y. - SUNY Geneseo has received the bronze NASPA Excellence Award for 2013 for a program aimed at cultivating culturally competent students.
NASPA, the organization of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, selected Geneseo for the program "Real World Geneseo (RWG): A Model for Building Cultural Competency." Geneseo received the honor in NASPA's award category recognizing colleges that transform higher education through outstanding programs, innovative services and effective administration in the international, multicultural, cultural, gender, LGBTQ, spirituality, disability and related category.
"The excellence awards embody the overarching goals set for by NASPA: to lead in the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession," said NASPA President Kevin Kruger. "We are proud to promote the innovative work taking place at SUNY Geneseo and encourage institutions to follow suit and join the movement."
Geneseo launched "Real World Geneseo" four years ago after Fatima Johnson, coordinator of multi-cultural programs, and Susan Norman, director of the the college's Xerox Center for Multicultural Teacher Education, heard students ask for more opportunity to interact across cultures. She and a team of faculty and staff modeled the program after MTV's "Real Word" reality series.
"Kudos to Fatima and Susan and their colleagues in creating this innovative, award-winning program," said Robert Bonfiglio, vice president for student and campus life. "It combines participation in a four-day workshop with coursework during the semester that helps students explore what diversity means among peers with various backgrounds."
Bonfiglio said the coordinators built an outcome assessment instrument into the program, and after three iterations, they found significant increases in cultural competency, comfort with diversity and likelihood of engaging in behaviors such as challenging culturally derogatory remarks and educating others on social issues.
This is the second time a Geneseo student affairs program has received a bronze NASPA award. The Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development (GOLD) program received one in 2006 in the category of Student Union, Student Activities, Greek Life and Leadership.
In addition, "Real World Geneseo" was one of the four recipients last fall of the SUNY Council of Chief Student Affairs Officers Outstanding Program Award.
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