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Cultural Competency: Professionalism & Practice - Semester 2

Key information

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Module description

What is cultural competency? Why is it important in my studies, and how can I put it into practice? This multi-and-cross-disciplinary level 5 module will provide students from across the College with the tools with which to answer these key questions. It aims to develop students' critical awareness of the core issues surrounding cultural competency, such as power, equality, positionality, intersectionality and social justice and offer them the conceptual and practical 'know-how', with which to implement this awareness in their academic, professional, and everyday lives, and through this to effect positive change. The module will equip students with skills that are essential for all professionals, and will enable them to be effective global citizens.  

Assessment details

  • Formative Assessment: There is no formal formative assessment for this module, but students will have plenty of opportunity for peer and tutor engagement, as well as occasions to gather feedback on their work.
  • Summative Assessment: The assessment of this module is multimodal portfolio (1000-2000-word) - 100%

Educational aims & objectives

This module aims to develop students’ critical awareness of the core issues surrounding cultural competency, and to provide them with practical tools with which to implement this awareness in their academic, professional, and everyday lives, and through this to effect positive change. While the module is embedded in the students’ experience at King’s, it will also equip them with skills that are highly regarded by employers, and which will enable them to be effective global citizens.   The module “Cultural Competency: Professionalism & Practice” consists of four main intersecting themes, each of which informs the others:     

  1. Theories, Paradigms and Frameworks:   This theme explores some of the core concepts, divergent theoretical trends, and primary paradigms and frameworks that underpin the work of cultural competency.  
  2. History and Historiography of Power, Social Justice, and Equality:  This theme unpacks the historical trajectory of the social construction of power asymmetry, systemic injustice, and inequality, at both societal and interpersonal levels.  
  3. Creativity and Interdisciplinary Methodologies:  This theme engages with interdisciplinary methodologies that inform cultural competency both as a learned subject, and a requirement of professional development. Creative methodologies, including from the written and visual arts, will be encouraged as means to challenge the status quo in existing cultural competency research and practice.    
  4. Cultural Strategies for Change:  This theme brings all the preceding themes together to enable students to think creatively about how to make the world a better place. They will engage with an area of their own interest and creatively co-create meaningful changes to policies, procedures, or behaviours within this chosen context.   

Students will gain knowledge, understanding, critical cultural awareness, self-awareness and communication skills, which will inform not just their studies and professions but also their lives beyond King’s. 

Learning outcomes

  1. Identity key theoretical frameworks that are related to and/or underpin the principles of cultural competency 

  1. Explain the different ways in which cultural competency can effect change. 

  1. Distinguish functions of cultural competency in different personal, institutional, and professional settings. 

  1. Recognise and understand the different and shifting perspectives of others, and demonstrate reflexivity in behaviour towards others in different contexts. 

  1. Communicate sensitively and with empathy in a range of academic, institutional, professional, and personal contexts. 

  1. Reflect on key contemporary debates and apply meaningful cultural strategies within a given context. 

Teaching pattern

Per Week: 1 hour online self-guided content; 1 hour in-person seminar


Suggested reading list

Core reading

  • Asante, Molefi Kete, Miike, Yoshitaka and Yin, Jing (eds.), The Global Intercultural Communication Reader (London: Routledge, 2008)
  • ​Frawley, Jack, Nguyen, Tran, and Sarian, Emma (eds.), Transforming Lives and Systems. Cultural Competence and the Higher Education Interface (Singapore: Springer Singapore, 2020) ​Grzanka, Patrick (ed.), Intersectionality. Foundations and Frontiers (New York: Routledge, 2019)   
  • Reisch, Michael (ed.), The Routledge International Handbook of Social Justice (New York: Routledge, 2014)
  • Waylen, Georgina (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • Kurylo, Anastacia, Inter/Cultural Communication: Representation and Construction of Culture (Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2012)
Module description disclaimer

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

Please note that modules with a practical component will be capped due to educational requirements, which may mean that we cannot guarantee a place to all students who elect to study this module.

Please note that the module descriptions above are related to the current academic year and are subject to change.