chapter  5
12 Pages

BEING A DIVERSITY-COMPETENT COLLEGE COUNSELOR

The college student population has become increasingly diverse over the past few decades (Bishop, Lacour, Nutt, Yamada, & Lee, 2004; Cooper, Resnick, Rodolfa, & Douce, 2008; Hodges, 2001). Although institutions of higher education were once almost exclusive domains of young, White, affluent males, they have since transformed themselves to better reflect the diversity of our society. The term diversity used to be primarily associated with ethnicity and race, but the term has expanded to include demographic variables such as age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religious affiliation, and ability status. In response to the significant changes in the student population, college counselors have recognized the need to acquire and develop appropriate skills for working with diverse groups of students. Diversity and multicultural skills are now considered to be essen-

tial for those in the profession of college counseling (Berg-Cross & Pak, 2006; Resnick, 2006; Reynolds & Pope, 2003). Being a diversity-competent college counselor entails going beyond just individual counseling skills and truly engenders a much broader scope of activity and practice. College counselors need to be sensitive to and promote diversity in all aspects of campus life (Wright, 2000). This chapter will begin with a discussion of how colleges and uni-

versities strive to fully embrace diversity on their campuses and what it means to be a diversity-competent college counselor. This will be followed by a discussion of how college counselors incorporate diversity into all dimensions of their work. The chapter will conclude with a brief overview of the unique struggles of diverse student groups, the importance of providing appropriate and responsive counseling to a diverse student population, and some of the ways that college counselors reach out to diverse students on campus.