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Winter Roundtable Explores Cultural Competence and Social Justice


Madonna Constantine, Winter Roundtable Director

Madonna Constantine, Winter Roundtable Director

Robert Carter, Professor of Psychology and Education

Robert Carter, Professor of Psychology and Education

Participants in the TC Winter Roundtable, "Strategies for Building Cultural Competence in Psychology and Education" on February 20th and 21st witnessed the introduction of some notable new features at the conference, in addition to its renowned presentations, workshops, and keynote speakers.

This year marks the inauguration of Madonna Constantine, TC Professor of Psychology and Education, as Director of the Winter Roundtable. Speaking to Inside TC, Constantine discussed the significance of applying cultural competencies in counseling. "The emphasis on cultural competence came out of the recognition that this country is becoming more diverse by the second," Constantine said. "You have to look at all aspects of identity, including people belonging to racial and sexual minorities, and speak to where those identities intersect. When people are trained to see social phenomena through a biased or limited social lens, there's an invalid basis for intervention," she said. "If you lack the cultural competence in dealing, for instance, with gay or transgendered people, how can you help them?"


Bell Hooks, whose pioneering work explored the intersections of race, class, and gender, received the Roundtable's first Social Justice Action Award, in recognition of her life's achievements. Hooks, an interdisciplinary scholar who has taught literature, women's studies and African-American studies, is the author of more than 25 books, including Teaching Community (2003), and Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (1994). Constantine told Inside TC that future Winter Roundtables will continue to support topics related social justice, and that the theme of the 2005 Roundtable will be "Racism as a Barrier to Cultural Competence."

The 14th Annual Janet E. Helms Award for Mentoring and Scholarship in Psychology and Education was presented to Robert T. Carter, who directed the Winter Roundtable from 1989 through 2003. Carter, a recognized scholar in the subjects of racism and white racial identity theory, will be commemorated for his career as a teacher, advisor, administrator, researcher, and scholar, and for his work as a mentor in the field of cultural psychology.

This year's keynote speaker, Thomas A. Parham, addressed the opening session on the morning of February 20th with a talk entitled, "Building for Eternity: Solidifying Our Competence Through Principled Strength." Parham, who is Assistant Vice Chancellor for Counseling and Director of Counseling at the University of California (Irvine), is a psychologist and educator, a Past President of the Association of Black Psychologists, and a Past President of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development. He has written or edited several books, including Counseling Persons of African Descent: Raising the Bar of Practitioner Competence (2002).

The TC Winter Roundtable is the longest-running continuing professional education program in the United States devoted solely to cultural issues in psychology and education.

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