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Position articles


The Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (1991) documented the demographics of the changing university population and supported the earlier findings of the American Council on Education's study that within the next fifteen years, one-third of the nation will be people of color. As representatives of these diverse groups enter higher education, institutions will be forced to transform their curricula to address and meet the needs of this growing constituency. As Garr (1992) suggested: "The question is no longer whether students should learn about diverse cultures, but how" (p. 31). Cultural diversity is "one of the largest, most urgent challenges facing higher education today. It is also one of the most difficult challenges colleges have ever faced" (Levin, 1991, p. 4).

This paper addresses cultural diversity as it relates to communication using a series of five questions as a framework for discussion. We offer specific suggestions on integrating cultural diversity into speaking assignments in the basic course later in the paper.