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Position articles


Cultural diversity has become a central concern at most levels of education. The term itself has become so accepted and commonplace that we often do not stop to ask what cultural diversity means for our respective fields. R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr., president of the American Institute for Managing Diversity at Morehouse College in Atlanta, defines diversity as building "systems and a culture that unite different people in a common pursuit without undermining their diversity. It's taking differences into account while developing a cohesive whole" (Gordon, 1992, p. 23). This seems a fruitful way to view cultural diversity in communication education. "Our challenge is not only to accommodate diversity, but to actually use it to bring new and richer perspectives to ... our whole social climate" (Winikow, 1990, p. 242).

The public speaking dimension of the basic communication course could better meet the challenge of cultural diversity by addressing training of graduate assistants, course content, and public speaking assessment.