Cultural Humility

Cultural Humility

UO’s Working Definition of Cultural Humility:

Cultural humility is a practice of self-reflection on how one’s own background and the background of others, impacts teaching, learning, research, creative activity, engagement, leadership, etc.  

It is committing to work individually and with others to end unjust power imbalances.

It leverages institutional accountability to redress oppression, discrimination and harm individually, interpersonally, institutionally and structurally.

Institutional Goals:

#1 Individual

Equip students, faculty and staff with the tools to (1) learn, teach, research, advocate, serve and work in ways that are inclusive and equitable and (2) resist or fight efforts to harm people based upon their race, ethnicity, indigeneity, religion, nationality, gender, gender identifications, sexual orientations, ideological beliefs, veteran statuses, ability statuses, economic statuses, and language backgrounds.


#2 – Interpersonal

Incentivize and recognize the use of cultural humility as a tool for supporting effective and appropriate inter-cultural engagement so that the collective good prevails. Help faculty, students and staff to understand how to address differences through bilateral engagement, understanding and discussion.


  • Updating the Compliance Process (partnership among Division of Equity and Inclusion, Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance, and General Counsel)
  • Workgroup on Employee Engagement focused on cultural change

#3 – Institutional

Incorporate cultural humility into institutional policies and practices, including teaching, recruitment, retention, conflict resolution, onboarding, research, engagement, performance management and our understanding of merit as well as success.


  • Diversity Statements for all new faculty hires, with accompanying rubrics to assess quality and impact at every stage and alignment across schools and colleges
  • Incorporating equity and inclusion statements into campus-wide performance management processes UO Reforms to Campus Policing.
  • Research Compliance Services’ Responsible Conduct of Research support program is integrating components of cultural competency – awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills – in their offerings.
  • Committee on Representing our Diverse Histories (CRDH)

#4 – Societal

Leverage cultural humility to “enhance the social, cultural, physical, and economic wellbeing of our students, Oregon, the nation, and the world.”


Read and Watch:


Cultural Humility and HB2864: The institutional goals also serve as an accountability structure for responding to the State of Oregon’s HB2864 on Cultural Competence at Post-Secondary Institutions of Education, passed in 2017. For more information about HB2864 and the progress of our work, click here.

How Does Cultural Humility Relate to IDEAL and L.A.C.E.?

By encouraging each unit on campus to build a strategy for embedding inclusion, diversity, evaluation achievement and leadership, the IDEAL Framework focused on the “what” of  our campus wide work. 

Cultural Humility is an ongoing process that focuses on the “how” of the work calling each of us to deal with our own individual as well as interpersonal oppressive and harmful attitudes and actions as well as and our complicity with institutional and structural oppression.  In this sense, cultural humility goes beyond embedding diversity to disrupting the harm that oppression causes. It also includes the work of personal change and creating systems and structures that work for all.  L.A.C.E. is one mechanism that provides a step-by-step process for practicing cultural humility.