Learning to encounter cultural differences through Fresno State master's program

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Embracing and learning about diversity is a topic growing at a rapid pace locally and statewide.

A Fresno State master's program is taking action to better prepare students to encounter cultural differences.

"Research is telling us that teachers are not prepared to work with linguistically and culturally diverse students and the communities, families they are working with," said Dr. Teresa Huerta.

Dr. Huerta says being prepared to address such issues can make all the difference for teachers and everyone.

"People who are in the business field who are interested in issues that have to do with language and culture."

The Masters of Art in Multilingual Multicultural Education at Fresno State is aiming to prepare those individuals better.

Dr. Huerta says they noticed the need to serve linguistically and culturally diverse populations in the Central Valley years ago and launched the program in 2013 with a small cohort of eight students. Since then, over 100 students have graduated.

"They go back with this understanding of the importance of being bilingual, being multicultural and the ability to be culturally component which is an important skill for the 21st century."

With the need growing amid a worldwide pandemic and sensitive social issues, Dr. Huerta hopes more people will learn about the program and is calling on school districts for help.

"Can they be willing to help one student, one person apply for the program?"

A program she says she has high hopes for.

"We truly believe that with time, we can make this is a worldwide program."

Seventeen students will be taking part in the cohort starting Fall 2021 at Fresno State. Dr. Huerta's goal is to increase that number and continue a new cohort in the South Valley campus.

Learn all you need to know about the program here: www.fresnostate.edu/mme
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