Diversity and Inclusion Committee

The purpose of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee is to evaluate, foster, and advance the WVU CED’s vision, mission, and core values in regards to cultural and linguistic competency, diversity, and inclusion.

Definition of Cultural and Linguistic Competence

Cultural competence requires that organizations:

  • have a defined set of values and principles, and demonstrate behaviors, attitudes, policies, and structures that enable them to work effectively cross-culturally,
  • have the capacity to (1) value diversity, (2) conduct self-assessment, (3) manage the dynamics of difference, (4) acquire and institutionalize cultural knowledge, and (5) adapt to the diversity and cultural contexts of the individuals, families, and communities they serve, and
  • incorporate the above in all aspects of policy making, administration, practice, service delivery and systematically involve consumers, families, and communities” (Cross, Bazron, Dennis, & Issacs, 1989).
  • "Linguistic competence is the capacity of an organization and its personnel to communicate effectively and convey information in a manner that is easily understood by diverse groups including persons of limited English proficiency, those who have low literacy skills or are not literate, individuals experiencing disabilities, and those who are deaf or hard of hearing" (Goode & Jones, 2006).

Cross, T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs, M. (1989). Towards a culturally competent system of care: A monograph on effective services for minority children who are severely emotionally disturbed (Vol. 1). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Child Development Center.

Goode, T. D., & Jones, W. A. (2006). Definition of linguistic competence. National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development.


Please contact any of the committee members with questions, concerns, or comments about cultural and linguistic competency or for more information on the committee.

  • photo of Courtney Lanham

    Courtney Lanham


    Courtney Lanham is the Training Specialist at the West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities since March 2017. She currently has interests in training of staff and community members with a focus on diversity and cultural competence.

  • photo of Nicholas Larson

    Nicholas Larson


    Nicholas Larson is a behavior specialist for the Center’s Positive Behavior Support Project. His professional interests include training professionals and caregivers in comprehensive, person-centered behavioral assessment and planning, and creative, community-based quality of life enhancements.

  • Roger May is the media resource specialist for the Center for Excellence in Disabilities. His professional interests include growing the presence of the Disability Resource Library and training service providers with a focus on central and rural Appalachian culture.

  • photo of Jessi Wright

    Jessi Wright


    Jessi Wright is the Principal Investigator for the for WV’s state assistive technology program, WVATS, which is located at the Center. Her professional interests include increasing WV resident’s awareness of assistive technology devices and services and expanding assistive technology services in the state.