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SPCL 7922 Multicultural Counseling & Consultation in Schools: ASSIGNMENTS & RUBRICS

Open Educational Resource (OER) created for Professor Elizalde-Utnick's SPCL 7922 course.


This website is a critical part of this course, both as a learning platform and as the site to obtain the readings, videos, and course information (both included and not included in the syllabus). Students are expected to engage in a multi-level process of critical self-reflection, an important component of multicultural competence and cultural humility development. Each session link is filled with resources, and students are encouraged to preview the class material prior to each session and then review the material after each class. The learning process is cumulative, with each session integrating the content from earlier sessions. The readings are posted in the Bibliography section but also linked in each class session. Quiz questions are generated from the content of the assigned readings posted on this website. The website is intended to optimize the learning process, and the instructor looks forward to your feedback.


Students are required to keep up to date on class readings and assignments, and to be active team members. If students miss a class, they miss whatever their team did. The team process is critical to learning, and the content of each session will be reflected on the midterm and final exams. Most teams, in real life and here, will forgive a single absence for which students have a really good reason, and be less forgiving of multiple or casual absences. More than one absence and/or tardiness will affect the course grade (two points per absence and one point for lateness). Attendance is taken at the beginning of class, and it is expected that all students will be present at the start of class.  Brooklyn College abides to the state law regarding non-attendance because of religious beliefs. If you are unable to attend class due to religious reasons, please notify the professor in advance to make the necessary arrangements.

Midterm & Final Participation Self-Assessment:

Twice during the semester, at the midpoint and at the end, students assess their level of class participation using the following Class Participation Rubric. Students evaluate their own level of participation and award points out of 100 using the criteria described below. This will be completed using a google form; the link to the form is posted on Blackboard in the Assignments link.



Consistently raises or facilitates discussion with peers in every class meeting. Engages in integrative and higher order thinking in relation to the readings (e.g., integrates two or more pieces of information in the readings, integrates experience with readings, poses hypotheticals for the group based on readings).


Respectful attention to others’ contributions; periodically (at least every other class meeting) shares comments on at least one topic discussed in readings and demonstrates understanding and relevance to classroom discussion. 


Consistently present in class; attends and responds to others’ contributions at personal level of experience, but does not participate in classroom discussions


Consistently present in class; makes no contribution to discussion; unresponsive to or argumentative with others

Less than 45


Midterm Self-Assessment Due: Sunday, October 30

Final Self-Assessment Due: Monday, December 19


Each student will evaluate the contributions of all the other team members by completing a midterm peer evaluation using a google form link on Blackboard. The results will be disseminated anonymously to all team members by Prof. Elizalde-Utnick. The purpose of this evaluation is to give feedback to each team member to maximize team accountability.

DUE: Sunday, October 30


At the end of the term, it is necessary for all members of this class to assess the contributions that each member of the team made to the work of the team.  You will divide 100 points between your teammates based on the contributions they made to the team throughout the semester. This contribution should presumably reflect your judgment of such things as: 1) Preparation (were they prepared when they came to class?); 2) Contribution (did they contribute productively to group discussion and work?); 3) Respect of others' ideas (did they encourage others to contribute their ideas?); and 4) Flexibility (were they flexible when disagreements occurred?). It is important that you raise the evaluation of people who truly worked hard for the good of the group and lower the evaluation of those you perceived not to be working as hard on group tasks. Students will submit their final peer evaluation via a google form link on Blackboard.

DUE: Monday, DECEMBER 19


Instead of cumulative exams, there are weekly quizzes (i.e., RATs, aka Readiness Assurance Tests) designed to assess your completion and basic understanding of the assigned readings (and videos, podcasts, etc.). Each in-person class session will begin with a 5-question quiz, first taken individually (iRAT) and then together as a team (tRAT). Please see Home page for more information on the TBL RAT process. The lowest two RAT scores will be dropped; there are no make-ups for missed RATs.


Students are expected to engage in a multi-level process of critical self-reflection, an important component of multicultural competence development. One effective strategy is e-journaling which allows for a deeper level of processing the course constructs. Asynchronous journaling gives students an opportunity to provide their thoughts, concerns, and opinions in a setting that they might feel more comfortable doing so in comparison to the Zoom sessions and discussion board forums. The instructor will provide feedback and can address any concerns that arise during this self-reflection process. Students should refer to the course outline and OER website for more details regarding topics and due dates. A scoring rubric is attached below.


Watch Episode 3, The House We Live In of the film series, Race: The Power of An Illusion

From off campus, viewers will be prompted to log in with their CUNY credentials:

Please note: There’s a login button in the upper right of the Kanopy page. Everyone should ignore that. Just log in when prompted by the Brooklyn College/CUNY proxy.

For your reflection paper, integrate each of the following questions. You should review the rubric before writing this paper.

1. Who was allowed to become a naturalized citizen before 1954 and who wasn’t? What rights and privileges do citizens have that non-citizens don't have? What were the consequences for those denied citizenship?

2. How did European “ethnics” become white? What changes made this possible?

3. How did federal housing policies institutionalize segregation and wealth disparities?

4. Why do property values go down when a neighborhood changes from white to nonwhite? Who plays a role in this?

5. What happens to measures of racial disparities in places like education and welfare rates when groups of similar income AND wealth are compared?

6. The film shows how government policies have created unfair advantages for whites in the past, resulting in a substantial wealth gap between whites and nonwhites. What examples of disparity exist in the community you grew up in and in the community you live in today? Will the wealth gap go away if we ignore race?

7. Central to the concept of the American Dream is the notion that anyone who works hard enough will be rewarded—that anyone can “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” How has this been made more difficult for people not defined as white? What is the long-term impact of that denial? What difference does access to financial resources make in terms of your life opportunities?

8. Given that race isn’t biological, should we get rid of racial categories? Why might racial classifications still be useful? If we stop tracking racial information, how will we tell if disparities still exist?

9. Critically reflect on this assignment. What were your thoughts and feelings as you watched the video?


DUE: Sunday, September 25


For this assignment, students explore their racial identity development. Because most racial identity development theories are conceptually built around privileged racial identity (white) and marginalized racial identity (people of color), for this assignment students will use one of the following models:

In your integrated reflection paper, please incorporate your responses to all of the following questions:

  1. How do you identify when it comes to race?
  2. What did your family teach you about race (explicitly and/or implicitly)? Give examples.
  3. What did you learn about race from your school/community?  Give examples.
  4. Is your race/ racial identity a source of privilege or marginalization for you?  Or does it depend on your context on any given moment? How so?
  5. How important is this identity in your life?  Is there an area of your life when this identity becomes more/less salient/important? Why?
  6. Using the racial identity development theory that fits your racial identification, describe your life experiences (give examples) as you moved along each of the stages. Which stage were you in during your teenage years?  Why?  Give examples.  Which stage are you in right now? Give examples. Do you remember any significant shifts in developmental stages of this identity? How is this course impacting your racial identity development? Give examples.

Students should review the grading rubric prior to writing their paper.


This critical reflective writing activity requires students to explore self in relation to attitudes and beliefs, and develop knowledge about personal cultural identity, development, and worldview (including key personal values). Students will address the impact of personal values, cultural identity, family history, and current lifestyle on current sense of self, their future work as school psychologists, and their ability to work with different groups in counseling. Use all your course experiences to date (readings, other course materials, class dialogues, etc.) to inform your work on this project. Also, use the specific resources and prompts listed below as a guide for your personal cultural review and reflection.

Each prompt is to be integrated in your essay. You are encouraged to utilize creativity, thoughtfulness, and intention in discussing your intersectionality and cultural identity.

1. How do you identify culturally? Include the identities (e.g., woman) and identity intersections (e.g., low income, queer, Chinese woman) you view as most salient and describe why these are most salient for you.

2. When you look at a photograph of yourself, what do you think others see in terms of your cultural (e.g., ethnicity, race) background based purely on your physical features? What do you see about yourself?

3. Describe yourself in terms of each component of the ADDRESSING Framework. In what areas do you hold privilege? In what areas do you experience marginalization? How does intersectionality impact your experiences with privilege and oppression?

4. When did you recall learning that you were male or female? How did you learn this? What gender assumptions/biases are common in your cultural and family group?

5. When do you remember learning what your sexual orientation is and how did you learn this? How is sexual orientation regarded in your cultural group? How did your family help shape your attitudes about sexual orientation?

6. When did you find out what religion your family practiced, if any? How did your family feel about people who had a different religion? Did you have similar feelings? How would you describe your current religion/spiritual orientation?

7. What were you taught about your family’s socioeconomic status throughout your life? Was social class (yours or others) openly discussed, observed, assumed, etc.? Did you often interact with those whose SES background differed from your own? Describe a critical incident that made you aware of your social class.

8. How often did your family talk about your ethnic/racial heritage and in what context? Discuss what messages (verbal and nonverbal) you received about your cultural or ethnic background and what childhood experiences reinforce them. What messages did you receive about other cultural or ethnic groups?

9. Discuss your earliest recollections of learning that people are “different.” Discuss how you realized you or others were “different” and how it impacted you. Describe the childhood and adolescent experiences or relationships that shaped your view of people who are culturally different than you. What is your current view of people who are culturally different than you? Describe some experiences that may have influenced you to change the way that you view people who are culturally different than you.

10. How did you first come to understand that racism existed? What did you learn from this experience?

11. What cultural values do you currently hold? Are they similar to or different than those of your family? Which of these values will be different from the common values of other cultural groups?

12. What has been the major source of information that has shaped your perceptions of different groups of people? How have these values impacted your worldview?

13. What biases are you currently aware of? How do you plan to manage your biases when working with your clients/students?

14. What cultural/racial groups do you think that you will have the most difficulty working with? The least difficulty? Why?

15. What are the implications of these answers for your work with clients from both similar and dissimilar cultural backgrounds? With clients in which you might have the most difficulty working with, what are your plans to prepare for working with them? Describe your strategies and plan for advocacy and anti-bias work that you plan to engage in.

You should review the rubric before you write your paper. The paper will vary in length based on an individual’s personal history and experiences; however, this assignment is considered a comprehensive personal review and reflection. Your writing will be evaluated for its reflective nature and your shared understanding of multiple cultural elements, characteristics, and dynamics included in this course.

DUE: Sunday, November 20


Films can help foster growth in students’ multicultural competencies. This project will help students apply the theoretical and applied constructs learned in this course to a virtual culturally diverse client based on the chosen film.

It is recommended that students preview the film in order to make the best choice for their multicultural competence learning.

Students should review the rubric prior to writing this paper. It is best to structure your paper using headings that are listed in the rubric: Background Description; Case Selection Variables & Counseling Concerns; Personal Strengths & Weaknesses; Multicultural Counseling Strategies; Self-Reflection. Each prompt is to be integrated in your narrative, under each appropriate heading.

Step-by-Step Procedure for Film Case Conceptualization:

1. Choose a movie from the list provided and clearly state the name of the film in your paper. (If interested in movies not listed, consult the instructor for permission.)

2. Select a character who could have experienced the most intense challenges or situations.

3. Pretend the character is your counseling client.

4. Specify the demographics of the client (i.e., using the ADDRESSING Framework). If some of the details of the demographics are vague in the film, give a rough estimate (e.g., middle age) based on your professional judgment.

5. Describe your reasons for choosing the person as a client.

6. Elaborate what issues or concerns the client could encounter. The client’s demographics should be factored in.

7. Analyze the client’s racial/cultural identity development (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. as pertinent to the case) based on appropriate model(s) addressed in class and in readings. Identify which stage the client might be experiencing. Explain why it is not any other stage or status.

8. In relation to this client, examine your personal strengths and weaknesses (due to any personal demographics, developmental stage of racial/cultural identity, motives, values, assumptions, preconceived notions, biases, any of the -isms addressed in class). Examine how and why your strengths and weaknesses could affect the service for the chosen client.

9. Describe multicultural counseling strategies you would utilize in your sessions with this client, based on the readings and class session content.

10. Examine how and why your strengths and weaknesses could affect the service you provide to this client.

11. Reflect on this assignment. How did this assignment impact on your learning? What aspects of this assignment were challenging? What aspects were helpful? What did you enjoy the most about it? The least? What suggestions do you have for other films and for this assignment?

This assignment is excerpted/adapted from: Shen, Y.-J. (2015). Cultivating multiculturally competent counselors through movies. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 10, 232-246. DOE: 10.1080/15401383.2014.959679.

Films: Always Be My Maybe; American Son; Amistad; American History X; American Son; Amreeka; Antwone Fisher; Big Time Adolescence; Black or White; Boys Don’t Cry; Boyz n the Hood; Crash; El Norte; Freedom Riders; Freedom Writers; Gattaca; Higher Learning; Hue: A Matter of Colour; Incendies; Just Mercy; Love, Simon; Mi Familia/My Family; Minari; Moonlight; My Flesh and Blood; My Life in Pink (Ma Vie en Rose); Off and Running; Pariah, Saving Face; Schindler’s List; Selma; Stateless; The Abominable Crime; The Hate U Give; The Namesake; The Wedding Banquet; This Is Us; Towelhead; Trembling Before G-d; When They See Us; Years and Years.

DUE: Sunday, December 18