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Missouri Membership Coordinator

March 15, 2020 Jason Castles Maryville University of Saint Louis

Missouri Membership Coordinator

Missouri Membership Coordinator

Intercultural competence is vital to the work we do in higher education. Deardorff (2006) defined intercultural competence as being aware of, valuing, and understanding cultural differences. Moreover, intercultural competence entails the ability to be self-aware of one’s own culture and worldview and simultaneously the culture and worldview of others. We get to invest in students on a daily basis who all have a unique story and perspective. Personally, I want to continue to develop my intercultural competence so I can better serve my students. This development does not happen overnight, though, and requires intentionality. In order for me to ensure I purposefully seek to develop my own intercultural competence, I create goals for myself each semester. I would like to briefly share this process in case it is helpful to spur conversation and thoughtfulness around the important work of being inclusive educators.

The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) is a helpful resource I use in my professional and personal work related to diversity and inclusion. After completing the Inventory, participants receive a report and action plan developed by Hammer (2020). Through the action plan prompts, the desired outcome is to create goals related to further intercultural competence development. I find that if I do not set a goal for myself and revisit that goal often, then it will not happen.

I encourage you to consider setting at least one goal for yourself each semester related to intercultural competence development. What is something you can do to grow in your learning, understanding, and appreciation of cultural difference and similarity? Below are a few things to contemplate:

Is there an event you can attend on your campus and then write and reflect on your experience and what challenged your thinking? Check your student activities calendar and see what is available on your campus.

Is there a book you could read each semester and a small group you could discuss your thoughts related to the book? Reach out to a colleague at your institution or a fellow Region IV-W member.

Could you keep a journal of your thoughts when interacting with students from a different cultural background…what did you learn/were you challenged in a new way? Set a reminder on your calendar/phone at the end of each week so you remember to journal.

Reflection and writing are important components of intercultural competence growth and development. I encourage you to challenge yourself this year, and create at least one goal each semester. You will want to make sure it is something you are able to accomplish in the limited time you might have; you also want to think about how you will know you have accomplished your goal…what is your measure of success?

Each new semester brings new opportunities for students, faculty, and staff. My hope is one opportunity you take advantage of is learning with others about the diverse world in which we live.

References

Deardorff, D. K. (2006). Identification and assessment of intercultural competence as a student outcome of internationalization. Journal of Studies in International Education, 10(3), 241-266. doi:10.1177/1028315306287002

Hammer, M. R. (2020). The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI v3.). Berlin, MD: IDI.