Kate Hellmann, Associate Director, Office of International Programs, firstname.lastname@example.org
History of Collaboration
As a large institution, different offices championed and facilitated international, diversity, and multicultural activities for students, faculty, and staff at Washington State University (WSU). Though the university has a strong commitment to both areas as demonstrated through articulation in university plans and through staff and human resource allocation, collaboration between these units was not well established.
Catalyst for Advancing Collaborative Efforts
The catalyst for advancing collaborative efforts between multicultural and international education at WSU was the acute consciousness of the state’s global economic connections in the agriculture and technology sectors, and through its multinational industries. Additionally, there are burgeoning Latino and Asian populations, both domestic and foreign-born, which bring the challenges and benefits of internationalization into the forefront of their local communities. In the face of this demographic shift, the institution sought to ensure that students and faculty would be able to reap the benefits of such global diversity on the campus and not retreat to monocultural enclaves which might have negative implications for cross-cultural engagements, as well as for teaching and learning at the institution.
WSU sought to synergize global learning outcomes across its different programs so students could gain the skills appropriate for working in a global and diverse society.
The following were undertaken:
- Developed a working group called the Global Cultural Diversity Group to explore opportunities for collaboration.
- Performed a campus audit exercise to identify areas in the curriculum and co-curriculum where synergy already existed or where the possibility for collaborative programming would be mutually beneficial.
- Conducted a series of community dialogues to increase community awareness and to improve the campus climate around the issues of international and domestic diversity.
- Developed student learning outcomes, mapped against WSU’s learning goals for the baccalaureate, and developed assessment measures.
- Understand connections that can be made from historical, cultural, economic, and political contexts that shape society and reflect global systems.
- Demonstrate knowledge of and be sensitive to others’ differing identities and values across cultures.
- Apply intercultural communication skills to interact effectively with individuals and in groups.
- Interact respectfully and responsibly across boundaries in diverse environments.
Assessment tool: Global Perspectives Inventory
The biggest impact at WSU was a better understanding of what each area—those working in diversity and international initiatives—was doing as a result of the Global Cultural Diversity (GCD) working group. This increased knowledge lent itself to leveraging opportunities for collaboration. One result of this collaboration was the first annual Humanitas Festival in the fall of 2013, which celebrated world cultures through the arts.
Sustaining Efforts and Next Steps
A proposal to assess global competencies across campus was put together by the GCD working group in August of 2013. After receiving feedback from the WSU Office of the Provost, the GCD group is now reworking the proposal and will resubmit it to WSU’s administration in hopes of beginning assessment in 2014. The tool chosen for assessment was the Global Perspectives Inventory.