Answering Your FAQs about Facilitating Intercultural Learning

Aug 08, 2023

August means back-to-school for many of us in higher education. A new school year often brings new goals, new possibilities. What’s on your agenda this academic year? What are your hopes and dreams?

Would you like to increase your capacity and comfort navigating cultural differences? Want to learn to better integrate intercultural learning into your work? If so, I invite you to join Facilitating Intercultural Learning, a 12-week professional development program for higher education faculty and staff that helps you: (1) develop your own intercultural competence, and (2) learn how to design and facilitate intercultural learning, so that you can be a more inclusive educator and integrate intercultural learning into your courses, programming, or other work.

In this post, I’m answering some of the most frequently-asked questions about the program, to help you decide whether Facilitating Intercultural Learning can help you reach your intercultural teaching and learning goals.

Q:  How is the program structured? What does it include?

Facilitating Intercultural Learning is a cohort-based learning experience that takes a flipped-classroom approach, combining both synchronous and asynchronous learning. Nine modules are released, one per week, over twelve weeks (to accommodate participants’ busy lives, there are several weeks when there’s no new module). Each module contains several video lessons, Field Notes (a downloadable PDF with reflection questions and activities), and an Additional Resources section. You review and engage with those materials whenever convenient for you that week.

Following each module, we meet on Zoom for 90 minutes as a cohort for a group coaching call. This is an opportunity to discuss the content covered that week in small group breakout rooms, make connections to our lived experiences, and explore how we might integrate what we’re learning into our work as educators. Those calls are recorded so you can watch the replay of any you have to miss.

All participants complete the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)—one of the most widely-used and highly-regarded assessments of intercultural competence—and participate in a 1:1 debrief with an IDI Qualified Administrator. This is an opportunity to better understand your own strengths and challenges, both when navigating cultural differences and when working to foster others’ intercultural learning.

In addition, participants can engage with one another and the facilitator in a private online community forum, and access easy-to-use handouts and activities from the Intercultural Toolkit.

Q:  Who is this program for? Who participates?

The program is designed for educators working in or around higher education, including faculty and administrative staff. Every cohort is unique, but we typically have a number of faculty members from diverse disciplines—from library science to graphic design, biology, real estate, languages, health sciences, etc.—and staff from offices focused on international education, DEI work, human resources, career services, centers for teaching and learning, and more. The program also often attracts individuals who work at international high schools or other areas of educational exchange and experiential education, as well as independent intercultural consultants/trainers. Participants come from many countries, cultures, and backgrounds. The common thread is that everyone identifies as an educator in some way, and is committed to their own intercultural development and to helping others learn across cultures.

Q:  How big are the cohorts?

Cohorts are typically between 12-16 people, and are capped at a maximum of 20 participants. There are two cohorts offered each session to accommodate different time zones and schedules. When you register, you enroll in a specific cohort based on the time slot that works best for you for the synchronous group coaching calls.

Q:  How does this program compare with the IDI training?

I’m often asked how Facilitating Intercultural Learning compares to another popular professional development opportunity in the intercultural field, the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Qualifying Seminar. Many educators I talk with are wondering which program is the better fit for their needs, or they’d like to do both but aren’t sure which to do first. I’ve written a separate blog post to answer these questions. Click here to read that post.

Q:  What kind of time commitment is required?

I recommend planning to invest approximately 3-4 hours in your own learning and growth each week during the 12-week program, including the synchronous and asynchronous components. Of course, how much time you dedicate is largely up to you. The more you commit to practicing and applying the learning in your own life and engaging with the learning community, the more you will get out of the program.

Note, however, that this program was created with busy educators in mind. There are several implementation weeks built in when there’s no new content. This gives you time to focus on other things or play catch-up as needed. In addition, you have access to the modules for a full year from the start of your session, so you can revisit the material later if needed.

Also, keep in mind that if you would like to integrate intercultural learning into your courses, programming, or another aspect of your work, this program is designed to help you do that with greater ease. You’ll learn a framework for intercultural learning that will help you identify learning objectives and backward design your program or course around those objectives. And you’ll have a toolkit of activities at the ready. So you could actually save time compared to going it on your own and perhaps getting lost down a Google rabbit hole!

Q:  How often is the program offered and when? Is it offered in summer?

Public cohorts are currently offered each spring and fall semester, typically starting in September and again in late January or early February. We’re now enrolling for the Fall 2023 session, which begins September 12th.

Facilitating Intercultural Learning is not usually offered in summer. However, private cohorts are also available for groups of approximately 10-30 educators. They can be scheduled any time of year. Schedule a strategy call to learn more about private cohorts.

Q:  Do I receive a certification? Can I earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs)?

Yes, upon successful completion of the program, you are awarded a Certificate in Facilitating Intercultural Learning from True North Intercultural. You can also earn 32 Professional Development Hours (3.2 CEUs) for your participation, but will need to check with your local continuing education committee to ensure that this program will be approved.

Q:  Can our institution or organization enroll a group of people?

Yes, absolutely! It is not only welcomed, but encouraged, as this helps develop shared language and frameworks to support intercultural teaching and learning efforts at your institution.

There is a group rate ($2,000/person) whenever three or more individuals from an institution enroll in the same session. The group rate may also be granted when an institution commits to enrolling a number of educators over multiple sessions. For an example, see this case study from Drake University.

If you're looking to develop the intercultural capacity of a larger group of educators, private cohorts are available as well. Schedule a strategy call to discuss which option might be best for your institution.

Q: What’s the cost? Are there any discounts? Tips for securing funding?

The regular rate is US$2,500. Groups of three or more people from the same institution or organization qualify for a group rate of US$2,000/person.

I’ve written a separate blog post with ideas and tips for anyone looking to secure professional development funds to participate in the program. You can read that blog here.

Q:  What are the next steps if I want to join or learn more about whether it’s a good fit?

You can learn all about the program on the Facilitating Intercultural Learning page. Then schedule a call to ensure the program is a good fit and discuss next steps to enroll.

Photo credit: Camylla Battan, Unsplash

Join the Conversation!

Enjoying the blog? You’re invited to join me and an amazing group of higher education professionals committed to fostering intercultural learning at the next Intercultural Leadership Forum! You'll have a chance to connect with others doing this work and gain new insights as you move toward your intercultural goals.