Fostering Intercultural Learning with Limited Resources

Apr 13, 2021


Lately, in my conversations with educators, I’ve noticed a theme—a growing tension.

On the one hand, this past year has drastically increased understanding that we need to more intentionally foster intercultural learning in all areas of higher education, not just through education abroad, but on our campuses as well.

On the other hand, a year of COVID has drastically reduced resources at most higher education institutions. International education positions have been cut, for example, leaving fewer people now being asked to do more. In many cases, the result is that staffing has been reduced and may not return for the foreseeable future.

So how do we effectively foster intercultural learning on our campuses in a landscape of diminished resources?!

My suggestion is to focus on providing intercultural professional development for faculty and staff, which is useful for several reasons:

  • Developing intercultural competence helps faculty and staff do their work in more inclusive, culturally-responsive ways—whether that work is teaching, leading, advising, or providing administrative support.
  • Each faculty and staff member interacts with and can impact hundreds—if not thousands—of students per year. When you invest directly in a student's intercultural development, you impact that student. When you invest directly in the development of a faculty or staff member, they can positively impact countless students, as well as colleagues and community members, further developing in the process and continuing to be a positive influence for years to come. 
  • There’s often an assumption that faculty and staff—especially those with international or intercultural experience—are interculturally competent. However, intercultural competence isn’t developed through experience alone, and most faculty and staff haven’t received the opportunities or tools needed to develop in this way.
  • Providing such training to faculty and staff across campus helps shift the focus from intercultural learning as the responsibility of one or two offices, to seeing it as a campus-wide responsibility. This is critical to effectively foster widespread intercultural learning, and especially so in a time when many campuses are reduced to one-person international education offices.

I know what you may be thinking—how is providing such training possible with limited resources?

True North Intercultural is committed to providing high-quality professional development focused on intercultural learning and teaching, specifically designed for higher education faculty and staff, at a variety of price points.

Our newest online offering, Navigating Cultural Differences, has become especially popular lately because of its ability to help universities address this tension of wanting to provide intercultural training for faculty and staff while working with a limited budget.

Navigating Cultural Differences is a self-paced online course for faculty and staff who want to become more interculturally competent educators. It contains six modules, which are released over the course of six weeks. The regular rate is just $297, and significant discounts are available for institutions buying in bulk, making it highly affordable and virtually no work for the coordinating office.

For more information about Navigating Cultural Differences, rates, and how to purchase the course for individuals or small groups, click below:

Click here to learn more about the Navigating Cultural Differences online course

If you’re a higher education leader who would like to discuss purchasing course licenses in bulk (for 10+ employees), or explore other ways True North Intercultural can help your institution or department meet your intercultural goals during these challenging times, click here to book a free strategy call


Photo credit: Tim Mossholder, Unsplash

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