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Sept. 8, 2009
The Office of Intercultural Affairs is currently accepting applications from faculty, staff and members of the Maryville community wishing to enroll in Intercultural U, a 20 clock-hour certification program designed to prepare participants as intercultural/diversity peer trainers and facilitators.
Intercultural U will consist of 12 90-minute to two-hour sessions scheduled between Sept. 29 and Dec. 16 at various locations in the J.W. Jones Student Union.
The first two sessions on Sept. 29 and Oct. 1 will comprise a "foundational retreat." Subsequent gatherings will seek to define and explore intercultural competencies, such as factors affecting retention and graduation of underrepresented students, the mediation of intercultural conflicts and the design of developmental intercultural training.
Intercultural Affairs Director Ame Lambert said the program's extended format is necessary because intercultural awareness is too large and complex an issue to cover during a brief workshop lasting only one to two sessions.
"If we look at intercultural competence in the way that we should -- as a critical competency -- then we have to recognize that a two-hour training session is insufficient," Lambert said. "In order to create the knowledge base and create the skills, we are going to have to invest the time."
The program is open to all interested members of the University and local communities. In addition, department chairs and other campus leaders are encouraged to recommend select faculty and staff for participation.
Certification requires a minimum 16 hours of training out of the 20-plus hours offered, and Lambert emphasized that the two-part foundational retreat is an especially critical component. Instruction will be provided by Northwest Intercultural and International Center staff members and other presenters versed in intercultural foundations, concepts and processes.
"The critical goals of the program will be to develop a working definition of what intercultural competence is and to develop a paradigm for an approach to intercultural competence," Lambert said. "We need to understand how culture affects our decisions and how other cultures differ from us. Then we need to understand how, when it's necessary, we can adjust our behavior."
The result, Lambert believes, will be a more inclusive campus environment in which students and others learn to work well in a variety of intercultural and international settings with people from differing backgrounds. She's also hoping Intercultural U participants will become accomplished enough to share what they've learned with colleagues and peers.
"A person who goes through this and is certified will be able to have conversations, provide basic training and serve as an intercultural champion in their own department," Lambert said.
For more information about Intercultural U at Northwest, or to register, go to http://www.nwmissouri.edu/iic/intercultural/u/index.htm .
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468