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Re: Staff training on cross cultural issues

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  • George Thomas
    Thanks, Dianne. To your comment re. new-age independent invention of old, old anthropological concepts: This reads more like a watered-down, generalized
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 19 7:23 PM
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      Thanks, Dianne.
      To your comment re. new-age independent invention of old, old anthropological concepts:
      This reads more like a watered-down, generalized departmental policy notice than a re-invention of the anthropology wheel. Examples of such re-invention have included faculties of multicultural studies, comprised of sociologists, education faculty, ethnic studies and others who either wittingly or unwittingly make reference to old anthropological concepts while implying that the concepts are new. Statements to the effect that academic studies have never been made of matters anthropological, suggest sloppy scholarship.  The NISOD blurb makes no reference to any specific field, and doesn't seem to imply any righting-of-wrongs on some NISOD white horse. 
      Such things used to be cross-listed pretty accurately, and people used to share anthro/sociol/psych/social work/educational/etc. concepts, albeit a bit grudgingly.  I found a political science reference once that cited an outmoded pronouncement by Durkheim (I've forgotten which one) as an example of anthropology, and then proceeded to discuss the inadequacy of anthropology on that basis.
      The disconnect today seems to have something to do with disagreements over how and whether to advocate politically, and the need for folks to be "activists."  (Some have even pointed out that the decision to remain "apolitical" is itself a political decision....) 
      We all recognize this as a bit of a mess for one reason or another, and tied up in whether academics can engage in public relations.
      Thanks again.  I think the NISOD piece does illustrate some kind of watering-down, if not quite a dumbing-down.  Reduction of anthropology to some bureaucratic cook-book fact sheet can seem frustrating without a lot of explanation behind it.  That explanation seems to have been beyond the writers' scope of work or even job description, but who knows?  It could be useful as a first-lecture guide, with the instructor and class engaging in basic critique.
      Re: Staff training on cross cultural issues
          Posted by: "dianne.chidester@..." dianne.chidester@...
          Date: Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:21 am ((PST))

      The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD)
      * Community College Leadership Program

      Department of Educational Administration * College of Education, The
      University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, D5600, Austin, TX

      Preparing Students for a

      Global Economy

      According to an ancient Chinese tale, once there

      was a frog that lived at the bottom of a shallow well.

      The extent of the frog's world was defined by what he

      could see by looking up at the sky. This frog's world

      was a small circle or slice of life; he had no awareness or

      knowledge of what lay beyond the scope of his vision.

      How many of our students are "frogs in the well?" And

      what are we doing as educators to push them up and

      out of their wells? Finally, are we providing them with

      the toolbox of skills they absolutely need to excel in a

      multicultural, global environment?

      Recently, I heard a statistic that spoke to the

      demographics that continue to shape our local and

      global identities, relationships, and perspectives. In

      the U.S., 2010 could be a demographic "tipping point."

      This year, the number of babies born to racial and

      ethnic minorities is likely to outnumber babies born to

      Whites. What is emerging is a cultural generation gap,

      in which the young are becoming much more racially

      and ethnically diverse than the old. This points to a

      cultural landscape that seems foreign to many, yet is

      becoming the norm in our classrooms and communities.

      For example, data from the Census Bureau show

      that some of the most common names in the U.S. are

      Garcia, Rodriquez, and Martinez, along with Smith,

      Johnson, and Wilson. Buying power for racial and ethnic

      minorities is increasing much faster than that of whites.

      And these trends cannot be analyzed apart from our

      growing global interdependence.

      Earlier this year, a survey by the American Association

      of Colleges and Universities asked employers to identify

      "essential learning outcomes" that are not getting the

      attention they deserve in higher education. At the top of

      their list were knowledge and skills related to cultural

      diversity and global issues. Moreover, employers

      emphasized that they need employees who can work

      together and problem-solve on diverse teams.

      The glaring gap between the cultural intelligence of

      our students and the global, rapidly changing cultural

      landscape they encounter in the workplace is a growing

      concern. Increasingly, employers, including businesses,

      government agencies, healthcare institutions, and the

      military, are placing more and more emphasis on the

      potential challenges and benefits of diversity. Why is

      diversity such a priority when organizations evaluate

      their marketing strategies, suppliers, training programs,

      hires, and core values? Simply put, it is because they

      understand the connection between diversity and their

      bottom line. Moreover, they realize that diversity, in

      and of itself, will not allow them to be more creative,

      productive, customer-oriented, and marketable

      automatically. Rather, cultural differences represent

      potential that can only be developed and leveraged if

      their employees have the requisite cultural intelligence.

      In Building Cultural Intelligence (CQ): Nine Megaskills,

      the author expounds on a skill-set that employers regard

      as a necessity, regardless of one's major or chosen career.

      In addition to technical competence, the following

      megaskills are no longer an "extra" or nice thing to

      have; rather, they have become a necessity.

      1. Understanding My Cultural Identity-

      understanding how we think about ourselves as

      well as the people and ways of life with which

      we identify

      2. Checking Cultural Lenses-recognizing the ways in

      which cultural backgrounds differ and how they

      influence thinking, behavior, and assumptions

      3. Global Consciousness-moving comfortably across

      boundaries and seeing the world from multiple

      perspectives and world views

      4. Shifting Perspectives-putting ourselves in the

      circumstances, cultures, and histories of others

      5. Managing Cross-Cultural Conflict-dealing with

      conflict among people from differing cultural

      backgrounds in a productive and constructive


      6. Dealing with Bias-recognizing bias in all its

      forms and responding to it effectively

      7. Understanding the Dynamics of Power-grasping

      how power and culture interrelate and the effect

      of power on how we see the world and relate to others

      8. Intercultural Communication-respectfully and

      effectively exchanging ideas and feelings across

      cultural boundaries

      9. Multicultural Teaming-working with others from

      diverse backgrounds to accomplish common goals

      for which team members hold themselves accountable

      How do we make it possible for students to develop

      this skill set? First, we need to target all students in all

      fields of study throughout their college experience.

      We can accomplish this in a variety of ways. Infusing

      relevant CQ megaskills across the curriculum is an

      excellent place to start. As an example, students in

      hospitality management must learn to collaborate and

      communicate cross-culturally in highly diverse settings.

      Servicing people with disabilities, managing people who

      are English language learners, and accommodating the

      needs of customers with diverse religious backgrounds

      are critical skills that need to be seamlessly integrated

      into this curriculum.

      At many colleges, learning communities organize

      around themes such as linguistic diversity, cross-cultural

      leadership, and global consciousness. By offering a wide

      range of learning communities, online and face-to-face,

      in residential settings, classrooms and beyond, colleges

      provide the "authentic space" students need to dialogue

      openly and honestly with each other and, in the process,

      learn more about their differences and commonalities.

      Such dialogues can teach students invaluable lessons

      about their upbringing and the cultural lens through

      which they view the world. More specifically, learning

      communities can heighten students' awareness of

      bias and other socially constructed barriers that make

      leadership, interpersonal interaction, and global

      consciousness more difficult. Furthermore, diverse

      learning communities can make it possible for students

      to experience what it is like being a minority or a cultural

      outsider for a prolonged period of time. In so doing,

      they emerge from their "wells," question cultural truths,

      and become more comfortable outside of their cultural

      comfort zone.

      By offering service learning, along with cultural

      immersion programs and study abroad, we provide

      students with invaluable opportunities to apply CQ

      megaskills in real-world settings. For instance, nursing

      students at one mid-western college learn to shift

      perspectives and think globally as they complete servicelearning

      projects with international communities.

      Moreover, pre- and post-test assessments measure their

      personal growth.

      Increasingly, requirements are in place at many

      institutions, ensuring exposure of all students to

      U.S. and/or global diversity, including scholarship

      on minorities, women, and world cultures. Equally

      important are faculty development programs that focus

      on integrative studies, new curricular models, and the

      cultural inclusiveness of what is taught and how it is


      The success of initiatives to promote cultural

      intelligence hinges largely on the diversity and

      inclusiveness of the college community. The recruitment

      and retention of a culturally diverse population of

      faculty, staff, and students must be institutionalized

      and ongoing, along with the nurturing of partnerships

      with local and global communities. Strong institutional

      commitment and leadership are pivotal, moving far

      beyond food, festivals, flags, and public relations.

      Initiatives must be integrated and college-wide,

      and include learning outcomes and assessment,

      developmental education and first-year programs,

      faculty and staff development, student activities, and

      organizational partnerships.

      Richard D. Bucher, Professor, Sociology

      For further information contact the author at Baltimore

      City Community College, 2901 Liberty Heights Ave.,

      Baltimore, MD 21215. Email: rbucher@...

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