Universities face a raft of global challenges today that relate to intercultural competence.
Unprepared for Global Workplaces
Many campuses have an institutional learning objective focused on preparing students for a global world that has to be assessed for accreditation purposes. Not all universities have the skill set or experience required to efficiently and effectively prepare students for a global workplace.
Building Intercultural Skills
In order for students to take full advantage of the cultural and ethnic diversity usually found on university campuses, both students and faculty need some basic intercultural skills, such as removing judgmental attitudes, tolerance, self awareness, curiosity, global mindset, emotional resilience, and an interest in forming relationships with people who are different from them. A quick look at the university cafeteria tells us that both U.S. Americans and international students are socializing primarily with people who look just like them.
Effectively Integrating Global Students
Some universities have recently increased the number of international students to diversify their funding sources. This is no guarantee, however, that they are devoting the effort and resources needed to integrate large numbers of students from the same country. Preparing and integrating study abroad students should be an important priority for both local students sent abroad and international study abroad students who expect a positive immersion experience.
How To Face Global Challenges Head On
Developed in response to university demand for a short, inexpensive but rigorous instrument, the Kozai Group developed the perfect solution to help universities address all these challenges – the Intercultural Effectiveness Scale (IES). The IES measures how well we handle any type of difference – be it cultural, ethnic, religious, political, occupational, etc.
The IES is used successfully by many universities as a pre- and post-measure to easily assess learning objectives and start students on their developmental journey to intercultural competence or global leadership. Many universities employ the IES, and sometimes its larger cousin, the Global Competency Inventory, with students and faculty to prepare them for global experiences.
The IES not only increases self-awareness; its a self-study packet also provides a template to guide students through a personal development plan process. As a result, students can readily talk with future employers about their strengths and weaknesses and their success in self-development, which enhances their employability.