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Volume 12, Edition 8: May 2013 *20 year Anniversary*

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IPC Offers Workshop on Intercultural Sensitivity for UNCG Faculty and Staff

By Emily Christiansen, Assistant Director of UNC Exchange Programs

On April 25, 2013, I attended “Intercultural Senstivity: Looking Through Other Eyes,” a workshop offered through the Essential Supervisor's Program (ESP) that helps faculty and staff increase their awareness of their own cultural background and heighten their intercultural sensitivity. The workshop is built around Milton Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS), a model of the development of one’s worldview structure. The DMIS explains how people, groups, or entire organizations tend to think and feel about diversity and cultural difference; provides the basis for matching coaching and development to the readiness of an individual or organization; and helps individuals and organizations work more effectively with people from other cultural backgrounds.

I decided to participate in this workshop because I felt that, being new to the field of international education, it would benefit me to have a greater awareness of my own intercultural sensitivity, which will help me as I work with both international students and international exchange partners. I am also personally interested in cultural differences, having traveled extensively in my life, and I plan to continue doing so. I feel that one gets a far richer experience traveling abroad if an effort is made to accommodate and even, when appropriate, acclimate to the culture of the country in which you are traveling.

The workshop was presented by Denise Bellamy (Director of Study Abroad & Exchange Programs) and Michael Elliott (Director of International Student & Scholar Services).Twelve faculty, staff, and students were in attendance. After everyone settled in, we participated in ice-breaker exercises to help us get to know one another before breaking into small groups. We were then asked to come up with our own definitions of culture, identify aspects of culture with the “Diversity Iceberg” exercise, and examine how we identify with various groups within our culture through the “Identity Molecule” exercise.

The group came back together for the “Eye of the Beholder” exercise in which we viewed photos depicting various situations from other cultures that might be foreign to us. We were asked to use the DIE model (describe, interpret, evaluate) to evaluate our reactions to various situations that might make us uncomfortable from a cultural standpoint but that may be common occurrences for members of the cultures portrayed.

All of the small and large group exercises led up to the introduction of Bennett’s DMIS, as well as the Intercultural Development Continuum (IDC) scale, refined by Mitchell Hammer, which helps people striving for greater intercultural sensitivity by guiding them through several stages.

Prior to attending the workshop, attendees had the opportunity to take the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) which was used to gauge where we, as a group, stand on the IDC. Our group profiles were available to us at the workshop, and Denise and Michael walked us through interpreting them. All attendees were encouraged to schedule an appointment with one of the trained IDI administrators at UNCG for an individual IDI profile session based on our individual profiles from the inventory.

I definitely plan to follow up and schedule my individual IDI profile session in an effort to continue progressing through the IDC, a lifelong developmental process that I know will benefit me both professionally and personally. With UNCG’s university-wide internationalization plan, along with the recently approved Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) topic of Global Engagement, I would recommend this workshop to any member of the UNCG community.

Calling all faculty and staff! Want to learn more about this and other workshops offered through IPC? Please contact us at ipc_desk@uncg.edu or call (336) 334-5404.

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