Building a University-wide Agenda for Intercultural Competence and Understanding: Lessons Learned at the University of Minnesota
Furthering intercultural competence in higher education requires colleges and universities to establish an intentional, mission driven strategic plan that embeds intercultural understanding and practice across the institution’s work. To secure broad-based buy-in and support, this plan needs to consider the various ways that different units within the academy define, interpret, and view intercultural work. For large, complex and multi-faceted colleges and universities, building this plan can prove daunting as different parts of the institution will ascribe different meanings, purposes, and intentions to intercultural advancement.
In this paper, administrators from the University of Minnesota, who represent units that are highly engaged in intercultural competence work, share some of their struggles and lessons learned in their effort to build a comprehensive, campus-wide strategy to grow intercultural advancement. The administrators initiated this campus-wide strategic work following their participation in an international conference focused on intercultural competence. Since that time, they have developed recommendations for the foundational work required to establish a common university-wide framework and comprehensive plan for institutional intercultural advancement.