On a rainy afternoon of Friday, September 5th, the International Programs department hosted the first ever Global Service Award Reception. In attendance at Linn Hall were most of the global service awardees, the International Programs staff, a few Study Abroad Faculty Leaders, President Mick Starcevich, and other supporters of the awards, including KCELT.
The Global Service Awards are a unique opportunity for Kirkwood employees to have a global experience and participate in community service in a global setting. The vision of International Programs is that everyone at Kirkwood, including faculty, staff, and students, have an intercultural experience. This is a very special way of making that happen. The reception was planned to honor those who have participated, to allow some reflection time on what the awardees experienced, to allow the attendees to meet each other and reflect together, to provide a forum to prospective Global Service Awardees considering the experience to hear about the programs, and to collect information about the impact the awardees’ experiences have had on their roles at Kirkwood.
KCELT and International Programs have recently partnered to integrate the global learning achieved by Kirkwood Global Service Awardees into the fabric of the Kirkwood community. We are developing concrete plans to facilitate the integration of the experience. Our faculty’s experiences abroad help achieve one of the goals of KCELT’s Culturally Responsive Classroom, developing the intercultural competence of our faculty. Their experiences help provide them with an international worldview, which in turn helps them to understand wider intercultural contexts, such as demographic movement, intergroup differentiation, and globalization (Coulby, 2006).
In order to best serve our faculty, KCELT and International Programs developed an informal survey, which the awardees discussed in small groups, to catch a glimpse of what our faculty gained out of their experiences pertaining to better understanding Kirkwood’s students who come from different backgrounds than the faculty. This includes both international students and our underrepresented minority students.
Many commented on they were better able to empathize with our students in terms of understanding the processes of culture shock and language learning, and knowing what it feels like to be the minority. They also discussed how their experiences helped them adjust their teaching in the classroom, especially when it came to patience, respect, and helping reduce cultural and language barriers. Nearly all of the participants suggested that Kirkwood should host receptions like this more often, and many of the participants expressed an interest in sharing their experiences to help other faculty become Global Service Awardees or Study Abroad Faculty Leaders.
If you are interested in these opportunities, please contact International Programs. If you are interested in developing or helping your peers develop their intercultural competence, sensitivity, and teaching approaches for diverse classroom, please consider registering for this semester’s Culturally Responsive Classroom (DVRSITY-CULTRL4-JS001), which is offered online starting on Monday, September 29, 2014.