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Kent State Launches New Faculty Program on Multicultural and International Education

Posted Jan. 19, 2015
enter photo description
Pictured are the first cohort of Kent State University
faculty who can be called upon to advise and consult with
other faculty encountering intercultural communication
issues in their classrooms. These faculty members recently
completed an eight-session program called “Enhancing
Teaching and Learning in Kent State University’s Intercultural
Classrooms and Community.”

As Kent State University’s global footprint has expanded both at home and abroad, the university has experienced a near tripling of international students in its campus community. This increased international student presence has provided new learning opportunities in classrooms, throughout the campus and within the local community at large. At the same time, academic units are being challenged to consider how they can best continue to prepare domestic students for success in an increasingly global and intercultural campus and society.

This past fall semester, the Office of the Provost and the Center for Teaching and Learning supported the development and delivery of a semesterlong program called “Enhancing Teaching and Learning in Kent State University’s Intercultural Classrooms and Community.” The program was developed and facilitated by Ken Cushner, Ed.D. Cushner is a professor of multicultural and international education in the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State, an author or editor of nine books and numerous chapters and articles in the field of intercultural education and training, and a Founding Fellow and past-president of the International Academy for Intercultural Research.

The specific goals of this program include preparing faculty members to:

  • Better understand their own, as well as their students’, intercultural competence and development;
  • Have greater knowledge of intercultural communication and interaction that are increasingly evident in the classroom;
  • Better understand the potential conflict between one’s preferred teaching style and the range of learning styles and experiences international students may bring to the classroom;
  • Become knowledgeable and skilled at developing and using a variety of intercultural training methodologies (e.g., simulations and other active instructional activities, critical incident development and use) for use in the education of others; and
  • Consider culturally responsive ways to modify and/or enhance their own teaching practices and assessment strategies.

Thirteen Kent State faculty members from eight different colleges and university libraries completed the eight-session program. Faculty participants are listed below and will comprise the first cohort of Kent State faculty who can be called upon to advise and consult with other faculty encountering intercultural communication issues in their classrooms. Additionally, faculty members who have completed this program are able to facilitate dialogue and discussion of critical intercultural issues faced by faculty at the individual and unit level in their respective colleges and programs.

Faculty participant, Maureen Blankemeyer, shared her thoughts about the program, stating, “What an enlightening and inspiring program this was! I was sorry to see it wrap up. Ideally, all Kent State faculty would have the opportunity to experience the training. Through readings, media resources, reflection, insightful discussions and activities, we (the program participants) increased our awareness of the need for intercultural competence at our university. We also learned practical ways to nurture our own intercultural competence, with the hope of fostering an even more inclusive environment at Kent State University.”

This program concluded with participants sharing a framework for original projects that will be ongoing. Some examples of these projects include development of:

  • Campuswide faculty needs assessment to focus on areas of concern in regard to teaching in an intercultural setting;
  • Succinct faculty resource manual encompassing a range of issues, strategies and resources regarding teaching in an intercultural setting;
  • Programs for international students with a focus on U.S. academic expectations and acclimating to the Kent area that extends beyond initial orientation programming; and
  • Presentations at faculty meetings and retreats at the college level highlighting what was learned during this program.

Members of the Kent State University Intercultural Faculty Scholars Fall Cohort are:

Madhav Bhatta
College of Public Health
Maureen Blankemeyer
College of Education, Health and Human Services
Mary Lou Ferranto
College of Nursing, Kent State Salem
Elda Hegmann
College of Arts and Sciences
Yu Jin
College of the Arts
Isabel Lacruz
College of Arts and Sciences
Dandan Liu
College of Business Administration
Mike Mayo
College of Business Administration
Sevim McCutcheon
University Libraries
Tracey Motter
College of Nursing
Athena Salaba
College of Communication and Information
Kim Schimmel
College of Education, Health and Human Services
Jakyung Seo
College of the Arts

For more information about the Intercultural Faculty Scholars, contact Melody Tankersley, associate provost for academic affairs, at or 330-672-8613.