Document Type

Unpublished Research Paper

Publication Date



Intercultural competence is one way to describe how individuals and groups understand and adapt their behavior to cultural differences. University students can increase their intercultural competence by understanding behaviors and by experiencing cultural differences. One way to do this is by participating in a course, such as Human Relations in a Multicultural Society. The course's objective was to help students in understanding their own cultural roots, as well as those of other culture groups. This study responded to questions about the impact of multicultural education on intercultural competence among undergraduates. The data set included more than 130 students who took this general education course during the academic years 2010-11 and 2011-12. For purposes of instructional design and assessment, students completed the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI; Hammer et al., 2003) at the beginning and at the conclusion of each semester. During the first academic year, the researcher implemented the campus-based course according to the syllabus on file with the academic department. For the second academic year, the researcher re-designed the course to emphasize student experience with cultural differences rather than emphasizing student knowledge about cultural differences. Data analysis showed that the re-designed course made a statistically significant difference in student cross-cultural competence. Curriculum planners and instructors may find this information useful in considering the effectiveness of cultural diversity goals: experience diversity with supervised reflection and recognize and respond to conditions of marginalized populations.


Elementary and Literacy Education Department