Intercultural Partnerships that Foster Cultural Competence

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Elementary and Literacy Education Department


Institutions of higher education (HE) are emphasizing their capacity to (a) foster equitable access; (b) incorporate global perspectives into teaching, learning, and research; (c) build international and intercultural competence among students, faculty, and staff; and (d) establish relationships and collaborations with people and institutions throughout the world. At Minnesota State University, Mankato, instructors have responded to this emphasis with a specific course for pre-service teachers: Human Relations in a Multicultural Society. Based on this experience, the authors based the course on a foundational theory and engaged in scholarship related to teaching and learning. Adaptations were made in one major assignment, a cultural partnership, so that college students could diversify their perspectives and enhance their intercultural skills, even during a pandemic. For three semesters during the pandemic, instructors facilitated virtual “buddy” matches with students at a university in Armenia (English language classes in Spring 2020) or with students in various US cultures (Alaska Natives in 2020 - 2021). The series of related assignments included establishing a partnership, interviews, shared virtual activities, and reflection. This report briefly reports the analysis of data collected with the IDI in Spring 2020, the latest semester for which data was available for this project.

Publication Title

Education and New Developments

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