Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date



This study examined intercultural competence (ICC) among a group of university undergraduate students who were early in their studies. Mareno & Hart (2014) noted that demographic patterns have shifted toward becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. Therefore, health care providers must be equipped to provide culturally competent care to patients. This study will help universities develop curriculum that fosters student development of their ICC. For this study, ICC was defined as the capability to accurately understand and adapt behavior to cultural difference and commonality (Hammer & Bennett, 2010). The study responded to these research questions: (1) What is the starting level of cultural competence among undergraduate students in the College of Allied Health and Nursing? (2) How does the intercultural competence of undergraduate students in the College of Allied Health and Nursing change during their experiences in general education classes? Data was collected using a computer-based, online inventory. Students enrolled in an introductory course completed the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), developed by Hammer and Bennett (1998, 2001). The IDI was based on Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (1986), which identified five orientations toward cultural differences: denial, polarization, minimization, acceptance, and adaptation. Investigators expect that the study may show that students’ ICC will grow over the period of a semester-long course when it is supplemented with cultural activities such as a mentor partnership with an international student. The results of this study will provide institutions with information about the level of ICC of their students and how those levels can be improved so their students are better equipped to help others in the future

Faculty Mentor

Elizabeth Sandell and Lynnette Engeswick