By Cecile Schoberle
Integrated University Communications
On Nov. 5, the Office of International Affairs, UC Denver and the Auraria Library hosted the Symposium on Diversity and Campus Internationalization to examine the opportunities and challenges at the intersection of diversity, education and internationalization. The 47 participants included staff and faculty from UC Denver, UC Boulder, AMC, CCD and Metropolitan State who are involved in various combinations with international students, study abroad, or in various diversity initiatives at their respective institutions.
The symposium focused on the challenges of clearly defining the language we use to describe ethnic and cultural differences, refining the approaches we use to prevent misunderstanding, and comprehending the commitment and understanding required to address both the challenges and the opportunities of functioning in this multicultural global educational context. Special guests at the symposium were: Gailda Pitre Davis, associate director of the Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity, American Council on Education, Christa Olson, associate director of the Center for International Initiatives, American Council on Education, Hillary Hughes, Fulbright Scholar in Residence at the School of Cultural and Language Studies in Education, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.
Carolyn North, assistant vice chancellor of International Affairs, introduced the event by noting the national level concern that students from diverse backgrounds are underrepresented in study abroad program participation. This creates a distinct disadvantage for them at a time when preparedness for global careers and for globally competent citizenship is essential for success and civic literacy in the 21st Century.
Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Hilary Hughes, from Australia, pointed out the differences in learning styles of students from diverse cultures, and the need to unify how educators communicate with multicultural groups.
“Unfortunately, we do not emphasize what domestic students can learn from international students on campus. We should have collaborative learning approaches that build upon all students’ strengths,” said Hughes.
The Office of International Affairs at UC Denver is continuing to address diversity and inclusion issues and to seek solutions through multiple avenues. Two new diversity initiatives will be launched this year, the International Student Success Initiative and the Diversity in Global Education Initiative.