A move to address intercultural issues in education

With the growing numbers of international and aboriginal students at the University of Manitoba, the demographics in the learning environment are changing.

In order to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body, the University Teaching Services (UTS) developed the Intercultural Education Grant program.

The Intercultural Education Grants are aimed at providing seed funding for new and innovative methods of incorporating intercultural aspects of teaching and learning with practice.

Addressing intercultural issues in education, providing links between related theories and classroom strategies, and incorporating intercultural elements at course, program or departmental levels are goals to achieve with Intercultural Education Grants.

There are three grants of $1,000 each. The deadline to submit applications is March30, 2012. The project completion will be within the 2012-2013 academic year.

Erica Jung, UTS program administrator at U of M, said that UTS started programming for the international graduate student population about two years ago and said that as a result of those programs “the need for addressing and promoting internationalization at the U of M was felt.”

The Intercultural Education Grants initially came out of the work that UTS was doing for International Education Week in November 2011, she explained.

“As an academic support unit, we became more aware of the needs for the international student population. The Intercultural Grants are an opportunity for us to promote internationalization on a different level,” she said.

Jung said that UTS mainly does workshops and professional development for faculty members and graduate students but Intercultural Grants will be open to everyone, not just faculty and graduate students.

“It could be a student services type unit, somewhere where people are focused on meeting needs for international students,” she said.

Depending on what kind of applications are received, UTS would like to be able to promote things like this a lot more down the road as well, Jung said.

Elaborating on who is eligible to apply for the grants, she said that UTS is looking for “people who are in some sort of teaching capacity or related to it.”

“You don’t necessarily have to be an instructor but there are lots of people, such as librarians, who perhaps are not faculty instructors but they do have the teaching capacity,” she said.

Some examples of areas that might be addressed by interested teaching staff, Jung said, would be curriculum design, development of intercultural teaching and learning materials, incorporation of intercultural components and community based teaching.