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A Six-Year Journey of Global Learning Faculty and Student Development

Most college and university mission statements assert their intentions to graduate global citizens. Strategic plans target the ways and means to internationalize their campuses. The challenge for colleges and universities is to discuss and make decisions that allow identified and intentional processes to facilitate internationalization or global learning. What are the values added for a graduate of the institution? For example, are the graduates open to interacting with diverse others? Are they knowledgeable of cultural worldview frameworks? Do graduates ask questions about other cultures and seek answers to those questions? Are graduates self-aware and empathetic about cultural differences?

In 2009, Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, began this process, guided by the Office of the Provost. Faculty committees reviewed and agreed upon desired competencies for all Purdue graduates. In 2007, the LEAP (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) initiative from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) organized a set of essential learning outcomes that provide “a guiding vision and practical approach to college learning.” Using these principles, scholars, faculty, and other professionals from institutions across the country generated sixteen VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) rubrics to guide colleges and universities in their discussions. Purdue faculty considered, revised, and eventually vetted a few of these VALUE rubrics, including the two on Intercultural Knowledge and Competence and Civic Engagement. Their work paved the path for global learning faculty development at Purdue.

One challenge of global learning, intercultural competency, and internationalization is that the terminology is confusing and imprecise. Another difficulty is the vast number of constructs (more than 260) that scholars deem important to global learning. Therefore, it is beneficial to consider the guidance of leading scholars and professionals who have identified attitudes, knowledge, and skills that are key to intercultural competency. Purdue faculty and student development organizations began to operationalize the six intercultural constructs specified in the AAC&U Intercultural Knowledge and Competence VALUE Rubric. The constructs of the Civic Engagement VALUE Rubric also helped these groups identify and articulate the potential value that these learning outcomes added for Purdue University graduates.

Purdue’s International Student Challenges and Opportunities

According to the Purdue University Fall 2012 International Student and Scholar Enrollment & Statistical Report, Purdue University had the second-highest international student enrollment among US public institutions, and fourth highest across all public and private institutions. The international student body represented 21.8 percent of the total number of enrolled students, with almost five thousand international undergraduate students composing over 16 percent of more than twenty-nine thousand total undergraduate students.

A small preliminary study among international students indicated some dissatisfaction with the university, prompting concern from the Office of the President, the International Programs Office, the Office of the Provost, and the Center for Instructional Excellence (CIE). Faculty also voiced a need for guidance and support when some courses included 30 percent to 45 percent international students, many of whom spoke English as a second language.

In response to these challenges and opportunities, CIE hired a new staff member to lead global learning faculty and student development. The main purpose of this position was to respond to the significant and continuous increase of international undergraduates on the West Lafayette campus and address related issues proactively as they arose. This new position aimed to maximize the potential for international student success by generating programs to assist faculty in improving the classroom experience; creating materials for faculty development; designing and coordinating corresponding workshops and meetings; and establishing a campus coalition to strategically bring all support units and systems together to assist international students in their success.

International Student Needs Survey

At most research universities, if you do not have data, you only have an opinion. As such, the need for data guided the next steps for increasing international student success at Purdue. The four colleges with the highest percentages of international undergraduate students surveyed 11,000 international and domestic undergraduate students. This survey replicated one conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011–12. Eight focus groups with faculty, international students, and advisors generated additional qualitative data.

The survey findings suggested there was an opportunity for improving integration. International students and domestic students were not forming relationships that eventually led to friendships, and the data showed that both international and domestic students were comfortable and satisfied with segregation. English as a second language (ESL) students confessed that they did not spend much time speaking English outside of class.

The focus groups generated data that helped to assess needs relating to faculty development opportunities. The data indicated that faculty and instructors needed recruitment, motivation, and training in best practices for adding globalization to courses and intentionally internationalizing the classroom. Instructors should provide intentional cross-cultural communities in the classroom. Class rosters needed more demographic information, such as country of origin. Participants expressed the need for intentional globalization and diverse team building in all courses, such as domestic students reaching out and mixing more with international students.

The data also indicated that faculty and instructors needed training in best practices for addressing ESL teaching and learning during class time and in course assignments. The data showed that many international students avoid courses requiring significant reading and writing. Students needed additional university resources, especially more ESL classes and English classes specifically developed for ESL students. Faculty recommended that ESL students should complete their basic English class before taking a communications class and that the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) should have more international ESL staff. About 15 percent of international students did not feel prepared to succeed at Purdue and needed English reading, writing, and speaking help. Purdue facilitated special training for international teaching assistants.

The data indicated a third need for an expanded acculturation orientation, seminar, or course for all students to prepare them to succeed at Purdue and in a global society. The focus groups discussed the need to improve international student orientation, including additional cultural topics such as social norms in America and basic training in email and the Blackboard learning management system. It was determined that too many international students missed orientation and listened more to friends than their assigned academic advisors. Another concern was that advising international students often took more time than advising domestic students, sometimes taking up to triple the time.

Finally, the data suggested that faculty and instructors need to continually and clearly communicate, educate, and facilitate the expectation, definition, and requirement of academic integrity in student assignments, assessments, and work.

Faculty Development Mandates and the VALUE Rubrics

Two faculty development mandates became clear. The first mandate, based on the focus group data, was to address the specific concerns of faculty, instructors, graduate teaching assistants, and advisors. To assist faculty as soon as possible, a major first step in early 2012 was to research and compile a “teaching tips” brochure on teaching international students. Every instructor teaching at Purdue at that time received a copy of the brochure. CIE conducted a series of workshops focusing on ESL teaching and learning issues plus best practices and solutions. The Purdue Online Writing Lab staff expanded to assist the increased ESL international student population. The English department created additional English course sections for ESL students. The Office of the Provost and English faculty established two American culture and English general studies courses and eventually required them of the five hundred ESL students needing the most help. CIE provided a series of workshops on teaching international students. The Office of the Provost organized new faculty orientations to address the opportunities and challenges of teaching international students. CIE and the Teaching Academy conducted workshops on fostering academic integrity. The Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of International Programs implemented freshman orientations—one for international students followed by one for both international and domestic students. The Office of International Programs sent teams of academic advisors to China for preorientation meetings with hundreds of Chinese incoming first-year students and their parents. The Office of International Programs organized and supported a community of practice integrating domestic and international students.

The second mandate was to provide faculty with resources and support for transformative learning related to intercultural knowledge and competency. The campus’s response to this mandate was much more complicated and convoluted. The vast diversity of learning outcomes from faculty, instructors, and advisors across the many silos of Purdue University required a variety of solutions and flexibility. For example, the best option for one class could be the AAC&U Civic Engagement VALUE Rubric. For another class, the Global Learning VALUE Rubric may be better suited for crafting course outcomes.

To determine which rubric they should use, Purdue instructors answered the question, “What is it that your students can do as a result of this class or experience?” Their responses to this backward design question generated measurable learning outcomes, and the instructor then decided what the assessment or artifact of learning looked like. The goal was to be intentional and targeted in structuring courses to foster transformative learning. Mapping the assessment of learning outcomes was critical in this process of graduating globally competent citizens. This mapping of diverse learning outcomes gave opportunity for flexibility in curriculum design using the AAC&U VALUE rubrics. In practical terms, this means there were numerous intercultural assessments, including multiple AAC&U VALUE rubrics, in use at Purdue University to target, facilitate, and document global learning. However, there were a few tools and resources taking a prominent position.

Perhaps the most significant tool used was the AAC&U Intercultural Knowledge and Competence VALUE Rubric. Milton Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (1986; 1993) and Darla K. Deardorff’s intercultural framework (2009) influenced the development of the rubric and, as a result, it aligns very well with the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), which is used to assess intercultural competency or stage development (Hammer, Bennett, and Wiseman 2003).

The IDI was strongly promoted to faculty, staff, and advisors as an intercultural development teaching and assessment tool. From only a few IDI qualified administrators active in January 2018, Purdue trained an additional 120 qualified administrators of the IDI on campus. Program evaluations showed that intentionally using the Intercultural Knowledge and Competence VALUE Rubric together with the IDI predicts significant increases in intercultural competency as measured by the IDI. In other words, when faculty, staff, and advisors intentionally design learning experiences using the attitudes (openness and curiosity), skills (empathy and communication), and knowledge (self-awareness and cultural worldview frameworks) of the VALUE rubric, there is a significant increase in intercultural competency. Using the Intercultural Knowledge and Competence VALUE Rubric together with the IDI in fall 2017, one class increased the class mean 28 points on the IDI scale of 145 total points. This moved the class mean from the 16th percentile to the 84th percentile on the IDI.

It may be important and helpful to provide an analogy to clarify the relationship between the IDI and other intercultural constructs, such as those that are included in multiple AAC&U VALUE rubrics. The IDI is like a map of the route up a mountain. Your IDI score or stage tells you how far up the mountain you have traveled. It tells you how far you need to go to reach the summit. In this analogy, the six constructs of the Intercultural Knowledge and Competence VALUE Rubric describe the equipment you need to climb the mountain such as an ice pick, rope, oxygen, and ice cleats. The more dexterity you have with your equipment the more likely you are to progress up the mountain. Translated, this means if you develop more openness, curiosity, self-awareness, and proficiency with numerous other global learning constructs, you are more likely to develop intercultural competency, as measured by the IDI.

Global learning faculty development staff work with instructors to provide consultation, support, and resources to meet their selected course learning goals. This includes specific learning objectives (assignments, activities, exercises, and simulations that include reflection), which support a general learning outcome, which then supports the course goals. The faculty developers reach into their toolbox of various intercultural competency resources and match the best tool to the specific teaching and learning goal of the course or experience. For example, if the professor is addressing social justice in a study abroad class, the AAC&U Global Learning VALUE Rubric may be the best option. The faculty developer and the professor may then consider the ways learning goals align with cultural diversity, understanding global systems, or social responsibility. If the course is a study abroad course that includes international service learning, the AAC&U Civic Engagement VALUE Rubric may be the most applicable. Perhaps the constructs of civic identity and commitment or civic action and reflections best align with that course’s learning outcomes.

One of the Purdue Moves, a set of strategic initiatives introduced by Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, was to double the number of Purdue students participating in a study abroad experience. Vande Berg, Paige, and Lou (2012) document that studying abroad does not automatically develop intercultural competency and immersion in another culture does not automatically facilitate global learning. Research suggests there must be targeted and intentional intervention for global learning to occur.

In order to provide intercultural experiential learning support and resources for students before and during study abroad, the CIE designed and developed learning activities and digital badges using the AAC&U Intercultural Knowledge and Competence, Global Learning, and Civic Engagement VALUE Rubrics. Based on the three rubrics, CIE researched and created three short scales using the affective domain of Bloom’s taxonomy as a Likert scale. Formative assessment is the intent of these three short scales.

CIE generated a free massive open online course (MOOC) titled Improving Your Intercultural Competence. The basis of the MOOC is the Intercultural Knowledge and Competence VALUE Rubric. The first three runs of the four-week MOOC included over 10,000 learners from over 130 countries. The course runs multiple times per year, therefore easily working with study abroad, on-campus courses, and cocurricular applications.

Purdue University also made a major commitment to global learning faculty development in 2015 by hosting outside consultant Michael “Mick” Vande Berg, an intercultural development trainer, in a series of trainings for over 120 IDI qualified administrators at Purdue. This initiative began to provide support and resources to develop intercultural competency at a larger scale across campus. The goal was to improve the quality of opportunities for integration on campus, to foster targeted and intentional intercultural development during study abroad, and to increase global learning in courses, the curriculum, and the cocurriculum.

The Center for Intercultural Learning Mentorship Assessment Research

Due to this initiative to train as many faculty and staff as possible on campus and bring global learning to scale, the Center for Intercultural Learning Mentorship Assessment Research (CILMAR) formed in the Office of International Programs. CILMAR’s mission states, “We facilitate intercultural learning opportunities for all Boilermakers. [CILMAR] promotes and facilitates intercultural learning at Purdue and beyond. We foster inclusion, belongingness and community. We cultivate the knowledge, skills and attitudes of intercultural competence. We provide opportunities and resources for engaging with, adapting to and bridging across difference. We mentor intercultural leaders, support innovative scholarship and encourage best practices in teaching and learning.”

In time, CILMAR hired six intercultural learning specialists to promote and assess curricular and cocurricular intercultural learning options for Purdue students, faculty, and staff while facilitating cutting-edge research on intercultural competency topics of interest to the university and to the intercultural learning and assessment field. CILMAR designated three staff members as associate directors—for intercultural pedagogy and scholarship, intercultural outcomes assessment, and cocurricular programming and engagement—and hired a communication strategist, a programs liaison, and office support personnel.

CILMAR created an extensive collection of programs, resources, and support for students (including intercultural mentoring) via semester abroad intercultural leadership courses and grants, intercultural certification, digital badging opportunities, Sentio’s Global Competence Certificate, Peace Corps Prep certification, seminar coursework, and Purdue’s Boiler OUT volunteer program, which provides international and American students with meaningful local community service opportunities. The International Friendship Program connects international students to local community hosts, and Go Purdue is a way for all Purdue students to explore Indiana and places of interest in surrounding states. CILMAR also hosts welcoming activities, which include sports events, holiday celebrations, an education exchange for international students to speak and present in local schools and organizations, and events for all students to share their cultural perspectives through fun cultural activities. Student-run organizations receive One Community Grants to develop programs to provide meaningful interaction between international and domestic students.

For faculty, CILMAR started an intercultural faculty and staff community of practice and offers workshops and simulations, intercultural assessments, institutional agreements, and one-on-one consultations. The Global Partners program takes teams of Purdue staff and faculty to Asia to conduct predeparture orientations for first-year students and their parents. CILMAR also offers faculty study abroad grants, intercultural pedagogy grants, and intercultural research and scholarship opportunities. Growing Intercultural Leaders, managed by CILMAR and CIE, is a three-tiered scaffolding program for intercultural personal development of faculty and staff leading directly to intercultural student learning. This fosters the continuous professional development for faculty, staff leaders and mentors to implement on-campus learning.

Looking forward, Purdue University’s next steps for global learning faculty and student development require bringing the targeted and intentional development of intercultural learning, global learning, and civic engagement to scale on a campus of 40,000 students. Another step will be to explore building a bridge with Purdue’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion and collaborating with their multiple cultural and resource centers. As Purdue continues making significant strides toward becoming a global and intercultural community, these future efforts will require due diligence in formative assessment and summative program evaluation to document best practices.



Association of American Colleges and Universities. 2007. College Learning for the New Global Century: A Report from the National Leadership Council for Liberal Education and America’s Promise. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Bennett, Milton J. 1986. “A Developmental Approach to Training for Intercultural Sensitivity.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations 10: 179−96.

——. 1993. “Towards Ethnorelativism: A Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity.” In Education for the International Experience. R. Michael Paige, editor. 22−71. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press.

Deardorff, Darla K., ed. 2009. The SAGE Handbook of Intercultural Competence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hammer, Mitchell R., Milton J. Bennett, and Richard L. Wiseman. 2003. “Measuring Intercultural Sensitivity: The Intercultural Development Inventory.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations 27: 421−43.

Vande Berg, Michael, R. Michael Paige, and Kris Hemming Lou, eds. 2012. Student Learning Abroad: What Our Students Are Learning, What They Are Not, and What We Can Do About It. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Charles Calahan, Assistant Director, Center for Instructional Excellence, Global Learning Faculty and Student Development, Purdue University

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