As part of implementing the mid-level plan, I have put out an open invitation to present the plan to managers across the University. I gave a presentation to the managers of Parking & Access Control Services today, in their sparkling new office. This unit, of around 70 employees, is already very diverse.
As much as I hope attendees learn from and are inspired by my presentation, I also gain a lot from their feedback and questions. Here are the key ideas that came out of the presentation:
1. Is there a model unit at UBC?
Great question! I am often being invited support units that are struggling with intercultural issues. The next BIG thing for us will be to canvass the University to find “promising practices” that we can share across the system.
As an afterthought, there are two units that come to mind with very high levels of intercultural fluency: UBC’s English Language Institute and the team at International Student Development. I have been drawing from their experience and expertise as part of developing the mid-level plan.
For obvious reasons, their staff have had to exercise really high levels of intercultural understanding. They have integrated intercultural understanding deeply into their sense of excellence, and that is reflected in the conversations they are able to have and the training that is required to support students from all around the world.
I went back to HR and we came up with the idea of nominating your unit as one of the most intercultural places to work at UBC. We’re going to start working on this. What would be a great prize?
2. What might we learn from UBC Daycare Services?
Again, a great question. And to be honest, I haven’t yet had a chance to ask what training they give their childcare workers to provide a safe, inclusive and intercultural environment for young children.
3. Cook classes on campus.
I have seen cooking classes used as an effective tool for growing intercultural understanding for the City of Surrey’s Dialogues Inspired by Cooking and Food. There was an idea of giving managers and staff access to instructional classes for making various food of various cultural groups, as a fun way to grow cultural literacy.
Please feel free to email me with ideas or