25 apr 2018

ICUU: enhancing intercultural competences for support staff (OBP)


Through bi-weekly posts, the ICUU team participating in the USO-project on ‘Intercultural Competences for Utrecht University’ will share updates on progress regarding the initiatives to enhance the intercultural competences (IC) of three target groups: students, teachers and support staff.

This week: Staff: Intercultural Competences for Staff at UU

This subproject is aimed at professionalising administrative and support staff of Utrecht University, in specific enhancing their intercultural competences. This project focusses on staff which is in direct face-to-face contact with (international) students or academic staff, like International Officers, Student Desk employees, study advisors and HR personnel.

Intercultural Awareness Training

The main aim of this subproject is to develop a tailor-made training for support and administrative staff (OBP) to enhance their intercultural competences in their contact with (international) students and staff (OBP & WP).

The training will be based on ‘authentic interaction simulations’(AIS). These are simulations, i.e. role plays, based on selected fragments from authentic situations. The fragments are selected from recordings made of actual conversations between UU personnel and students or staff. After a pilot training at the International Offices, the training will be extended to other OBP personnel and included in the general training offer for staff.

The training will consist of three meetings in which the following elements will be discussed:

  • Information & theoretical background (part I): understanding the basic concepts.
  • Inspiration & insights (part II): focus on reflection (cultural, linguistic, organisational background and daily practices).
  • Categorisation & implementation (part III): what did we learn and how can use this in our daily work?

Current status and near future developments

  • In November 2017 and February 2018 several rounds of recordings have been made at different International Office desks. A first pilot training for the International Officers that participated in the November round has taken place in January and the second pilot training for the February round will start in May.
  • The ICUU project plans to have an Intercultural Awareness training for UU staff ready in September 2018 for more interested people.

Train the trainers

Besides developing an intercultural awareness training for staff, this subproject also consists of a subpart on train the trainers. This project focuses on how to diffuse knowledge about intercultural competences among colleagues and how colleagues can help one another with the development of intercultural competences. This subproject is not only aimed at administrative and support staff (OBP), but as well on academic staff (WP).

For more information about the ICUU project you can contact Jan ten Thije (J.D.tenthije@uu.nl) or Karen Schoutsen (k.e.schoutsen@uu.nl).

Would you like to read more about the ICUU project? Have a look at the articles under the TAUU tag ‘Interculturele competenties’.



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