Intercultural Learning Hub

Intercultural PedagogyIntercultural Learning Hub, public “science gateway” sponsored by Purdue University’s Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research.

Calling all interculturalists! Looking for resources to help others develop intercultural competence or engage them in equity and inclusion work? Need a venue to disseminate your latest scholarship? Searching for connection with others in the field? Visit the new Intercultural Learning Hub. Membership is free. Your contributions are welcome.

Ramen Shop

Intercultural Pedagogy
Ramen Shop could not be more appropriate as a tool for starting discussions about intercultural dialogue.

The protagonist, the son of a Singaporean mother and Japanese father,  searches for family history and recipes simultaneously. By the end, he combines his father’s ramen noodles with his mother’s bak kut teh, or pork rib soup.

Learning Matters

A book that I was writing while at the Institute Français de l’Education in Lyon last fall has just been published by Editions des Archives Contemporaines, based in Paris. The title is Learning Matters: The Transformation of US Higher Education. It’s co-authored with a former University of Wisconsin-Parkside colleague, Peter Hoff, who went on to become President of the University of Maine. My thanks to Yves Winkin for asking the questions about higher education in the US that led to the writing of this book.

Here is a summary of the book’s content:

Higher education in the United States of America, considered by many to set a worldwide standard for broad access and high levels of excellence, has for many decades seen massive changes in its approaches to teaching and learning. Redesigning and transforming the way colleges and universities teach their students has been likened to reconstructing an airplane while it remains aloft. More than 4,000 US colleges and universities have met the challenge by analyzing major changes in student populations and introducing new instructional techniques that recognize the primacy of learning over teaching. This seemingly innocent but powerful transformation, acknowledging that teaching only matters as a means to the real end – learning – is powering a pedagogical revolution. The Learning Revolution in US higher education began when World War II veterans flooded university classrooms, soon to be followed by their children, the American “Baby Boom.” Overwhelming numbers of new students from new kinds of backgrounds flooded colleges and universities, forcing professors to rethink how they went about teaching these new generations. To handle the numbers, many new universities were created, and many established centers for teaching excellence to help professors adapt to new populations with new techniques. In the 1990s, higher education further professionalized the teaching craft via the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Research into how students learn and how to help them learn took its place alongside traditional academic research. Aided by a wave of new technologies, teaching centers and the scholarship of teaching and learning are transforming the university classroom as well as many new venues outside the classroom where learning now takes place. The resulting new pedagogical architecture now embraces every dimension of US higher education.

Copies of the book are available directly from the publisher: Editions des Archives Contemporaines or, for those based outside of France, from Amazon in the US. (For those outside those two countries, the book is also available from Amazon in Germany, Spain, and the UK.)

The section of the book most directly linked to my work with the Center for Intercultural Dialogue concerns internationalization as an issue for US higher education. Here are a few relevant quotes:

  • “the rest of the world increasingly speaks English, but few Americans actively travel in international circles, so globalization may become oddly limited to the English language, passing over many native speakers” (p. 92)
  • “It would be difficult to argue that U.S. universities have been doing an adequate job of preparing students to live and work in the global village. Historically, what little was done has been deemed adequate, so few people see a need for substantial change” (pp. 97-98)
  • “The world has become smaller, and so students need to understand more of what occurs in other countries than their own. At the lowest level of application, this implies integrating international examples; at the highest level, new technologies permit international collaborative research projects.” (p. 218)

For those interested in discussing issues related to teaching and learning, and expanding on what we included in the book, my co-author, Peter Hoff, created a Facebook page:

If you read Portuguese instead of English, a monograph version, Arquitectura pedagógica para a mudança no ensino superior [Pedagogical architecture changes for higher education], prepared when I was a Fulbright Senior Specialist at the Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra during the spring, is also now published.

CFP Intercultural comm strategies

“I am putting together a panel for the 2013 WSCA [Western Speech Communication Association] conference. This panel seeks to create space to dialogue about strategies for teaching intercultural communication that will prepare students to understand, respond to, and potentially address emerging ethnic, racial, and religious conflicts manifesting both globally and locally.  I seek teacher-scholars willing to share creative pedagogical and theoretical leaps you are making in your intercultural communication courses to engage students and to equip them to effectively and pragmatically negotiate this 21st century moment that is characterized by instability, conflict, and sociocultural shifts. Interested parties are welcome to submit a 150 word abstract for consideration by August 20, 2012.”

Hannah Oliha, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication
Faculty Advisor, WTAMU NAACP College Chapter
West Texas A & M University