Research: Faculty Perceptions

Research Questions

In 2014 we decided to conduct a study to gauge participant’s perceptions of the impact of the study. We had two research questions:

  • What are faculty perceptions of the impact of participation in the Interculturalizing the Curriculum Professional development program on their approach to curriculum and pedagogy?
  • How can faculty perceptions post-program inform revision or refinement of the program?
Faculty Participants' Perceptions: Impact of Interculturalizing Curriculum Program
Aspect of Learning% of Respondents (n=20)
  Not on my mind Has impacted me professionally Has impacted me personally
Developing cultural self - awareness 0 95 85
Understanding the IDI 5 90 90
Understanding culture-general frameworks 0 100 85
Awareness of one’s own biases 5 95 90
Recognition of complexity of cultural diversity 0 95 90
Role of one’s own culture in the world 0 100 90
Seeing own culture from other perspectives 0 95 85
Learning from another worldview 5 95 80
Improving intercultural communication skills 0 95 75
Ability to consider other worldviews 0 100 90
Ability to work with other cultures 5 95 85
Recognition of role of values in equity 0 100 95
Addressing real life intercultural issues 0 100 95
Qualitative Themes from Interviews with Past Participants
Increased Awareness

“Before I went to that workshop I had no idea any of this existed. I mean I had traveled, been an immersion student but I didn’t get it and so how could I possibly apply anything to my teaching? It was a humbling experience.” (English Instructor)

“I am aware of how little intercultural I have had in my course material throughout my teaching experience.” (History Instructor)

“In my family everyone should be the same, ‘we’re all Canadians so get on with it’. I was pushed face to face to these ideas and it was challenging.” (Psychology Instructor)

“The eyes with which I look at my work and the world has changed.” (University Prep Instructor)

“I am more aware of creating a safe environment for dialogue amongst students.” (Japanese Instructor)

“It definitely made me much more sensitive to the cultural, linguistic, emotional needs of my students." (Modern Languages Instructor)

“I feel more connected to my students and interested in their backgrounds and where they come from.” (Tourism Instructor)

“In grad courses I apply skills more directly because I face challenges myself with international students. Rather than react- which is a huge challenge for me- I invest more time in understanding student differences based on cultural differences and individual learning characteristics. I look at each student and tailor to them.” (|Education Instructor)

Changes to Practice

“I have made a greater effort to expose domestic students to cultural issues. Now there is a great exchange in the classroom where that wasn’t the case. I think the students are aware of what I am doing as I seem to be attracting more and more international students. The domestic students had a tremendous intercultural experience.” (English Instructor)

“From my perspective, the way I teach the research process has radically changed. When you take into account computer/research classes, it tends to be taught a natural process- so in the cultural context there are errors of judgment with international students with condemnation of errors by faculty. It radically changed how I teach research and citation. The other is with giving presentations. Recognizing different cultural understandings of public presence, and how subjects are determined. And finding ways to have the work (presentations) resonate with the students by giving good reasons- especially with international students who don’t see the value and make excuses like “I’m shy” or “I’m going to be an accountant so I don’t need to do presentations”. I try to make it a sharing experience and relate to their needs- directly relating to their studies and future. I encourage that they speak from lived experience.” (Communications Instructor)

“I discovered that there are other ways of teaching.. I incorporated more interactive activities. Group work for example…. Finding ways for students to interact… more peer learning, more reflection, peer feedback, collaborative learning… borrowed from other disciplines. I was more open to trying things that were new to me.” (Tourism Instructor)

Trying to put in how we learn these things… how we should be more deliberate in teaching about differences. That we do talk about these things. I have lots of opportunities to talk about culture. Lots of opportunities to talk about my lack of knowledge. I think it is enriching for the whole. It is more around culture now." (Psychology Instructor)

“I have changed my evaluation process to allow culturally diverse learners to demonstrate learning in a variety of ways.” (Tourism Instructor)

“I am doing a lot more universal design. That multimodal… trying to present materials in a variety of ways. More aware of the diversity of learners. Variety of activities… making space for people to share their perspectives. I have been very mindful of materials… is it NA in its outlook?” (Instructional Designer)

“I decided to do something out of the box. Instead of lecture, case study, exam and presentation, I incorporated student outreach, engagement… instead of writing exam and presentation they hosted a dinner / fundraising “Come dine with the Microbes” 80 people showed up from the community.” (Microbiology Instructor)

"I was more alert and aware of how I was designing and delivering my courses and learning activities. I started looking for resources, ideas outside of my normal places. I started incorporating readings that offered different or global perspectives or different lenses. Became more aware of what was out there." (Tourism Instructor)

“Moving away from the assumption that group work will work itself out and more emphasis on the process of what the students go through in meeting the requirements of the assignment. Evaluating the process not just the product. I have now included content on intercultural communication in the course work. As part of the preparation for group work as well as part of the content that is evaluated.’ (Tourism Instructor)

“The workshop significantly affected my work as an educator. I have re-evaluated and internationalized each of my course learning outcomes, and shifted my text materials to reflect global issues and world literature.” (English Instructor)

“The concept of empathy is challenging, disruptive and generative. It’s humbling. It forced me to step back from my assumptions on how I went into the class.” (Communications Instructor)

“Encouraging people to consider different perspectives – higher order thinking… creating, critiquing knowledge. Whose authority? What about other voices? We need to encourage students to seek information from many places, be critical of information, share opinions. This is just good teaching and learning.” (Instructional Designer)

Yes, made me more aware of my cultural biases and motivated me to re-examine, reformulate my courses." (Career Education Instructor)

Increased Confidence

“When I first started teaching I felt intimidated by international students because I didn’t have any connection to them or knowledge…or how to approach them. I am more confident to talk to them to find out about them, how they are doing.” (Tourism Instructor)

“The shift that I see most obvious is about my attitude in incorporating cultural aspects into scientific courses. I think before I went to IC workshops I didn’t have the confidence to …. Even though I had ideas, and even my background … but I didn’t have the confidence to really do it, you know what I mean. So the results of participating really brought me to the level that my ideas were not out to lunch. I can make the classes more relevant to my students. I think students appreciate when I talk about or add cultural aspects to it. I have more courage.” (Microbiology Instructor)

“I do have a different attitude towards my students at the beginning for sure, I find that it used to be incredibly challenging for me to feel confident in front of such a broad range of international students.” (Modern Languages Instructor)

“I see that as such a clear outcome for me. There is a confidence with which I do my work and therefore I think it is more successful. The clarity is there. I know what I need to do and what might be standing in the way. I have moved along both in confidence and understanding.” (UPrep Instructor)

"I was aware before in terms of trying to include. It gave me more confidence to push harder… I pushed instructors to include content and also lots of ways of to do it. It helped me to focus and be more grounded and more confident instead of just feeling like a social activist.” (Instructional Designer)

“I think what you get out of it, is it gives you the guts to talk about differences.” (Psychology Instructor)

Professional Development

“Most significantly, the intercultural support at the workshop gave me the confidence to begin research. This intercultural research area has opened into a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) project and has led to a number of conference paper, publications, and research grants.” (English Instructor)

"It was an eye opener and I saw possibilities I had not imagined. I remember very clearly Nina’s labyrinth, and I forget her name, but the trees, how she was working with trees- Science? It seemed like a difficult area to interculturalize, but there you are. It opened the realm of possibilities for me." (Education Instructor)

"I’ve taken more courses to help me, it was a beginning point for me." (Nursing Instructor)

"I was so interested in this topic that I started the [other university] Certificate in Intercultural Communication. These were all an eye opener for me personally." (Modern Languages Instructor)

"It was a turning point for me." (Open Learning Instructor)

"That is what started a lifelong research journey. It helped me to clarify the academic and social value. It gave me the confidence to apply for the scholars program. The insight from the program helped me to clarify the human elements in my vocation and to articulate them in a wellness context that could be enormously beneficial to the campus." (English Instructor)

"After I did the program, I also did my TESOL certification so between the two I have become very aware of the speed and tone of voice… when I am in front of the classroom I am very aware of speaking clearly and communicating respectfully." (Career Education Instructor)


"The biggest shift was looking at systemic barriers and my role in advocating and facilitating understanding. What crystalized for me was realizing my role in recognizing and bringing to attention institutional barriers to difference." (University Prep Instructor)

"I have been doing more advocacy work. On the equity committee we are trying to be part of the solution and collaborating with admin about the importance of this interculturalizing movement." (Instructional Designer)

"Helping other faculty with IC in their classes, or integrating comments/biases from other faculty. For example, in discussions around policy to increase the level of credit. The argument is no because a) we’re open admission and students are disadvantaged and b) international students pose a problem to excellence in education. Speaking against this kind of commentary is extremely important. That’s where it comes out." (Communications Instructor)

"I have transferred it to all of my committee work when I communicate with my colleagues. We try to educate colleagues about diversity." (Tourism Instructor)

"This summer I am going to apply this further to other courses and to the department to have intercultural outcomes. I think before Arts faculty only thought of internationalization/ interculturalization meant only 'how do we get more international students in our classes. Full stop.' But that’s not what it’s about." (History Instructor)