Intercultural Understanding Course Criteria

Intercultural Understanding Global (IU-G) Courses

COURSE CRITERIA for meeting the intercultural understanding guideline in a course that discusses or addresses a culture (or cultures) outside of the U.S.

“Global/International” courses are not just courses that focus on the international or on other countries. For the intercultural understanding graduation guideline there must be significant focus on non-US “cultures.” The course will:

  1. Examine a culture or cultures outside of the U.S. (to include historical cultures and civilizations) OR
  2. Provide a comparative perspective between the U.S. and other culture(s), with at least half of the course focused on non-US cases

Intercultural Understanding – Local (IU-L)

COURSE CRITERIA for meeting the Intercultural Understanding guideline in a course that addresses different cultures in the U.S.

Courses that meet the Intercultural Understanding guideline for different cultures in the U.S. should normally meet at least 4-5 of the following criteria (with the understanding that, depending on one’s field, there could be some overlap between some criteria). IU-L courses should:

  1. Examine diverse cultural perspectives in the United States, whether at present or in the past, by analyzing the production of art, literature, or philosophy or other activities in the humanities or through frameworks in the social sciences.
  2. Expose students to marginalized communities (via art work, literature, other readings, films, and/or internship/social responsibility sites) and ask students to reflect their upon understandings of specific issues via assignments, such as journal entries and/or reflective essays.
  3. Directly discuss the role of individual privilege and unequal power relations as it relates to the denied privileges of socially disadvantaged groups (e.g. role of social and cultural capital), whether at present or in U.S. history.
  4. Investigate the impact of and counter the ideas of ethnocentrism and Eurocentrism as these terms relate to how marginalized populations are characterized and caricatured.
  5. Encourage the development of cultural empathy, respect, and understanding for host/community/local perspectives within class discussion and oral/written assignments about social stratification, socio-structural barriers, and social inequality as systems of oppression.
  6. Ask students to investigate the intersections between racialized, gendered, and classed identities as they relate to how intersecting axes of oppression, heterosexism, racism, classism, and/or ableism, affect marginalized communities in the U.S. and abroad.
  7. Push students to recognize how historical structures, individual agency, and the relations between the two are exhibited within the social circumstances of marginalized communities in the U.S.
  8. Teach students how to use social theory to analyze and describe why social hierarchy persists and the ways in which it impacts the life chances of marginalized populations.