Tell us a little about you and your organization.
Founded in 1834, Franklin College (FC) is a small liberal arts based institution located 20 miles south of Indianapolis in the city of Franklin. With 55 majors, 41 minors, and 11 pre-professional programs from which to choose, Franklin College offers students hands-on learning experiences, as well as a commitment to ethical leadership at home and abroad. Our campus emphasizes the importance of being exposed to global experiences both on- and off-campus while also striving to create a welcoming inclusive environment for international students to study in the United States.
As a proud alum of Franklin College, I returned to the college 4 years ago to run the college’s first office dedicated to overseas study, the Office of Global Education.
What does “cultural competency” mean to you and your organization?
To our office, cultural competency is the ability to assess your own world view while also understanding and appreciating the world views of others.
What prompted you to contact The International Center’s global competency department?
When the Office of Global Education was established on campus four years ago we recognized the need for the international initiative to be campus wide rather than the mission of just one office. At the time we were looking for local resources that would encourage conversation on campus while also providing contextual education on how our campus could challenge ourselves to think further in developing our international support systems. We were looking for a program that could provide a generalized training on a variety of cultures while also looking for a resource that could be customized to the current campus climate.
How have cultural competency training sessions helped you/your employees/your organization? What have you learned?
The training Ansuyah and her staff led was tremendously helpful in starting a conversation on campus regarding cultural inclusivity. We believe this training led to increased knowledge and resources for international students, as well as an increase in the number of FC students who have shown an interest in study abroad. Our campus simply feels “more educated” as a community. The first training was received so well that we invited Ansuyah back to campus this past January for a follow-up training. Enrollment for the training filled instantly! In the program reviews, staff members in attendance noted that the training and information provided was some of the most engaging and useful they have been presented with since working at our institution!
What would you tell organizations considering cultural competency training?
In a time where many institutions are facing budget deficits, I would note to any college or university trying to internationalize their campus that the training offered by The International Center is invaluable. As a campus we now have a body of knowledge that we can all build from and refer to when creating future initiatives and programs for our international and domestic students.
By Jennifer Cataldi, Director, Office of Global Education at Franklin College
Thank you to Jennifer Cataldi and the Franklin College community for your ongoing commitment to diversity and for participating in the Global Competency Spotlight series. To learn more about The Center’s global competency department, please contact Ansuyah Naiken.