Posted July 1, 2013 by Elizabeth Beltramini 

Emphasizing Intercultural Proficiency

At this time last year, the Board of Trustees charged the Leadership Team to put notable emphasis on its efforts supporting Strategic Direction 3 in the Association’s 2011–15 strategic plan: “ACUI will be recognized by our members as a multicultural organization.” This was an important step because, amid the major projects of the regional restructuring, 100th anniversary, and executive director transition, conceivably this goal could have been neglected.

One of the success measures associated with this goal was that members’ skills in the core competency of Intercultural Proficiency would be enhanced. Specifically, these are:

  • Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity
  • Communication among Cultures
  • Cultural Symbols and Artifacts
  • Global Knowledge

In recent issues of The Bulletin, we’ve tried to increase the content provided in these areas. We’ve shown you unions in New Zealand and professional experiences in Qatar. The May Bulletin’s cover story was about facilities that celebrate spiritual and religious expression. Parts of the 2013 student development theory series have focused on developmental ecology and, this month, specific diverse student populations. Two feature articles also have zeroed in on unique populations: returning military veterans and Chinese international students respectively. And the September 2012 cover article covered all these skill sets with its review of the contrasts between college unions’ and Black Student Unions’ histories.

This is all, of course, while continuing to provide content in other competency areas such as Leadership, Facility Management, and Marketing—as well as updates on some of those major Association projects I mentioned.

As we’ve been sifting through ACUI’s archives in preparation for sthe 100th anniversary museum next April in Orlando, it is clear that ACUI has always been committed to issues of diversity. The annual conference was held outside of the United States in 1922; in the 1960s we changed our name to officially add “International”; by 1972 a group for minority concerns was formed—the first of several; and in 1993 the Association adopted its statement about becoming a multicultural organization—now referenced in the current strategic plan.
While these accomplishments are meaningful, there is more work to be done. At the Leadership Team meeting this July, volunteers and staff are working with a diversity expert to continue our progress in strengthening inclusivity, diverse representation, and knowledge. Under the new regional structure, each leadership team will have an inclusivity coordinator to concentrate on these issues. And several Association leaders also will be travelling abroad to foster relationships with potential members in other countries.

In terms of The Bulletin, we have some articles related to Intercultural Proficiency in the works already, and we’re certainly open to new authors if you are interested in writing. When the strategic plan is complete and we go to assess our efforts, we hope we will have realized success, but in the meantime I encourage you to engage in this effort and offer feedback along the way.

Elizabeth Beltramini

Elizabeth Beltramini is the Director of Content Curation at ACUI.


Great to see that ACUI is continuing to push this topic forward!
Melissa Winter
Comment posted 07/09/2013 2:08 AM
Note: To post a comment to The Commons, you must login to the ACUI website.
about the commons
The Commons is the online hub to discover new ideas and learn what is going on in the college union and student activities profession.
more ...
about the contributors

Meet the ACUI members who have volunteered to share their knowledge and insights as regular authors in The Commons.

more ...