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Cross-Cultural Competence through Education, Training, and Experience at the United States Naval Academy


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The mission of the United States Naval Academy is to graduate leaders prepared for a volatile, uncertain, chaotic, and ambiguous international environment. This workshop will be facilitated by leaders from across the institution and provides insights into curricular, co-curricular, and experiential programs for cross-cultural competence development. Attendees will learn about planning, delivering, and assessing cultural immersion programs. This presentation will include information on language study abroad, regional expertise and cultural immersion, university exchange programs, and global leader development.

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Cross-Cultural Competence through Education, Training, and Experience at the United States Naval Academy

  1. 1. The United States Naval Academy Annapolis, Maryland
  2. 2. The United States Naval Academy Founded in 1845 4,400 students 600 Faculty 25 Academic majors
  3. 3. Naval Academy Vision To be the premier educational institution for developing future naval officers from across the Nation to serve and lead in an increasingly interdependent and volatile world.
  4. 4. International Programs Office • Enhance international content of midshipman education and training • Develop and execute cohesive strategy in sync with Navy and Marine Corps • Focal point for all USNA international engagements
  5. 5. Semester Study Abroad “I think the greatest part of this trip was that I got to be an ambassador of my country, something that I am every day but never really noticed until I was put into another country in the same uniform. I feel that I am leaving behind a great reputation and image of midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy and officers alike.” Selfless∙ Inspirational ∙ Proficient ∙ Innovative ∙ Articulate ∙ Adaptable ∙ Professional
  6. 6. Language Immersion Programs “It is one thing to read and hear about other people's experiences overseas, and completely different to be the one traveling internationally. The first way the language immersion program benefited me was by teaching me how to get around in a country in which I am obviously a foreigner.” Selfless∙ Inspirational ∙ Proficient ∙ Innovative ∙ Articulate ∙ Adaptable ∙ Professional
  7. 7. “The Midshipmen immersed themselves…. spent three days with two different Maasai tribes, who have remained true to their ancient traditions as nomadic cattle herders. The first tribe greeted them with a traditional song and dance, and then sired us around their camp showing us their living quarters, communal areas, goats and cattle, and even their fledging elementary school where the young children were in the middle of an English lesson.” Selfless∙ Inspirational ∙ Proficient ∙ Innovative ∙ Articulate ∙ Adaptable ∙ Professional
  8. 8. Professional Engagements “I was one of the seventeen countries represented on the ship. To be an ambassador for both the United States and the USNA was very humbling.”
  9. 9. Intentional and Deliberate • Language Assessment – Institutional tools • Cross Cultural Competence Assessment – IDI – Weekly and After action reports – Portfolio • Regional Understanding Assessment – Developing
  10. 10. Culture General vs. Culture Specific methods for learning about culture The Culture-Specific Approach: focus on trying to learn as much as possible about a particular culture Culture General: focus is on facilitating communication within culturally diverse groups without stereotyping or discriminating.
  11. 11. How does USNA teach culture general?  Experiential Learning  Institution-wide understanding of the culture concept integrated into  Classes  LREC programs: Language, Regional Expertise and Culture Immersion
  12. 12. Experiential Learning • Culture and Leadership Summer Class:
  13. 13. Gradual Ethnographic Experiences 1. Your Campus (map exercise) 2. Cultural observations in regions of your community (the coffee shop, Whole Foods, the train station, downtown…) 3. Gallaudet University: Communication Exercise 4. Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation/Portfolio development
  14. 14. Study Abroad Portfolio Development • Pre Departure Class • Ethnographic Research on Cultural Topics class abroad • Portfolio finalization and communication/post experience class
  15. 15. Pre Departure Class • Emotional preparation • Culture general preparation • Culture specific preparation
  16. 16. Ethnographic Research • Students choose a cultural topic • Practice participant-observation research and interviews • Collect data and artifacts related to subject matter • Draw conclusions about the cultural significance of their topic
  17. 17. Portfolio Communication • Finalization • Presentation
  18. 18. Faculty Development • Cross-Cultural Competence Workshops - To prepare study abroad leaders - To foster adaptability Both at home And abroad
  19. 19. The Study of Culture as Experiential Development • Remote cultures are “writ with a darker pen.” • Immersive environments produce results • Proven relationship between authentic leadership and extreme contexts
  20. 20. Study of Culture as Leadership Development • The "Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness" (GLOBE) Research Program was conceived in 1991 by Robert J. House (1932-2011) of the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. In 2004, its first comprehensive volume on "Culture, Leadership, and Organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies" was published. • GLOBE was initiated to investigate one fundamental question: How is culture related to societal, organizational, and leader effectiveness?