What is Internationalization?

In our Internationalization and Global Engagement Plan, Durham College has adopted the definition of Internationalization as "the intentional process of integrating an international, intercultural or global dimension into the purpose, functions and delivery of post-secondary education, in order to enhance the quality of education and research for all students and staff, and to make a meaningful contribution to society"(De Wit, 2015).

In addition, internationalization "is inclusive, pervasive and comprehensive, encompassing all aspects of the work of the institution (teaching, research, service and community outreach) and the full range of institutional goals and actions, including curriculum and program design; teaching and learning development; student, faculty and staff mobility; language education and training; research and innovation; projects and services; community outreach and local economic development." (CBIE, 2014).

At CTL we are supporting faculty and helping to achieve Goal Three in our Academic Plan and our Internationalization at Home pillar of the Internationalization and Global Engagement Plan. We are achieving this by:

  • Developing and delivering PD workshops addressing internationalization challenges and opportunities
  • Engaging faculty in how to use the Global Classroom to foster internationalization
  • Working one-on-one with faculty interested in teaching/research abroad
  • Developing resources for faculty to learn more about internationalization more broadly

What is intercultural competence?

In order to define intercultural competence, we must first define ‘culture’. Culture, is "the sum of a way of life, including expected behaviour, beliefs, values, language, and living practices shared by members of a society. It consists of both explicit and implicit rules through which experience is interpreted" (Herbig, 1998).

Intercultural Competence is defined as the "ability to develop targeted knowledge, skills and attitudes that lead to visible behaviour and communication that are both effective and appropriate in intercultural interactions" (Deardorff, 2006).

Intercultural competence requires specific knowledge, skills and attitudes, including:

  • Cultural self awareness
  • Grasp of global issues and trends
  • Viewing the world from others’ perspectives
  • Viewing differences as a learning opportunity, and
  • Valuing other cultures

In order to assist faculty in guiding students through the developmental process of acquiring intercultural competence and global citizenship at Durham College, the CTL has assembled a number of practical resources and workshops intended to help faculty build intercultural competence in the classroom. As well, CTL assist faculty interested in utilizing the global classroom to enhance student engagement and build intercultural competence.

Ready to get started adding intercultural competence into your courses? Not sure where to start? Contact Joanne Spicer, global learning facilitator, CTL at

Frequently Asked Questions at Durham College

Internationalization of the Curriculum by Joanne Spicer, global learning facilitator, CTL

In my role as the Global Learning Facilitator, I am often approached by faculty who are interested in adding intercultural and global content to their courses, but are unsure what that means or how much time it will take. In my opinion, the value of adding a global dimension to your course is immense and worth the time takes to consider what, where and how you will embed it in your course content. Adding an intercultural perspective to your curriculum provides a means to engage your students (both domestic and international) and encourages them to think as part of a larger global narrative.

With that in mind, here are a few of the most frequently asked questions I receive from faculty about intercultural competence in the classroom. I have also added some ideas and articles from educators and scholars of of internationalization of the curriculum. They are great articles and reference material!

No. Adding a dimension of internationalization or a global perspective into a course can be as little or as much as you want. For example, if you use a case study for a table top exercise, you might want to have the case study from another country. I have had a group assignment, where I had students look at a specific country and compare and contrast a particular victim population (I teach in Victimology). It was a small lesson plan change. Some faculty have gone as far as adding an outcome into the course learning outcomes that speaks specifically to global contexts, but again, it does not need to be a big change. That is completely up to you.

No. Internationalization of the curriculum is for all of your students. Our graduating students need to understand that they will be living and working in a globalized world. Helping students look at the world through a global lens will go a long way to increase their understanding and prepare them for work.

No. All courses can benefit from adding intercultural awareness as it allows domestic and international students an opportunity to learn about their place in the world.

Yes. You are the subject matter expert in your field, so you can add an intercultural aspect to your course based on your subject knowledge. Intercultural competence is defined as ‘the ability to develop targeted knowledge, skills and attitudes that lead to visible behaviour and communication that are both effective and appropriate in intercultural interactions” (Deardorff, 2006). Being a subject matter expert means you can use your knowledge to discuss how students might communicate and interact in a culturally competent way in your vocation.

Yes! CTL has been working with the International Education office and a number of institutions and scholars to create resources for you. Please contact us and we will work with you on curriculum development and delivery, assessment and evaluation and teaching and learning strategies for adding intercultural content into your classes! And, did you know, that the International Business Graduate Certificate (BITM) program in undergoing a project to internationalize the curriculum in their entire program? And DC has a community of practice for Internationalization and Global Engagement. There are lots of ways to help you internationalize your course(s) at DC.

Yes and Yes. Engaging a colleague, or NGO or group of students in another country is a great example of intercultural competence in your class. You are able to use the Global Classroom to do that. The CTL will help you with the logistics of how it fits into your curriculum and we can get you connected to our Global Class Technician.


Canadian Bureau for International Education, (2014). Internationalization Statement of Principles for Canadian Educational Institutions, Ottawa Canada, p. 1

Deardorff, D. K. (2006). The Identification and Assessment of Intercultural Competence as a Student Outcome of Internationalization at Institutions of Higher          Education in the United States, Journal of Studies in International Education 10:241-266

De Wit, H. (2015). INQAAHE conference, Chicago, U.S. Retrieved from:

Herbig, P. (1998). Handbook of Cross-Cultural Marketing, New York: The Haworth Press