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A Letter from HubICL Manager, Annette Benson

This time of isolation has provided time to think about strategy for the Intercultural Learning Hub, make improvements in its functionality, and add new resources, especially to the Toolbox and Collections.

First, as to strategy, we are undertaking a communication plan to get in touch with as many of you personally as we can over the course of this year to make sure that you are getting what you want out of the HubICL. It’s our goal to not just grow a bigger membership but also a membership that is using the HubICL and finding what they are needing in order to be more effective intercultural learning practitioners. Please be looking for an e-mail from a CILMAR staff member, and be ready to give honest feedback about how we can best serve you.

Secondly, you may have noticed that the tool categories and the frameworks areas have changed when searching the Toolbox. We have tried to make both more useable by providing more clarifying verbiage. For tool categories, we’ve changed “Media” to “Media & Texts,” “Reflection” to “Debriefing & Reflection,” and “Curriculum” to “Courses & Training Programs.” In terms of theoretical frameworks, we reframed the Intercultural Development Continuum (IDC) as “stage based pedagogy” to highlight the developmental relationship between each mindset. Additionally, we have expanded “Other Skills” to include “Mentorship & Leadership,” “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” and “Emotional Resilience.” We believe this terminology is more specific and will help our users better differentiate between categories and frameworks as they navigate the Toolbox.

Finally, please check out some of the new Tools that have been added in May-June:

  • A series of activities and a poster for discussing difference with K-12 students created by the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities, Australia (Tools 592-600)
  • Case studies and critical incidents for use with undergraduates (Tool 606) and graduate students (Tool 605)
  • A resource pack from the SALTO Cultural Diversity Resource Centre in support of the European Commission’s programme “Youth in Action” (Tools 608-617)
  • A training pack from Culture Wise designed for adult learners, such as management development programmes  (Tools 619-625)
  • Two of our favorite additions from Thiagi’s recent LOLA seminar (Tools 626-627)
  • A series of activities from Margaret Sheble, which encourages learners to engage in intercultural learning through board games, a musical, and a movie (Tools 629-631)
  • A series on discerning stereotyping in advertising produced for K-12 educators by the Southern Poverty Law Center (Tools 634-645)
  • A series of videos entitled The Boiler Inclusion Project, created for new student orientation at Purdue University in 2017 (Tools 650-653, 271)
  • Coming soon: A lesson plan for discussing The Farewell by Lindsey Macdonald (Tool 649)

We’ll be highlighting Collections later in the issue which are of most interest during this time of societal upheaval, so please continue reading. 

As always, we’d love to have your contributions of new tools in the Toolbox, Reviews, Collections, and Publications. Let us know how we can best be of assistance to you.

Happy Hubbing!

Annette Benson for all of the HubICL Curation Team


CILMAR's Aletha Stahl Makes Intercultural Learning Happen on Campus and Beyond

AlethaStahl.pngThe Intercultural Learning Hub (HubICL) aims to foster intercultural learning and mentorship throughout higher education. Aletha Stahl, Senior Intercultural Learning Specialist at Purdue’s Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment, and Research (CILMAR), plays an integral role in embedding intercultural learning into curricula through her expertise in collaborating with faculty, staff, and students across campus.

Stahl came to intercultural learning through the field of comparative literature. Unlike intercultural learning, which is most concerned with intercultural competence on an individual level, comparative literature focuses on the textual and symbolic manifestations of cultural differences and how language can be both a barrier and a bridge in regards to relating across difference. Stahl received her MA and PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Iowa and was then hired in the French and Francophone Studies Department at Earlham College. While there, she co-designed a program where students studied more than one language and performed comparative analysis of cultural artifacts across those languages.

“My work has always been with multiple cultures,” Stahl indicated, “but I started thinking more about cultural general skills—what are often designated intercultural skills—in my work with students as I designed and led both semester-length and short-term study abroad programs.” Stahl said that she joined CILMAR because she was very interested in “how learning happens for students.” She also felt that her previous experience working with faculty made her a great fit for CILMAR’s mission to promote intercultural learning across campus.

When designing and curating resources for the HubICL, Stahl tends to target faculty as her primary audience. She has been especially prolific in terms of building collections, and she always thinks about what would be the most useful to particular faculty groups. For example, she built a collection of activities that are easy to adapt to the target language in courses for World Languages.

However, Stahl is most proud of the tools that she has designed and adapted for the HubICL Toolbox. One of those tools—How Easy is My Daily Life? (Lego Privilege Activity)—was adapted from an activity called “Bricks and Straw” presented by Renee Thomas, Director of the Purdue University Black Cultural Center, at a CILMAR Workshop in 2019. The activity gets participants to think about privilege in terms of the advantages and disadvantages that they face in their daily lives. Aletha was concerned that it might not work well with people who are in polarization and who may shut down when asked to confront a topic such as privilege. Therefore, she adapted it for participants at any stage on the Intercultural Development Continuum (IDC).

One of Stahl’s most recent contributions is a collection of CILMAR-recommended resources for addressing systemic racism. All CILMAR staff members contributed to the collection, but Stahl was ultimately in charge of the curation because of her previous experience at Earlham College’s Center for Social Justice. Stahl helped design the Center and then co-directed it for one year. During that time, she worked with departments and student organizations on campus to develop programming to support justice and fight injustice around the world.

Stahl believes that the HubICL and CILMAR can contribute to the current movement to fight systemic racism by not only continuing to develop and share resources for anti-racism pedagogy, but also by thinking more deeply about the identities that those resources center. “Many of those activities [shared on the HubICL] end up structuring a white audience, or an audience that has not been affected directly,” she said. “So I think that the HubICL can find ways of bringing together dialogue and also offering resources with the perspective that these need to be useful for everybody.”

She also contends that intercultural learning as a field could focus more on how power dynamics contribute to cultural difference: “I think we can’t be afraid to allow what might be perceived as ‘political’ points of view to come into intercultural learning. We recognize that those issues may be divisive, but we can learn to negotiate and navigate them. I think the HubICL is a space where that needs to happen.”



Resources for Social Justice and Antiracist Pedagogy

The HubICL Curation Team is committed to the current movement to fight the injustices associated with systemic racism. In the wake of the ongoing protests across the world, we have curated several collections of resources that promote social justice and antiracist pedagogy.

What White Educators Can Do for Racial Justice — Corinne Shutack, Equality Includes You

  • This set of resources is compiled from Corinne Shutack’s Medium article, “75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice.” The collection is primarily geared toward K-12 educators and features children’s books and other educational tools that can be used to foster diversity and inclusion in the classroom. Many of the resources highlight books with Black protagonists and Black authors, but other diverse identities are also featured.

 “Say Their Names” Collection: Training & Assessments for Equity, Inclusion & Social Change

  • This collection, curated by Katherine Yngve, includes experiential activities, assessments, and media that can be used to cultivate equity, inclusion, and social change in a variety of contexts.

CILMAR-Recommended Resources for Addressing Systemic Racism

  • The resources provided in this collection address topics such as antiracism, action support networks that promote racial justice, perspectives on life by people of color, whiteness, higher education’s role in racial justice, and microaggressions.

Instructional and Demonstrational Videos Available for HubICL Tools

Over the past several months, Kris Acheson-Clair, Director of CILMAR, has created instructional videos for tools in the HubICL Toolbox. These videos provide facilitators with additional context surrounding the activities and aim to help them achieve their desired learning outcomes.

These videos are available for the following tools:

Several tools also feature demonstrations of activities that were facilitated at the Intercultural Learning and Teaching Program’s Cultural Working Group at Purdue University. These videos offer a glimpse into how these activities work with an actual group of participants.

The following tools feature these videos:


Contributions to the HubICL from CILMAR Graduate Assistants

Graduate assistants play an important role at CILMAR and use their expertise to foster the growth of the HubICL. Below we highlight tools and publications that graduate assistants, past and present, have created or adapted for the HubICL:

Tools from Lindsey Macdonald

Disagree Better: Empathy Gym

  • This activity guides participants through an alternative way to disagree with others and emphasizes listening and understanding another person’s viewpoint. It is adapted from Dr. Jamil Zaki, Director of the Stanford Social Neuroscience Laboratory.

Tribalism and Empathy

  • This activity asks participants to consider the relationship between tribalism and empathy and discuss how current events and social media have contributed to increased tribalism and a decline in empathy.

Empathy and Fiction

  • This activity uses fictional characters to discuss how we develop empathy and how empathy relates to culture. Participants listen to an episode of Alan Alda’s Clear + Vivid podcast and then identify characters for which they feel empathy and why they feel that way. 

Limits of Empathy, The

  • After listening to an episode of Alan Alda’s Clear + Vivid podcast, participants reflect on moments where they have extended empathy and connected with people who were different from them. They also reflect on moments where they chose to not extend empathy and thereby identify their limits to empathy.

Emojis and Culture

  • This activity asks participants to consider the cultural significance of emojis and identify who gets represented and who doesn’t in the standard set of emojis available on most keyboards. They will examine emojis available in the app Zouzoukwa, which was created by O’Pleureou Grebet, a graphic design student from the Ivory Coast. He created this app because he noticed a lack of African representation in the standard set of emojis.

Different Perspectives: Bias and Assumptions During Interviews

  • Participants use two videos created by the Purdue Envision Center to analyze bias and assumptions in an interview setting. One video is shot from the perspective of the interviewee and the other from the perspective of the interviewer.

Tools from Margaret Sheble

Mental Blocks: Understanding Different Perspectives and Privilege

  • This activity uses the board game Mental Blocks to help participants understand privilege and power dynamics and build empathy for others.

Engaging with Communication Styles Through Board Games

  • In this activity, participants play the board games Just One and Codenames to learn how to navigate cultural context and recognize characteristics of indirect communication styles.

Curious “Show & Not Tell” Icebreaker

  • For this activity, participants bring in an item of personal or cultural significance. Based on observation and analysis, they will attempt to guess who brought in which item. This tool was inspired by Tracy Grimm, Associate Head of Archives and Special Collections and Barron Hilton Archivist for Flight and Space Exploration from the Purdue Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center

Figuring Out Life

  • This activity uses several gaming platforms to help participants identify their own worldview values and practice teamwork skills.

Becoming Self-Aware of American Culture Thru Hamilton

  • For this activity, participants either watch Hamilton or listen to the soundtrack. Then, they analyze the plot/songs in order to develop awareness of their own cultural rules and biases.

Understanding Empathy Through Jojo Rabbit

  • This tool presents a series of activities inspired by the film Jojo Rabbit. These activities are meant to help participants build empathy and develop an ability to understand other perspectives and feelings.

Tools from Brittany Biesiada*

For Whom the Cowbell Tolls

  • For this activity, participants will listen to an episode of the podcast Radiolab and discuss concepts such as individualism, collectivism, assimilation, xenophobia, and naturalization. They will also consider the idea of “belonging” to a place and articulate their own sense of belonging.

Building a House for Diversity

  • This activity uses a modern fable, “The Giraffe and the Elephant,” to discuss the concept of structural exclusion and analyze the inclusive and exclusive ways that people and organizations typically respond to diversity.

Critical Mass

  • In this activity, participants work with the concept “critical mass,” which is the point at which a minority group becomes prevalent enough in a particular setting to no longer feel uncomfortable. Participants will analyze photos based on this concept, as well as inclusion/exclusion, and stereotypes.

Empathy For Those We Hate

  • In this activity, participants learn about the “dark side of empathy.” They will listen to an episode of NPR’s Morning Edition and discuss the concepts of tribalism and empathy, as well as how attitudes toward empathy have changed over time.

Tools and Publications from Michelle Campbell*

Self-Care 101

  • Self-care advice that is available online can often be inaccessible (e.g. many people cannot afford to pay for a massage or spa day). Therefore, this activity asks participants to develop self-care guides that are inclusive and accessible to individuals from a variety of backgrounds.


  • In this adapted simulation activity, participants pretend that they are shipwrecked on an island, and they must work together to survive and escape. Through this simulation they develop communication, decision-making, and teamwork skills.

Intercultural learning in semester-long study abroad: A comparative analysis of the effectiveness of one-on-one versus group-mentored interventions

  • This publication in the HubICL Research Repository is a collaboration between Daniel Jones, Michelle Campbell, and Kris Acheson-Clair that was originally published in the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching. It corroborates the findings of previous studies that address mentorship in study abroad programs.

*Brittany Biesiada and Michelle Campbell both graduated from the Purdue English Department in May 2019. Biesiada is now an instructor in the English departments at Monmouth University and Rutgers University. Campbell is a communications consultant at Duke University in the Pratt School of Engineering.

Please upload your original or adapted tools here to have them included in the September issue of the HubICL Hubbub.


HubICL Growth




As of July 2020, the HubICL has reached 2,048 members and 593 tools in the Toolbox! The HubICL membership spans 585 institutions of higher education, 146 private/nonprofit/government organizations, and 52 K-12 institutions.

The HubICL was created by Purdue University's Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment, and Research (CILMAR)

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