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Interview with CILMAR's Director: A Serendipitous Start to the HubICL

Kris_recent.jpgThrough the Intercultural Learning Hub, affectionately known as "the HubICL," Purdue University's Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentoring, Assessment, and Research (CILMAR) is striving to create the online intercultural resource for specialists, professors, and students. The HubICL should become a "one-stop-shop" for all intercultural questions and resources, according to Kris Acheson-Clair, Director of CILMAR.

When Acheson-Clair was hired to work for CILMAR in July 2016, she described her vision for a "virtual space all things intercultural."

It was "serendipity" that got the HubICL started, as a series of unrelated events led to its founding.

Dr. E. Daniel Hirelman, Chief Corporate and Global Partnerships Officer at Purdue, discussed Purdue's use of the popular Hub science-gateways with Dr. Michael Brzezinski, Dean of International Programs, and asked if CILMAR had the potential to use such a gateway for intercultural resources.

At the same time, Annette Benson, then an intercultural learning specialist at CILMAR, was doing her graduate work in Strategic Communication and thinking about how to promote CILMAR on a world-wide scale, beyond the gates of Purdue.

Together, Brezinski, Acheson-Clair, and Benson considered whether CILMAR could use a Hub platform for intercultural resources. Once they decided to move forward, CILMAR officially received funding to begin development of a Hub in February 2018.

As Acheson-Clair reflected, without each of these pieces falling into place, the HubICL “wouldn’t have happened.”

To get the HubICL started, CILMAR staff worked with the HUBzero programming team to understand how their needs for an intercultural platform differed from those of more STEM-focused science gateways. The programmers then translated CILMAR’s vision for the HubICL Toolbox, a new Hub feature, into code. The Toolbox is a central place to locate and share activities, media, assessment, curriculum, and other intercultural resources. The HubICL officially launched to users in November 2018.

For Acheson-Clair, the HubICL is already well on its way to fulfilling her original vision. She hopes to see the Toolbox grow more robust, and hopes to see external users contribute new tools, reviews, notes, and feedback for the Toolbox to become a community effort, like Wikipedia. She also wants to see the publication section grow, considering one day turning it into an online journal, and is interested in using a Hub Forum as a job board.

The HubICL has enabled CILMAR to take its mission around the world, and now, as Acheson-Clair explains, it “cuts across everything we’re doing. Each project generates content for the Hub or the Hub feeds content into it.”

She emphasized that the HubICL touches on every line of the CILMAR mission: intercultural development, fostering interaction, mentoring, assessment, and cutting-edge scholarship.

The future of the HubICL is “unimaginable” for Acheson-Clair, as she hopes to one day enter “intercultural learning” into Google and see the HubICL returned as the first search result. “That would mean we made it the virtual space.”


New Toolbox Tools

Looking for something new you can use for intercultural learning with faculty, staff, and students? Then check out these original tools submitted to the HubICL Toolbox in January and February 2020.

Martians at the Airport

Adapted by Katherine Yngve

Adapted from Batchelder's (1993) "Martian Anthropology," Martians at the Airport gives mores specific instructions for using this tool at the airport before the airplane takes off for an education abroad destination.

Worldview Questionnaire

"We Americans" by the Avett Brothers (song)

Civil Discourse—Smarter Everyday

Created by Dr. Daniel C. Jones

These three tools are designed to meet the need for understanding others' worldviews and participating in civil discourse. Worldview Questionnaire walks students through the process of gathering information about a worldview other than their own while We Americans encourages participants to engage with a song via their own worldview and the worldview of others. Civil Discourse enables participants to receive and share opinions in a non-judgmental way.

My Plan for Intercultural Growth

Created by Dr. Aletha Stahl

Created for use with the ASKS2 survey, this short written project is designed to familiarize participants with an area of intercultural knowledge and competence in which they personally would like to grow and to help them achieve that growth.

Empathy and Fiction

The Limits of Empathy

Different Perspectives: Bias and Assumptions During Interviews

Emojis and Culture

Created by Lindsey Macdonald and Annette Benson

Based on the Clear + Vivid podcast hosted by acclaimed actor and communicator Alan Alda, Empathy and Fiction challenges participants to consider how they can feel both empathy and revulsion for fictional characters and how culture plays into those feelings. Based on the same podcast, The Limits of Empathy encourages students to consider times when they have offered or withheld empathy from someone and why. On a similar note, in Different Perspectives, participants are asked to analyze bias and assumptions by taking on the perspective of both an interviewer and an interviewee. In Emojis and Culture, participants will consider the importance of representation in digital forms of communication.

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


Upcoming HubICL Workshops and Demonstrations

**All events have been cancelled due to precautions against the COVID-19 pandemic**

Upcoming presentations that demonstrate tools from the HubICL Toolbox

Tools for Developing Grit, Emotional Resilience and Comfort with Ambiguity. Annette Benson, facilitator. April 20, noon-1:00. Purdue University—West Lafayette, Krach Leadership Center, Room 230.  To register:

From Teaching Culture to Intercultural Learning in the Language Classroom. Tatjana Babic Williams (Purdue University) and Cindy Jiang (The Ohio State University), facilitators. May 27, 10:00-11:00. NAFSA annual Conference, St. Louis, MO.

Interactive Intercultural Learning Tools for Developing Emotional Resilience. Annette Benson, facilitator. May 27, 1:00-2:00. NAFSA annual Conference, St. Louis, MO.

Upcoming presentations highlighting findings in the HubICL Research Repository

Poster: New Evidence: Facilitated learning makes ALL the difference. Assessment and Evaluation in International Education fair. Molly Stern (AFS) and Annette Benson (Purdue), presenters. May 27, 11:00-12:30. NAFSA annual Conference, St. Louis, MO.

Poster: A comparative analysis of mentoring programs in semester abroad programs. International Education Research fair. Annette Benson, presenter. May 29, 9:00-10:30. NAFSA annual Conference, St. Louis, MO.

Upcoming presentations that demonstrate the value of the HubICL

Poster: The Intercultural Learning Hub: Increasing access to ICL best practices. Uses of Technology and Social Media in International Education fair. Annette Benson, presenter. May 26, 2:00-3:30. NAFSA annual Conference, St. Louis, MO.

Designing Intercultural Learning Experiences: Innovative Global, Local, and Virtual Partnerships. Kaite Yang, Stockton University; Annette Benson, Purdue University; Jennifer Cooley, University of Northern Iowa; Timothy White, New Jersey City University; facilitators. May 27, 2:30-3:30. NAFSA annual Conference, St. Louis, MO.

Lightning round demonstration of the HubICL. Annette Benson, presenter. IFSA Conference. Late July 2020.

HubICL Growth




As of February 2020, the HubICL has reached 1,372 members and 484 tools in the Toolbox!

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

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