Intercultural competence is an essential tool in the 21st century and an integrated part of global readiness. A hidden curriculum plays an essential role in intercultural competence in higher education (Blasco & Tackney, 2013; Elliot et al., 2016; Leyerzapf & Abma, 2017). This hidden curriculum represents faculty’s beliefs, preconceived ideas, and behaviors unintentionally delivered and indirectly expressed in their words and actions to their students. These students, in turn, enter the workforce embracing those same values. Faculty must engage in empathy practice and self-reflection and become aware of their own biases and hidden negative thinking patterns. Recently, virtual reality (VR) has been used to foster inclusion and minimize bias in education (Gallardo-Williams & Dunnagan, 2022). However, research largely focused on using VR to enhance students’ intercultural competence (Shadiev et al.; Watt et al., 2016) and not on the faculty.
The presenter will describe a framework she has developed to enhance faculty intercultural competence. The framework draws on cognitive, emotional, and compassionate empathy to help faculty recognize and understand the perspective of others and develop a positive attitude. The last element of this framework is self-reflection. The presenter will then provide a preliminary description of VR empathy training to enhance faculty’s intercultural competence and how immersive experience offers the advantage of having faculty put themselves in the position of students from different cultures/ethnicities.
Ragia Hassan, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States