Intercultural Knowledge & Effectiveness

As defined & approved as part of the Undergraduate Core Curriculum by the Purdue Faculty Senate in November 2012 & March 2015


Students graduating from Purdue University should be able to work effectively with others in various ways including in cross-cultural situations and in a global civil society. Interpersonal skills include the ability to work effectively with others both in professional practice and in relating to those outside of the discipline, in leadership roles, and as members of a team. Intercultural knowledge is founded on the ability to appreciate and critique multiple perspectives including one's own and to engage in civil discourse on complex global issues. It requires respect for and responsiveness to the beliefs and practices and cultural and linguistic needs of diverse populations. This is sometimes also known as:

"Having the ability to work effectively with people who define problems differently than you do"

--Gary L. Downey, et al "The Globally Competent Engineer" (2006)

Culturally effective systems integrate and transform knowledge about individuals and groups of people into specific standards, practices and attitudes used in appropriate settings to increase quality of services; thereby producing better outcomes. Culturally effective services are respectful of and responsive to the beliefs, practices, and linguistic needs of diverse populations.  Acquiring cultural competence is a developmental and multi-faceted process that evolves over an extended period of time for both individuals and organizational systems.

Key Skills:

  • Asks respectful questions about other cultures & actively seeks out information about other cultures;

  • Interacts willingly and appropriately with intercultural others;

  • Identifies, recognizes and is able to articulate understanding of cultural differences in verbal and non-verbal communication;

  • Identifies, recognizes and values new perspectives, and is able to articulate insights into one's own cultural rules and biases;

  • Demonstrates understanding of other cultures as regards communication styles, values, and beliefs & practices; particularly as they are influenced by or have influence upon history, politics, economy, identity and/or regional affiliation;

  • Identifies, recognizes and interprets intercultural experiences from the perspective of more than one worldview.