The Honors College Cross-Cultural Competency Course

Me, You, We - web banner for the Cross-Cultural Competency Course

How do we create a cross-cultural community based on respect, communication, and empathy—a beloved community?

The Cross-Cultural Competency Course (CCC) was born out of student advocacy to advance respect, inclusion, and belonging of the Honors College community, a unique and intimate interdisciplinary living-learning experience with a mission focused on social impact and inclusive excellence.

As our world becomes more diverse, those who rise will be those embodying the skills of empathy, understanding, critical thinking, respect, and collaboration. The Honors College prepares students for their next chapter by providing them with the opportunity to hone these skills in the CCC. Specifically, during the course, students unpack issues such as racism and inequality, evaluate their role in knocking down barriers to belonging, and engage with peers collaboratively to create a final project focused on Advancing True Inclusion.

Directed by Dr. Patricia O'Brien-Richardson, this 10-week course is now a requirement for Honors College students beginning Fall 2022, fulfilling the Honors College Byrne Seminar requirement. CCC embodies three units: Identity, Interaction, and Interdependence, or, simply put Me, You, and We.

 

CCC Goals


Learn respectfully about and be sensitive to cultural differences

Understand what it takes and means to be culturally competent

Be able to apply their understanding of cultural differences to other contexts beyond the course and classroom into the community

Understand Rutgers’s historical context, its demographics, and current cultural social issues on campus

 


Featured Advancing True Inclusion Projects

Below are a few of the many Advancing True Inclusion Projects created by student teams during Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 as part of the Cross-Cultural Competency Course; projects were created with a focus on implementation at the Honors College and Rutgers at large.

◊ Halal Options at Rutgers ◊ 

This project challenges Rutgers University Dining to provide transparent Halal options at Brower Commons so that Muslim students on campus have a space where they can get the food needed in order to eat according to their religion and culture.

Student Team Members:

  • Hadia Dutt
  • Tanishq Jagoori
  • Kamil Szczech

◊ Disordered Eating in Honors College ◊ 

This project helps to shed light on how disordered eating affects people living all around us. Through a two-part series podcast, these students will have conversations about the spectrum of disordered eating in order to illuminate and hopefully help others overcome disordered eating habits.

Student Team Members:

  • Hannah Arbeitel
  • Neli Elhadad 
  • Krishma Kapoor

◊ Health and Hygiene Help at the HC ◊ 

This project focuses on the accessibility of period products in the bathrooms at the HC. Menstruation is unavoidable as a biological process for many students here. With bathroom equality for all at the forefront, the goal is to provide anyone who menstruates access to necessary products and a space of no judgment.

Student Team Members: 

  • Ryan Davis 
  • Varshini Gopalakrishnan 
  • Gabe Farabaugh 
  • Maya Stokley 

◊ RU Aware of Your Words ◊ 

This project proposes an educational Instagram social media campaign to show people the history of words and why words matter. The campaign would involve creating graphic design flyers with QR codes for posting and would ask for feedback from followers to evolve our collective learning.

Student Team Members:

  • Kaitlyn Adkins
  • Arianna Entero
  • Nadine Odeh
  • Victoria Richard

◊ Awareness Bulletin Board Calendar ◊  

This project involves creating a calendar to display holidays, awareness weeks, religious observances, and monthly observances throughout the year, helping to raise awareness for observances during each month.

Student Team Members:

  • Bennett Allen 
  • Nubia Finklin 
  • Naomi Morfe 
  • Abass Rahim 

◊ Are You Culturally Competent? ◊ 

This project focuses on understanding students' level of Cultural Competency by surveying them. The project also highlights social justice and music and their key takeaways from the Cross-Cultural Competency Course. 

Student Team Members:

  • Keri Iwasko 
  • Gianna Mignano 
  • Liam O'Neill 
  • Amber Thane 

◊ Disability Awareness and Inclusivity ◊ 

This project highlights ways in which the Honors College and greater Rutgers community can rehab and create facilities that promote a greater sense of belonging for students with disabilities.

Student Team Members:  

  • Emilia Dul
  • Amanda Salemi

◊ Native American Awareness ◊ 

This project walks us through the challenging history for Native American people in our country and proposes ideas for a more inclusive Native American culture in our community with a special focus on Women's Rights within the Native American communities.

Student Team Members:  

  • Ethan Divine
  • Ben Evans

◊ Black History at Rutgers: An Interactive Mural ◊ 

This project proposes creating an interactive mural at the Honors College focused on honoring Black achievement at Rutgers and highlighting the oft-forgotten Black history here, thereby confronting the institution's history of anti-blackness, linking to the Scarlet and Black Digital Archive for related content, and creating a more welcoming space for Black students at the HC and Rutgers at large.

Student Team Members:  

  • Vaughn Battista
  • Ravi Shah

◊ More Than Just International: Inclusion Starts with Understanding ◊ 

This project creates a way for international students at Rutgers to share, connect, and celebrate their identities and their cultures with fellow students, including both a discovery feature in the form of a questionnaire as well as a chat component to help raise awareness and educate.

Student Team Members:  

  • Shiv Sreekanth
  • Arielle Ravett

Darnell Thompson
“Being able to engage with these high-achieving students on social issues, challenge their perspectives, learn from their experiences in order to cultivate their activism has been a highlight of my career.”
~ Darnell Thompson, CCC Instructor


Emily Sullivan

“Teaching the Cross-Cultural Competency course allowed me to meaningfully engage with topics I would not normally see in the academic setting as a STEM student. It gave me the opportunity to delve into social justice topics that I am passionate about while connecting with Honors College freshmen, forming bonds with the next class of Changemakers.”
~ Emily Sullivan, CCC Student Learning Assistant


Corina Hernandez

“I feel incredibly lucky to have started this journey with True Inclusion’s robust vision which was generated from a deep passion for change. Facilitating and learning alongside the Honors College students solidifies my passion for educating for social justice.”
~ Corina Hernandez, CCC Instructor


Justin Najimian

“It was a privilege to assist in educating the new entrants of the Honors College…and help guide them on their path to becoming more conscious of the things that they can do in everyday life to demonstrate cultural humility.”
~ Justin Najimian, CCC Student Learning Assistant


Anthony Jones

“My experience teaching the Cross-Cultural Competency Course was truly impactful personally as I was able to challenge myself through the various readings and questions that students had. As an African-American male, it was significant that I was able to teach a course at Rutgers (I never had an African-American Male teacher during my time at Rutgers).”
~ Anthony Jones, CCC Instructor


Justin Kelley

"Teaching this course has been liberating and makes me hopeful for the future of the HC and the greater Rutgers community. It's been nothing short of a melting pot full of love and learning and I'm proud to be in the room with such inspiring students and leaders at the HC."
~ Justin Kelley, CCC Instructor


Peri Burton

"It was refreshing and inspiring to hear the open mindedness expressed by the students in the Cultural Competency course. Additionally, the course’s conversations about identity and culture always provided me with valuable new perspectives."
~ Peri Burton, CCC Student Learning Assistant


Course Information

01:090:230, sections HA, HC, HD, HE, HG, HI | All sections meet in the Honors College

Meeting times: Monday 1:00 pm; Tuesday 7:00 pm (2 sections); Wednesday 3:00 pm; Thursday 9:00 am; Friday 1:00 pm


Course Director

Patti O'Brien Richardson

 
  Patricia O'Brien-Richardson

  View Bio
 

 

Course Instructors

 

Learning Assistants

Peri Burton

Peri Burton

CCC Learning Assistant

Emily Sullivan

Emily Sullivan

CCC Learning Assistant

Justin Najimian

Justin Najimian

CCC Learning Assistant