Cross-Cultural Competency

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 with a goal of advancing understanding of and engagement with the pursuit of equity, inclusion, and belonging throughout Rutgers and the wider community. The class is a discussion-based interdisciplinary examination aimed at promoting 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 reflecting on ways that could on advance the principles of diversity, inclusion, and equity.

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


Advancing True Inclusion

Below are some of the Advancing True Inclusion projects proposed by student teams during Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 as part of the course intended to raise awareness and initiate deeper reflection on how equity and inclusion can be elevated in our communities.

◊ 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

01:090:103 (1 cr.). | Required for all Honors Students in first year.

Meeting times: Vary

Course Instructors


Peer Instructors

Peri Burton

Peri Burton

CCC Peer Instructor

Benjamin Zhang

CCC Peer Instructor

Chelsea Mercado

CCC Peer Instructor

Ebun Adegbite

CCC Peer Instructor

Hadia Dutt

CCC Peer Instructor

Max Mendez

CCC Peer Instructor

Miriam Decker

CCC Peer Instructor

Naomi Mandar

CCC Peer Instructor

Skylar Walker

CCC Peer Instructor