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ACRL 2019 President's Program

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“Walking the Walk” of Inclusion: Assessment Resources that Support Equity in Learning, Teaching and Mentoring

by Hallie Clawson on 2019-05-27T07:00:00-05:00 | 0 Comments
This week's post comes from Katherine Yngve, Associate Director of Learning Outcomes Assessment at CILMAR, Purdue UniversityLearn more about our guest authors on our Featured Authors page.
Equity is advanced in higher education when personal intercultural incompetence is reduced and replaced by the ability to value and honor the advantages of diversity. At Purdue University’s new Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research (CILMAR), our work focuses on helping faculty, students and staff move along the hierarchy of proficiency from unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence when it comes to working inclusively across difference (i.e., walking the walk of inclusion). As CILMAR’s Associate Director of Learning Outcomes Assessment, I propose here some of my favorite resources for helping ourselves and others work towards inclusive and equitable educational and work practices.
In their superb “Moving Towards Culturally Responsive Assessment” white paper, Montenegro and Jankowski (2017) correctly point out that if assessment does not proceed from a mindset of equity, it can and will reinforce learners’ fears that they do not belong in higher education or in certain professions. One of the best tools that I know for proceeding from an equity mindset in one’s higher education assessment practice was introduced to the CILMAR group by team member Florence Adibu. The Integral Evaluator Self-in-Context Model, developed by Hazel Symonette, is a four-quadrant self-assessment model for reflecting upon and improving both one’s self-empathy and social empathy in multicultural contexts. Use of the instrument is fully described in her “Culturally Responsive Evaluation as a Resource for Helpful-Help,” a chapter published in Continuing the Journey to Reposition Culture and Cultural Context in Evaluation Theory and Practice (Hood, Hopson and Frierton, 2014). This book belongs in every library that cares about equity! 
Does the struggle for greater inclusivity and equity in education sometimes lead you to feel discouraged and frustrated? Emotional resilience — the elasticity or “grit” that allows an individual to sit in discomfort, suspend judgement, and/or shoulder the burden of speaking truth to power — is essential to intercultural competence (and thus inclusivity and equity), but very rarely taught in higher education settings. Spearheaded by CILMAR team member Annette Benson, the Intercultural Learning Hub is a free, virtual community of practice in which sharing with and learning from other EDI advocates can emotionally sustain you in tough times. Searching the Hub on the term “Emotional Resilience” yields three assessment tools for helping individuals understand their level of emotional resilience plus a host of activities, curated collections and mindfulness readings for teaching and practicing emotional resilience with others. There are also 30 resources under the related heading “Empathy,” 15 resources to help learners unpack and move beyond “Stereotyping” and 42 activities for teaching “Openness.” For helping groups learn to move beyond stereotyping without polarizing around race, gender or politics, I myself am particularly in awe of the lesson plan and materials developed (well before CILMAR existed!) by Benson and her colleague Wilfrido Cruz to bring noted diversity consultant Mark Williams’ 2001 book (and self-assessment tool) 10 Lenses to higher education audiences. You can find Benson’s collection, entitled “Diversity and Inclusion: The 10 Lenses” (2018) on the Intercultural Learning Hub. 
Finally, a shout-out to an “oldie but goodie” in the intercultural competence assessment world. Most of the tools that educators use in our attempts to address unconscious incompetence are designed to measure attitudes or changes in attitude. Yet the ultimate goal of attitude change is something rarely measured: behavior shift! In 1976, Brent D. Ruben, then the director of the Institute for Communication Studies at Rutgers University, published an article entitled “Assessing Communication Competency for Intercultural Adaptation,” in which he reported on the use of behavioral observation as a technique for assessing interactive competence in social settings of cultural difference. This article includes, as an appendix, the full text of the Behavioral Assessment Inventory he developed and validated for measuring six different aspects of intercultural competence. If you’re like me, this instrument will have you humming Aretha Franklin hits, since it measures R-E-S-P-E-C-T along with empathy, interpersonal problem-solving behavior, ambiguity tolerance and more. Check it out!
Apart from curating and supporting the Hub, the CILMAR team’s primary mission is to facilitate intercultural learning opportunities for Purdue faculty, staff and students. If you are a member of the Boilermaker West Lafayette community, you may want to check our calendar of events for information about on-campus trainings and workshops. If you are a member of the greater community of inter- and multi-cultural learning specialists, you may be interested to know that CILMAR has offered an annual institute or workshop for university-based learning professionals regularly since spring 2018 — and we look forward to doing so again in the spring or summer of 2020! You can review the agenda of the 2019 event here, and keep an eye on our Facebook page or Twitter feeds for updates on future outreach events of this sort. Our team members can be reached at


Benson, A. (2018). “Diversity and Inclusion: The 10 Lenses”. Intercultural Learning Hub Collection. Retrieved from

Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research (CILMAR) - Purdue University. (2015). Retrieved from

Hood, S., Hopson, R., & Frierson, H. (2014). Continuing the Journey to Reposition Culture and Cultural Context in Evaluation Theory and Practice. Information Age Publishing. Retrieved from

Intercultural Learning Hub. (2018). Retrieved from

Montenegro, E., & Jankowski, N.A. (2017). Equity and assessment: Moving towards culturally responsive assessment. (Occasional Paper No. 29). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

Ruben, B. (1976). “Assessing Communication Competency for Intercultural Adaptation”. Group & Organization Management. 1(3): 334-354. Retrieved from

Symonette, H. (2014). “Culturally Responsive Evaluation as a Resource for Helpful-Help”. Excerpt from Continuing the Journey to Reposition Culture and Cultural Context in Evaluation Theory and Practice. Information Age Publishing. Retrieved from

TyIzaeL. (2017). Competence Hierarchy adapted from Noel Burch by Igor Kokcharov. Retrieved from

Williams, M. (2001). The 10 lenses : Your guide to living & working in a multicultural world (1st ed.). Sterling, Va.: Capital Books.


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