Working Across Difference Initiative (WADI)
The ability to work effectively across differences is essential to student success and meeting employer demands. CFANS and The University of Minnesota recognize the importance of graduating students who demonstrate intercultural competency — the ability to recognize difference and authentically engage different cultures, races, life experiences, and knowledge systems. Skills such as self-awareness, appreciation of differences, tolerance of ambiguity, and understanding diverse philosophies and cultures are formally acknowledged as learning objectives for the University’s Student Learning and Development Outcomes.
CFANS developed the Working Across Difference Initiative (WADI) (.pdf) to fulfill these outcomes and to meet its own undergraduate strategic priority of enhancing multicultural and global competencies. This comprehensive initiative has three core components: 1) curriculum, 2) pedagogy, and 3) student assessment. CFANS students in all majors and in each year of undergraduate education will take courses and participate in activities (e.g., study abroad and service learning) that intentionally incorporate multiple cultural perspectives to develop intercultural competency, learn about cultural similarities and differences, and how those differences frequently result in unequal impacts on peoples and communities. Learn more about this initiative by viewing the WADI Prezi.
Teaching Across Difference
The CFANS Office for Diversity and Inclusion leads the Teaching Across Difference (TAD) community of Practice in collaboration with the CFANS Student Services Office and staff from the University's Center for Educational Innovation. This program provides workshops and other resources to assist faculty to actively integrate topics of diversity and inclusive pedagogy in their teaching. The resources available on the TAD Canvas site support teaching and learning that incorporate explicit exploration of intercultural content, diverse perspectives, and self-awareness. Learn more in this Campus Climate opinion piece.
Looking toward the future
We envision that DE courses will be organized by the faculty/curriculum committees into a coherent Diversity Enriched Curriculum. The intention is that most/all CFANS programs will structure and sequence diversity enriched courses that allow them to build upon each other through the undergraduate experience leading to culturally/diversity competent graduates.
Faculty, staff, post-docs and students across the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) contributed to the development of this initiative. The following CFANS committees also support or have supported the project: Teaching Across Difference (TAD), the Faculty Consultative Committee (FCC), the Undergraduate Policy and Review Committee (UPRC), and the CFANS Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.
In consultation with the University of Minnesota Office for Equity and Diversity and the Center for Educational Innovation, among other units, the DEC has been a highly collaborative effort led by CFANS. Without the support and dedication of all our partners — from inside the college and beyond — we would never have reached the rollout of this initiative. Below is a list of those whose time, energy and thinking made the DEC possible.
The list is organized alphabetically by first name and includes the unit each contributor was associated with at the time of their involvement in DEC work.
Many others have contributed to this work over time, and we greatly appreciate what they added to the program. If you notice that we missed someone, please email [email protected] to request they be added.
The Diversity Enriched Curriculum (DEC) builds on the strong foundation established by the Working Across Difference Initiative (WADI) and Teaching Across Difference (TAD). As we formally sunset WADI and TAD, we hold deep gratitude for the stakeholders, contributions, and research from each program as their previous successes have paved the way for the evolution into DEC.
Through WADI, we learned we must be intentional about developing intercultural competence, both on and off campus. Through TAD, we built the tools and relationships to make this possible. And now, through DEC, we are offering CFANS a framework for scaffolding curriculum to offer students progressive learning and development opportunities throughout the duration of their undergraduate career.
Our deepest appreciation to those involved in WADI and TAD, and we are excited to continue the meaningful work together through DEC.