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Research Helps Forge Cross-Cultural Connections

A new College of Education study is revealing the effects of cross-cultural interactions in the classroom, and how educators can better communicate with students from different backgrounds.Published in the journal Teaching Exceptional Children, the research “A Journey, Not a Destination: Developing Cultural Competence in Secondary Transition” looks specifically at educators who help culturally and linguistically diverse special education students transition from school to the adult world.

Tiana Povenmire-Kirk is a project coordinator at the College of Education and one of the study’s co-authors. She said cultural competence training can make a major difference in the classroom.

"Although research indicates it is important that students see individuals who have similar backgrounds in positions of authority, cultural competence development can greatly improve the services all educators deliver, and the experiences of students from diverse backgrounds," said Povenmire-Kirk.

CCI to use NSF Grant to Transform Education

The College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) has received a five-year, $2 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to fund "The Connected Learner: Design Patterns for Transforming Computing and Informatics Education." This project is a reorientation of undergraduate computing and informatics education to focus on student learning that connects to peers, the profession and the community.

"The project vision is to transform the student entering an undergraduate computing and informatics program from a person with an interest in computing to a person with an identity as a computing professional," said project principal investigator Mary Lou Maher, professor and chair of the Department of Software and Information Systems. "The project will transform faculty attitudes toward education, shifting their attitudes and behaviors away from knowledge transmission and lecturing toward a refreshed approach of developing educational activities that scaffold the computing knowledge and skills to build successful computing professionals."