An Educational Intervention to Increase Intercultural Compete ...

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The noticeable shift in interior design practice toward understanding issues of emotional and cultural intelligence offers opportunities for educational programs to provide direct impact through increasing the levels of emotional and cultural intelligence of emerging interior design practitioners (interior design students). The use of intercultural competence (ICC) as part of critical professional training in many fields aligns to the abovementioned idea, as ICC seeks to understand how professionals functionalize their understandings of cultural differences into policies and solutions that are appropriate for their professional setting. With this understanding of ICC, researchers seek to understand how course-level curriculum interventions affect the ICC levels of emerging interior design practitioners. The present paper is a case study of a curricular intervention to increase interior design students’ intercultural competency. The research design utilizes the proprietary Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) survey as the pre- and post-test to measure ICC changes in an undergraduate, theory-based lecture course. The intervention engaged students in learning experiences related to community spaces, social justice, global issues of design, and sustainability, with the intent to improve ICC levels. While a preliminary review of the data indicated no change in the collective cohort’s ICC levels, a chi-square analysis of data revealed a meaningful change in the individual students. Specifically, the interventions (1) gave students a deeper understanding and insight of their culture and cultural norms over others; and (2) allowed for significant individual changes along the IDI continuum. The results imply a connection between course-level curriculum interventions and ICC levels, which indicates the ability to change students’ ICC through strategic academic intervention and work.