Aston launches Intercultural Competency Framework

The University is launching its Intercultural Competency Framework

As part of Crossing Boundaries: Aston’s Year of Ethnicity & Culture, the University is introducing an Intercultural Competency Framework. CIT Group 9 of the ExCL Programme has developed the Framework and worked with other Aston staff with expertise in this area on its implementation.

The University already promotes equality and diversity in all aspects of its work, and the Framework has been designed to support, and build on, Aston’s existing intercultural awareness work and the resources that are available to staff and students. These include the Equality and Diversity Unit,the International Student Support Unit, the Martin Luther King Multi-Faith Centre and the University-wide Language Programme.

The Framework clarifies expectations of both staff and students by setting out the values, knowledge, behaviour and skills required to enable us all to make an effective contribution within Aston’s diverse community and to enable our students to become global citizens.

The Framework’s aims are to:

  • Develop cultural competence amongst all students and staff to enhance teaching, learning, research, business operations and relationships
  • Promote cross cultural exchange across the institution
  • Embed intercultural awareness formally through curricula and informally in social activities and engagement
  • Incorporate the development and support of languages as an integral source of intercultural awareness thereby support the Aston Language Strategy
  • Create greater awareness of support services available for both Home and International Students.

To kick start the launch of the Intercultural Competency Framework, a series of workshops, open to all staff, have been organised. A team of staff with expertise in intercultural communication, teaching international students, and diversity in organisations, will deliver these programmes. Any member of staff can book on to the workshops through the Centre for Staff & Graduate Development webpages:

Introduction to Intercultural Awareness – Tuesday 17 May (10am – 12noon)


  • Dimensions of culture and identity
  • How culture and educational background affect staff and students’ understanding of UK culture and UK Higher Education.

Developing Intercultural Competency – Tuesday 31 May (10am – 12noon)


  • Using our understanding of the dimensions to inform our practice
  • Critical incidents
  • Improving communication-crossing boundaries.

Politeness, Behaviour and Interpersonal Communication: Developing a better understanding across Diverse Cultures – Wednesday 22 June (10am – 12noon)


  • Oral communication

  • Formal vs informal forms of address

  • Body language

  • Attitudes to time

  • Written communication: emails etc.

In addition, there will be an open workshop/ debate for academic staff about the principles of adapting this approach to teaching and learning for a diverse student body. The sessions will be repeated in November. 

The Framework is designed to be simple and Schools and Departments will be able to decide how best to use, and measure, the Framework in their areas.

Download the Intercultural Competency Framework.

Words by Louise Russell
8 April 2011

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