MELBOURNE, FLA.—Florida Institute of Technology’s Institute for Cross Cultural Management (ICCM) has received a $280,000 grant from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI). The grant will fund the study of cultures around the world and the development of training materials to improve the cultural competence of U.S. military members.
ICCM faculty will conduct primary research on regions of interest as well as rely on the cultural expertise of Florida Tech international students. More than 1,100 international students from more than 100 countries are enrolled at the university.
“You can learn a little about another culture from reading, but that information pales in comparison to what you can learn in a brief conversation from someone who has lived in that culture,” said Professor Richard Griffith, director of ICCM.
Information collected from research and from student experiences will be used to develop scenarios used in cultural training. The scenarios, which will be filmed for multimedia presentation, will be shown to trainees who must attend to the details of the scenes. They must understand the cultural context and choose the right response to a series of “what would you do next” questions.
This form of assessment, called a situational-judgment test, is ideal for training cultural competence, if the cultural cues are accurate.
Florida Tech international students will serve as cultural subject matter experts and review the scenarios to ensure they accurately portray the situations that military members are likely to encounter. When the scenarios are verified they will be transferred to multimedia clips located on DEOMI’s website where they can be accessed for training by soldiers deployed around the world. During the grant period, ICCM will develop a full database of cultural knowledge and situational-judgment scenarios.
“The database will aid DEOMI by providing quick access to key cultural experiences, narratives, subject matter and consultation. Such a resource will help DEOMI and Florida Tech to develop realistic scenarios to support the next generation of training, education, simulations and measures,” said Daniel McDonald, DEOMI director of research. “The goal of these tools is to ensure a more adaptive military of diverse backgrounds, which can handle a broader spectrum of missions more effectively worldwide.”