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Training and Education

The institute offers four major programs:

1. Undergraduate Academic Intercultural Training Certificate (ITC)

The mission of this certification program is to provide Grand Valley students the opportunity to learn about and interactive with people from different cultural groups, and to more fully prepare themselves for life after graduation. The goals of the certificate program are to

  • support students' development of a broader lens on the world, and their ability to operate with an increased awareness when interacting with others, making decisions, and assuming leadership roles and responsibilities;
  • increase students' diversity awareness including local, national, and international perspectives;
  • provide an opportunity for students to develop an individualized portfolio of diversity experiences that may be shared with potential employers or future academic institutions;
  • improve students' ability to engage in respectful and comfortable dialogues on issues of diversity, inclusiveness, and multiculturalism;
  • provide opportunities for students to practice their heightened cultural awareness and enhanced diversity skills in multiple settings; and
  • help students achieve consciousness of the dynamics inherent in cultures interaction.

Please visit the ITC website at:

2. IITL Community Trainings

The Institute for Intercultural Teaching and Learning provides training in intercultural awareness and sensitivity for members of the West Michigan (and larger) community. Training lasts 4-5 weeks, with online content and a weekly in-class session, and is offered in three progressive levels: Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Level Silver: Builds on the institute's broad definition of culture and gives participants the basic tools to build respect, and a greater sense of value and appreciation for the beliefs, cultural practices, and worldviews of people who are different from themselves, including but not limited to racial differences. This level will address crosscultural knowledge, awareness, and communication skills.

Level Gold:  Builds a skillset in cultural interactions. Level Gold trainings can be adapted for targeted professional groups, such as the health care community, business community, or K-12 teachers.

Those wishing to achieve even higher levels of training are accommodated in Level Platinum Training --- Master Class in Community Change. This training offers intense, hands-on, skill building training in which accomplished participants conceive and design projects to improve intercultural competence in their workplaces and communities.

Participants who complete each of these levels earn a Certificate of Completion; those who complete all three levels earn a Certificate of Distinction. Though not an academic credential, these certificates commemorate participants' accomplishments and document their professional development.


3. Room for Growth

Future programs of IITL

As the Institute for Intercultural Teaching and Learning grows and secures additional funding, program offerings will expand to include:

  • Postbaccalaureate Academic Intercultural Training Certificate -- Targeted at graduate students and members of the community who have completed a bachelor's degree.
  • Annual Speaker Series on intercultural competence -- Featuring a nationally renowned expert in the field and a local person who is transforming the community.
  • College faculty training - On creating and sustaining inclusive and culturally relevant curricula.
  • K-12 teacher training -- On creating and sustaining curricula and classrooms.
  • Continuing Education courses -- On special topics that will fulfill CEU criteria in multiple professional fields.
  • Postdoctoral training -- To create curricula that include intercultural competence and social justice, and to teach others to do the same.
  • Best Practices in Intercultural Competence Conference -- Featuring presentations from leading experts in academia and practitioners.
  • A peer-reviewed journal -- Featuring the best of conference proceedings and original creative works of students.