I recently had the pleasure of working with some Women in Technical Communication during a #teachingtalk on Intercultural Communication. The discussion, led by the ever-fabulous Lucia Dura, prompted us to consider our goals for intercultural communication. We worked to establish goals, means, and outcomes for a range of classes: Elizabeth and I, for example, are teaching service courses at our universities, where Tatiana and Jen are working on specifically Intercultural courses.

I learned a lot from working with these women, but here are some notable takeaways:

  • Intercultural Communication is often treated as an aside or a specialty; we agreed that intercultural communication, ideally, should be integrated throughout professional writing/writing majors;
  • Intercultural is more than just international or global; our students encounter intercultural situations regularly, but they might not identify them because instruction often privileges international rather than domestic interculturality.
  • Notions of professionalism, which sometimes [if not often] motivate our PW courses, are wrapped up in culture and power, and if we allow professionalism to dominate our classes, we have a responsibility to communicate this transparently to our students;
  • Intercultural Communication is difficult to teach because it is so wrapped up culture and power, so the means by which we assess adeptness in this area need to be concrete;
  • One way to make the expectations concrete is to anchor the idea of intercultural communication in specific scenarios or specializations–this gives a site of application for the critical thought required of intercultural communicators.

This list is incomplete. And we all felt we needed more time to consider how to enact our goals for intercultural communication, but our next step is to develop some shared language, assignments, and assessment tools for integrating intercultural communication across curricula in PW/TC.