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    3rd May 2006

    Cross Cultural Engagement.

    Calvin College has a Cross Cultural Engagement (CCE) requirement such that every student who graduates from Calvin must have at some point in their college careers intentionally interacted with people of other cultures(and then critically evaluated that interaction). Many students fulfill this requirement while studying abroad. Others take classes which have integral pieces related to CCE, such as Survey of Latin American History or a class where you are conversation partners with a Korean seminary student. The CCE guidelines on the Calvin registrar’s page lists the following as guidelines for designing a CCE class:

    “Objectives:
    1)to gain skills in cross-cultural communication
    2)to understand how the world might look from the standpoint of another community of interpretation and experience
    3)to learn how to discern and, where appropriate, adapt to the cultural expectations of the other
    4)to learn how to distinguish between the enduring principles of human morality and their situation-specific adaptations
    5)to witness other cultural embodiments of faith, and thus to reflect on the substance and definition of one’s own faith by comparison.
    The four components of orientation, direct engagement experience, reflection, and evaluation are curricular criteria of any courses fulfilling the CCE requirement.”

    The full guidelines for what cross cultural engagement is what a course must do to meet that requirement, see: http://www.calvin.edu/admin/fdrn/documents/CCE–Implementation%20Document–Final%20Revision–Aug.,%202003-x%20(Feb.2004).doc

    I don’t want to get out of doing cross cultural engagement, but I was hoping to get approval to write a paper describing my experience at Craig Hospital, where I was immersed in a culture of disability. I wrote an e-mail to the Social Work professor who is also in charge of the CCE requirement. She informed me that the culture of disability wasn’t generally considered by her department to qualify for the CCE credit. I understand this. Its ok. Even students who grew up overseas or are international students or who are married to people of different race or culture don’t get exempt from the CCE requirement.

    But I did still need the CCE credit, so I signed up for the last-chance-for-seniors-who-want-to-graduate CCE class called “Exploring Racism”. The class only met 3 times for 3 hours each, and we had to participate in 3 outside of class activities and read some articles and then write about all of it. The class was itself rather enjoyable, or it has been – I still have to finish the writing portion.

    Now another thread of this story: This semester I’ve been meeting with a guy who is taking a class called Community Based Performance. In the class they get to know people and then interview them with the objective of making a script out of their own words and performing it as a way to stimulate discussion and thought about different subjects. Last semester my friend Sam, who is a Sudanese Lost Boy, participated with this class. This semester their theme was disability and so I was asked if I would be willing to help and I was.

    Last weekend the class performed before a movie screening on Calvin’s campus. Between the performance and the film there was a discussion led by Calvin’s Professor Chris Smit, himself an expert concerning the portrayal of disabilities in culture (and himself a wheelchair user). In that conversation it came out that the members of this class were receiving CCE credit for the class – sure enough the class is on the list of approved courses.

    So here I’ve been denied my request to write for credit about my experience getting know a great number of folks with spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, and now I’m taking this last-chance class – but these students are getting CCE credit for interviewing me!

    No real complaints, but I do think its a bit bizarre on the whole.

    2 comments

    2 Responses to “Cross Cultural Engagement.”

    1. Mike says:

      Yeah well i have a few things to say to all this i do think it is kind of ridiculous with the whole CCE situation, but “exploring racism” does sound kind of cool. I just watched Mississippi Buring this last weekend, a good movie about mississippi in 64′. Also, just to update to you a little, i took the ACT again last week and i know i did much better on it than my first assessment, which came back with a failure 29. Today i took the BC Calc AP test, it was rough, but i am still confident i got at least a 4, but maybe a 5. AP physics is on monday. also, you should call sometime or something, so we can figure out if you are coming back here or what-not.

    2. Tim & Kristin Jones says:

      Daryl –

      We totally feel your pain. Tim, too, was preparing to graduate this semester. This semester as he was completing his student teaching requirement, UNC suddenly decided that they had originally given him credit for some classes that they shouldn’t have. We spent at least three weeks agonizing over this news and trying to get answers from advising and the registrar’s office. Finally, on Monday (graduatin is tomorrow)they got their act together and accepted responsibility for the original degree audit/plan.

      So, you and your former coach and friend will graduate from college this Spring.

      Good Luck! We are pulling for you.

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    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.