The University of Iowa Graduate College promotes inclusive excellence for all students. Professional development in this area focuses on creating culturally competent professionals, who understand the influential issues of power, privilege, and oppression related to social justice. Please view the professional development calendar to find campus events, gatherings, and talks to help you further your own professional learning.
Being able to interact with your supervisor, peers, students, or anyone else is essential for basic professionalism. Learning about other people can help make you a more versatile and effective professional while also providing an enriching experience. Understanding cultural differences, current circumstances, and historical precedents can be directly relevant to issues you will encounter in the classroom, lab, and workplace.
The Office of Graduate Inclusion provides one-on-one support and lists of great learning opportunities. The Community Resources on the Graduate College’s Diversity & Inclusion page link to many organizations with web resources to help you learn about people from different backgrounds.
Cultural differences can strongly influence what communication or teamwork styles are considered most appropriate, which can have a substantial impact on interactions in a classroom, research project, mentoring setting, or workplace.
- See International Student and Scholar Services’ guide for an overview of common norms in American culture—even if you are from the USA, it’s important to see how much you may be assuming when communicating.
- See the Center for Teaching’s “Inclusive Teaching and Diversity” collection for overviews of different cultural communication styles—with many resources generalizable outside of the teaching setting.
Having a sense of commonality and belonging across various aspects of your identity can be valuable for a sense of well-being, an additional support system, camaraderie, advice, and friendships. Here are some community groups at UI:
- The Office of Graduate Inclusion (OGI) is committed to creating an inclusive and supportive community for graduate students from underrepresented populations. OGI provides information, networking, liaison support, counseling, and access to a supportive community during graduate school.
- The Center for Diversity and Enrichment embraces our responsibility to create a welcoming environment for all members of our community. This commitment includes all of our students, staff, and faculty as they pursue their goals here at Iowa.
- International Student and Scholar Services is heavily involved in intercultural and adjustment programming for students and scholars, providing cultural competency and intercultural awareness training for staff and faculty, and supporting the Iowa City area community to be a welcoming place for international visitors.
- The Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC) works to create greater equity for individuals and communities of all identities, with a particular focus on women, through activism, social justice initiatives, leadership training, advocacy, service, and personal and professional development.
- Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology - Teaching and learning are cultural experiences. Classroom behaviors and practices are strongly influenced by an instructor's own cultural background. The Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology provides publications and online resources to help graduate students in the classroom.
- Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) is a campus-wide survey of all degree-seeking undergraduate at the University. SERU provides an overview of the student experience.
- Diverse Student Organizations focused on cultural or international issues.
Good starting places include the Center for Teaching’s “Inclusive Teaching and Diversity” library and this page’s “Resources” tab. Other approaches can be to:
Actively search for works by past and current scholars in your field.
Look at example syllabi from other instructors teaching similar courses at UI or other schools.
Ask for recommendations from scholars or peers doing research or teaching in the area.
NOTE: When asking someone else for recommendations, ask on the basis of their research and teaching expertise—for example, do not assume that a Black historian will know the names of prominent Black physicists simply because they are the same race. Briefly sharing your preliminary work will also make it clear that you are asking for advice, not asking the other person to write a syllabus reading list for you.