PULLMAN — A WSU Human Resource Services program, GREAT that began last year provides learning opportunities to enhance cross-cultural understanding.

The program, Global Resources, Education and Training (GREAT), provides a wide variety of training sessions and workshops. The broad topics range from professional to academic concerns in order to fit the diverse needs to students, faculty and staff.

“It really is unique in that it is the only series coordinated by HRS that applies equally to all WSU constituents,” said David Schmidt, training and development specialist for Human Resource Services.

The goal of the program is to help participants develop cross-cultural competencies in hopes of making WSU a more welcoming and understanding atmosphere for international visitors. 

“We are also striving to contribute to the globalization efforts at WSU, in line with the recently updated strategic plan,” said Richard Porter, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars.

Cultural Competency Training is an ongoing training course that is part of the GREAT series. It takes place on the first and last Wednesday of every month at the Heritage House.  The three-hour classes offered by the Division of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity give participants a competitive edge in today’s multicultural labor market. Participants will learn how to deal with different cultural, values, norms, customs and expectations in today’s workplace using practice techniques and real world leadership skills.

Some other training sessions that are part of the GREAT series include:

-Global Citizenship 101 Workshop, 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2

-Non-Immigrant Scholars and Students and the Process of Becoming a Permanent Resident, 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3

-Mentoring Your Non-Native English Speaking Graduate Student, 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18

-The Joys and Challenges of Working and Living Abroad, 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19 in Avery 111

At these workshops participants will take an in-depth look at cross-cultural interactions that WSU students face; learn to think critically about different cultural values and belief systems; learn about the assistance provided by WSU in the permanent residency process; learn about English as a Second Language (ESL) students and some of the challenges they face; and find ways to initiate an overseas job search.

Human Resource Services developed the series in collaboration with Porter in the Office of International Students and Scholars, as well as other university departments.  The training sessions and workshops are put on by a variety of university programs and departments including the Division of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity, the Education Abroad Office, the English Department, the Intensive American Language Center, the Office of International Students and Scholars, the International Center and the Center for Undergraduate Education.

“We are really just getting started and hope to expand the offerings currently listed over the next few years,” said Porter. “We hope that more and more people will take advantage of these opportunities and that GREAT will play a pivotal role in the process of globalization here at WSU.”

Students, faculty, staff and advisers can read about more training opportunities and can register for the sessions online at http://www.ip.wsu.edu/GREAT/index.shtml. For more information contact Human Resource Services at hrstraining@wsu.edu or call 509-335-4521.