Cultural Intelligence for Universities and Secondary Teaching

Cultural Intelligence for Universities and Secondary Teaching

by Felicity Menzies
As tertiary campuses are increasingly global and diverse, cultural differences in attitudes, values, beliefs and norms for appropriate behaviour present new challenges for teaching effectiveness. Our Cultural Intelligence for Universities program draws on the expertise of the Cultural Intelligence Centre, LLC to provide faculty with strategies and tips for creating an inclusive classroom environment and teaching a culturally diverse population of students. A culturally inclusive classroom is one where students and staff alike recognise, appreciate and capitalise on diversity so as to enrich the overall learning experience.
Workshop participants reflect on their own culturally conditioned values and behavourial preferences and how those influence their interactions with others, develop an awareness of the challenges and opportunities presented by culturally diverse classrooms, and acquire a proven set of competencies to enhance their teaching effectiveness.
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About Cultural Intelligence

The Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Model

Cultural intelligence (CQ) is the collection of knowledge, skills and abilities that enable an individual to detect, assimilate, reason and act on cultural cues appropriately.

Individuals with high CQ display four main competencies:

CQ Drive - Your willingness to work with cultural diversity

CQ Drive involves your ability to overcome explicit or unconscious bias and your capacity to persist in challenging interactions—even when confused, frustrated, or burnt out.

CQ Knowledge — Your understanding of culture and cultural differences

CQ Knowledge involves more than awareness of variations in language, customs, and appearance. Core cultural differences like values, assumptions, and beliefs are often invisible but cause the most problems—and are frequently overlooked.

CQ Strategy — Your ability to flex mentally.

With high CQ Strategy, you are not confined to a single worldview. You are open to new or integrative ideas. This drives innovation and creativity.

CQ Action — Your ability to flex verbal and non-verbal behaviour.

CQ Action decreases the risk of miscommunication and helps you to respond to diverse others in a manner that conveys respect and builds trust and rapport.

CQ and Universities

The following is a sample of academic institutions that have used the CQ Model to develop intercultural competence:

  • Harvard University
  • Monash University
  • Georgetown University
  • Queen’s University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Pepperdine University
  • University of Minnesota
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Victoria
  • Stanford University
  • University of Michigan
  • The University of New South Wales
  • Chapman University
  • National University of Singapore
  • Purdue University
  • Université de Genève

How CQ Differs from Other Intercultural Models

Since 2004, when the Harvard Business Review published ‘Cultural Intelligence’,  a notable collection of established organisations across a variety of industries in more than 100 countries have embraced CQ as a tool for enhancing global effectiveness. Here’s why;


The four competencies that form high cultural intelligence are not abstract ideas. Social scientists have demonstrated that those competencies map to particular regions of the brain. Studies show they predict important measures of performance in diverse cultural settings, including better problem solving and decision-making, improved well-being, and better task performance.

In fact, CQ is a better predictor of effectiveness in diverse settings than cognitive ability, emotional intelligence (EQ), personality, demographic characteristics, language fluency and international experience.

Capability model

Cultural intelligence is not a personality trait, nor something you are born with. Rather cultural intelligence can be developed with education, training, and experience. This malleability provides companies with an opportunity to create an enviable competitive advantage—a capacity for innovation and agility—that can drive sustainable global growth.


Cultural intelligence is not about becoming an “expert” in any one culture. Rather, CQ is a set of generic competencies that transcend national borders, rigid stereotypes, and particular cultural contexts. Cultural intelligence involves an inclusive mindset and adaptable behavioural repertoire that promotes cultural fluency across varied cultural contexts. By transcending rigid stereotypes, cultural intelligence accommodates for nuanced cultural differences, and that makes CQ a powerful tool for managing the complexity of cultural diversity and unlocking its potential.

About the Workshop

 Workshop Outline

  • Understanding culture and its implications for interpersonal relations
  • Culture and teaching: how teaching and learning styles differ across cultures  with a focus on the teacher-student and student-peer relationships
  • Self-awareness: Understanding your orientation in ten main cultural dimensions
  • Other-awareness: Mapping cultural dimensions to cultural clusters
  • The cultural intelligence (CQ) model
  • Developing the four main CQ competencies
  • Mapping cultural differences to learning style
  • Avoiding stereotypes and managing complexity
  • Creating an inclusive learning environment / best practices for managing a multicultural classroom
  • Personalised development plan

Learning Outcomes

  • Increased awareness of the role of culture in teaching and learning
  • Know-how to improve cultural intelligence in self and others
  • Improved teaching effectiveness in diverse cultural settings
  • Inclusive mindset and expansive worldview
  • Personal growth
  • Enhanced adjustment and well-being

Consistent with research on adult learning, we believe that the best learning outcomes result when participants engage holistically with program content. Participants will review a “checklist” of the key components necessary to create an inclusive classroom environment and have opportunities to apply newly acquired CQ through self-reflection, interactive role plays and case studies. Activity-based instruction engages learners mentally, emotionally, and behaviourally, which aligns more closely with the realities and complexities of intercultural exchanges and improves learning outcomes. Also, because learning motivation increases when training is relevant to the participants’ lives, our workshops incorporate the real-life challenges facing participants.

Leaders, people managers and individual contributors working in diverse cultural settings at home or across borders.

Developing CQ requires commitment. The recommended length of the workshop is one-day. The full workshop may be run over two half-days or condensed into a half-day introductory session.

Recommended workshop size is 12-24 participants.

Leader participants would complete the Cultural Values Questionnaire as important input into the program.

Learn more

Please contact us for details of our fee structure.