History and Mission of Intercultural Student Services
In 2006, the Division of Student Affairs engaged in re-alignment efforts in which the Minority Education Office (consisting of Asian & Pacific Islanders, CASA, Indian Education and Ujima) re-organized and aligned with Diversity Development and the LGBTQ and Women’s Center as the Office of Intercultural Student Services (ISS) to provide a more fluid and dynamic organization that could address the intersectionalities of race, gender, class, ethnic identity, and ability in a more comprehensive and engaging approach.
The vision set forth in this realignment reaffirmed the university’s core values of equality, opportunity and pluralism, as well as its dedication to the dissemination of knowledge in an increasingly diverse world. In doing so, however, the realignment raised issues about how to best articulate and achieve these ideals. Results from continued conversations within the Office of Intercultural Student Services contributed to the creation of a lofty Preamble, Mission and Vision statement as a way to articulate the goals and aspirations of the unit to even broader and more transcendent thinking:
As a land grant institution committed to teaching, research, and outreach and engagement, Oregon State University promotes economic, social, cultural and environmental progress for the people of Oregon, the nation and the world. This university mission is achieved by producing graduates competitive in the global economy, supporting a continuous search for new knowledge and solutions, and maintaining a rigorous focus on academic excellence, particularly in the three Signature Areas: Advancing the Science of Sustainable Earth Ecosystems; Improving Human Health and Wellness; and Promoting Economic Growth and Social Progress. The Office of Intercultural Student Services (ISS) contributes to the university’s mission by serving as an intellectual space that promotes meaningful dialogue, interaction, exploration, and reflection on issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and disabilities here in the US and abroad. The office of Intercultural Student Services provides a variety of curricular and co-curricular programs, courses, activities, and projects that work in consortium with interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives for the study and interpretation of the cultural, natural, economic, and social factors that have profoundly shaped history and created the complexity of the contemporary world. Through the efforts of the Intercultural Student Services we are uniquely poised to provide the Oregon State University student with opportunities that contribute to making the OSU student experience meaningful, relevant, and compelling and among the very best in the nation.
The mission of the Office of Intercultural Student Affairs is to build the intercultural and Cross-Cultural capacity of students through high-impact pedagogical practices and support services, so as to best inform and empower them in a globally diverse and engaged world.
The Office of Intercultural Student Services will be a national model as a responsive, progressive, scholarly and socially just community that is known for its accomplished record of engaging people and ideas from diverse backgrounds that will be able to meet the challenges of a more complex world both globally and locally.
Social Justice and Personal Responsibility
The Office of Intercultural Student Services values the humanity of all individuals, and seeks to create and instill in the campus community both at Oregon State University and beyond, meaningful dialogue, interactions and relationships that are grounded in an ethos of reciprocity, mutuality and respect leading to a call to action for the betterment of all individuals. As a result of ISS programming, students will be able to a) recognize shared interests: how the lives and fates of people in other parts of the world intersect with their own, b) develop ethical positions about issues of social justice that are informed, thoughtful, and nuanced, and c) engage in reflection, actions, and behaviors that demonstrate a sense of social justice and civic responsibility.
The Office of Intercultural Student Services fosters inter-cultural and cross-cultural learning though a broad variety of curricular and co-curricular educational opportunities that are geographically broad, historically deep, and examine the intersections of race, class, gender, religion, disabilities and national identity. Central to the mission of the Office of Intercultural Student Services is the desire to create an informed, culturally competent, globally knowledgeable, inclusive and socially responsible student body; this awareness will be instilled by creating meaningful and intentional dialogues that interact across the boundaries and borders of culture and identities. As a result of participation in ISS programming, students will be able to: a) trace global connections historically and in the contemporary world, b) challenge assumptions based on particular cultural and historical backgrounds, c) explore diverse cultural perspectives before framing problems or proposing solutions, d) analyze global and local issues in political, economic, socio-cultural, historical, and environmental contexts, e) critically analyze the nature and merit of claims about global/local events and relationships.
Intercultural Communication and Partnerships
The Office of Intercultural Student Services values collaboration and cross-campus partnerships with academic units, student affairs units, individual faculty, staff and students, members of the community and local, regional, state, national, and international organizations, linking innovative curricular and co-curricular efforts that support the growth and development of student leadership and social responsibility. Through these collaborations students will be able to a) listen respectfully, recognizing differences in communication style and etiquette across cultures, b) communicate effectively in various media (utilizing all forms of social media as well as in person encounters), c) utilize local resources and knowledge appropriately to answer question and solve problems, d) work productively in teams across time, distance, and cultural/disciplinary differences, d) observe and listen carefully as well as analytically in unfamiliar contexts to identify meaningful patters of interaction.