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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Shannon M. Koller
GEN ST 197
Seattle Campus

Freshman Seminar

Small-group discussion with faculty representing a wide spectrum of academic disciplines. Topics and approaches vary. Instructor may introduce research techniques or findings, concentrate on readings in his/her area of interest, or illustrate problems and alternatives related to the study of a particular academic discipline. Credit/no-credit only. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

This seminar on cross-cultural understanding will introduce you to basic concepts, theories and best practices that are critical in developing an understanding of different cultural practices and a respect for diversity in our interdependent world. The course is designed to enhance your future international experiences - including study abroad - using these learned skills and practices. In addition to basic intercultural communication theory, you will acquire practical skills to communicate more effectively across and within cultures. This will lead to deeper interactions with other cultures and lead to a more meaningful and enhanced experience abroad.

The seminar will examine communication processes and will explore how culture influences and is influenced by the verbal and non-verbal interactions of people. You will increase your knowledge of cultural communication styles and relate the course material to any previous international experience as well as your future experiences abroad. As a cultural sojourner, you will heighten skills of observation, reflection, critical analysis, problem solving and ethical evaluation as you relate to intercultural situations. Through articles, guest speakers, discussions, films, activities and projects, you will consider various culturally sensitive perspectives and consider other personal attributes that can enhance your international experiences.

Throughout the seminar, you will be introduced to the various types of programs and locations in which UW students can study abroad so that you have the tools and information to select your first international experience as a UW student.

Student learning goals

1. Increase your cross-cultural competency, better preparing yourself for future international experiences

2. Become knowledgeable about international opportunities available to UW students

3. Create connections UW study abroad advising community

4. Create a plan for integrating study abroad into your UW degree

5. Develop a life-long curiosity about the world we live in

General method of instruction

Discussion, lecture, readings, films, reflection questions

Recommended preparation

There are no course prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

Students will be required to read various articles related to cross-cultural topics. Assignments will include self-reflection or cross-cultural analysis related to weekly topics.

To earn credit for the course, you must: 1) Attend 9 out of 10 class sessions 2) Engage in classroom discussion 3) Successfully complete course assignments and readings 4) Successfully complete end of quarter course evaluation and final project Grading is Credit/No credit.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Shannon M. Koller
Date: 09/10/2012