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Did you know that best practices in teaching international students align with principles of good teaching for all UAB students?
Click here to read "Engaging in Teaching that Reaches All Students," by Melissa Hawkins, the CTL's International Teaching and Learning Specialist.


Global Awareness Series


The Center for Teaching and Learning is committed to supporting faculty in developing learning environments that include diverse perspectives and viewpoints from other world cultures, as well as promoting the development of intercultural competence among all UAB students. The CTL also endeavors to empower faculty in welcoming international students to our campus by creating inviting, inclusive classrooms that demonstrate an appreciation for the rich vitality they bring to campus life and learning.

To accomplish this goal, the CTL presents the Global Awareness workshop series, providing strategies and tips for working with and teaching international students, as well as topics related to cross-cultural communication and developing intercultural competence. Earning the CTL Global Awareness Certificate includes attending at least 6 Global Awareness workshops. See below for descriptions of upcoming Global Awareness workshops. 

In addition, attendance at 4 workshops presented by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI ) are required to receive the CTL Global Awareness Certificate. DEI workshops are presented by DEI Education Director, Dr. Michelle Allen, and include the following topics: Cultural Awareness Building Blocks, SafeZone Training, Unconscious Bias, and Bystander Intervention. See below for DEI workshop descriptions.

For more information about this workshop series, or to request that one of the workshops be taught on-site in your department, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., the International Teaching and Learning Specialist, with the UAB Center for Teaching and LearningClick here for more information about the Global Awareness Certificate.

Click on a workshop title below to view more information and to register.
If no upcoming events are listed, check out more upcoming events from other CTL workshop series.

  • Communicating Across Cultures and Languages
    When interacting with students from diverse backgrounds, differences in cross-cultural communication styles can be at the root of potential communication issues. Learn about communication differences around the globe in this practical workshop, and experience for yourself some of the challenges of speaking in a “different” language. Participants will also learn how to be a better listener to speakers from different language backgrounds and discuss tools for maximizing effective communication in English.

    Understanding the Impact of Cross-cultural Values
    Join this interactive session to learn about the most common values differences that cause conflict across global cultures. Since values are so deeply oriented within us, they affect our behavior in profound, often unconscious, ways. Learn how several general “U.S.” cultural values differ from the cultures of some of our most populous international student groups and consider the impact of this information on the classroom.

    Tweaking Lectures for Optimal Comprehensibility
    Acquiring advanced listening skills in another language is challenging. Learn what makes English, in particular, a difficult language to comprehend orally, and apply this information in specific ways to help make your spoken English more comprehensible to non-native English speakers. Then, discover strategic steps you can take to help your lectures be more effective in communicating course content.

    Helping International Students Avoid Plagiarism
    Notions of textual borrowing and sharing intellectual ideas are different across cultures. In addition, paraphrasing, and knowing what must be paraphrased versus what does not, is a rather complicated skill to master. Explore practical ways to help your international students navigate academic honesty in the American academic environment.

    Managing Group Work with Cross-cultural Savvy
    Carefully-designed, cross-cultural group work provides the most promising opportunity for intercultural learning to occur on an American university campus. In this workshop, examine the reasons that “mixed” groups of domestic and international students often fail. Consider specific steps you can employ to facilitate successful cross-cultural learning while students dynamically engage with course content at the same time.

    Please Talk! Promoting Class Participation
    International students from certain educational backgrounds are naturally reticent to speak out in class, simply due to cultural differences. Review ideas you can use to help students understand why our educational culture values classroom discussion and how to participate effectively and appropriately. Learn ways to spur on involvement spontaneously during class.

    Addressing Student Concerns with Cross-cultural Sensitivity
    Often, communication breakdowns between instructors and students occur in the outside-of-class environment. Discover the reasons behind the most typical situations in which cross-cultural communication incidents occur, including conversations about attendance, grades, grievances, classroom performance, and health. After exploring the values differences that can bring about the broken interactions, gather intercultural skills to turn these incidences around for everyone involved.

    Exploring UAB International Student Backgrounds, Part 1 and Part 2
    Our early educational experiences shape what we bring to the university classroom. Investigate the educational cultures of our most common international student populations at UAB, with a particular focus on how those backgrounds might pose cross-cultural complexities to work through upon arrival in a U.S. educational context. Discover the key ways that you can be a “cultural broker” to your students in their adjustment to studies at UAB. Part 1 covers China, India, and South Korea, while Part 2 discusses Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Mexico.

    Supporting the Development of Critical Thinking Skills
    International students are clearly not the only students on campus who sometimes need help developing critical thinking skills. However, it is also true that international students from some backgrounds do not have an expectation of critical thinking in the early years of their education and must learn those skills upon arrival in the U.S. academic environment. In this workshop, discuss ways to help all UAB students build their ability to think critically in the ways we construct our classes.

    Guiding Growth in Intercultural Skills and Attitudes
    The ability to successfully navigate intercultural encounters is not a skill that we ever stop developing. In fact, most intercultural researchers consider growth in this area to be a lifelong process, because differences in people, cultures, and situations are infinite in variability. In this workshop, we will investigate salient models of intercultural development that speak to this process. We will also explore the critical role that the development of cultural humility and growing in understanding of one’s own culture have in the development of intercultural competence. The AACU Intercultural Knowledge and Competence Value rubric will be used as a catalyst for consideration of the relative value of using the word “competency” in educational contexts, as well as how we can promote the growth of competence without implying an end point of competency achieved.

    Engaging in Teaching that Reaches All Students
    UAB has an incredibly diverse student body profile, in both visible and invisible categories of difference. Because we want to create learning environments throughout campus in which all students have a chance to acquire content from our courses and to be successful, the significance of this diversity in how we choose to teach should be recognized. Fortunately, there are fairly simple techniques teachers can incorporate that will make their instruction more effective for all types of learners. In this session, participants will review both common and less-considered areas of student diversity on UAB’s campus. In addition, participants will review and discuss actions they can take to support great teaching in their classes—ideas that are not difficult to implement but will make a significant difference.

  • Cultural Awareness Building Blocks
    Cultural Awareness Building Blocks provides the framework for gaining a nuanced understanding of the various meanings and the potential impact of diversity in higher education and the workplace. The session explores the impact of identities in workplace interactions and relationships and presents strategies and resources to better navigate and embrace cultural difference.

    Cultural Awareness Building Blocks is the foundational session in the series of four DEI classes required to achieve the CTL Global Awareness Certificate for faculty (certificate requires a total of 10 workshops, 4 of which must be DEI Global Awareness workshops).

    Participants will:

    • Increase their understanding of cultural awareness and how it applies to their work and personal interactions
    • Become familiar with key concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion
    • Learn strategies and resources that contribute to an inclusive and welcoming environment.


    Safe Zone Training
    The SafeZone program offers LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning) awareness training for all UAB faculty and staff. This two-hour session will provide an opportunity to learn about identities, terminology, concepts of gender and sexuality, and ways to create a welcoming and inclusive campus.

    Participants will also be able to sign up to receive a SafeZone trained sticker to communicate their LGBTQ friendliness, although this is not a requirement of the session. SafeZone is second in the series of four DEI classes required to achieve the CTL Global Awareness Certificate for faculty (certificate requires a total of 10 workshops, 4 of which must be DEI Global Awareness workshops).

    Participants will:

    • Increase their understanding of issues and concerns experienced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning faculty, staff and students.
    • Become familiar with current LGBTQ concepts and terminology
    • Acquire access to reliable resources and accurate information that contribute to safer, more inclusive learning and work environments.


    Unconscious Bias
    Bias is a “personal, sometimes unreasoned judgment” that can provide unconscious and often erroneous information. Understanding how our personal and cultural biases influence our decision-making and interpersonal interactions is an important step to reducing unconscious bias.

    Unconscious Bias is the third in the series of four DEI classes required to achieve the CTL Global Awareness Certificate for faculty (certificate requires a total of 10 workshops, 4 of which must be DEI Global Awareness workshops).

    Participants will:

    • Increase their understanding of unconscious biases and its presence in professional and personal behaviors and interactions
    • Become familiar with common types of personal, cultural and social bias
    • Learn about promising practices that reduce bias and contribute to an inclusive and welcoming environment.


    Bystander Intervention
    Bystander behavior has been the focus of social psychological research for over four decades. Originally developed to reduce the incidence of sexual assault and sexual violence on college campuses, the bystander model is now also used for noticing and intervening with harassing behaviors related to bullying and discrimination of all kinds.

    Bystander Intervention is the fourth in the series of four DEI classes required to achieve the CTL Global Awareness Certificate for faculty (certificate requires a total of 10 workshops, 4 of which must be DEI Global Awareness workshops).

    Participants will:

    • Increase their understanding of common types of microaggressions, bullying, and harassment
    • Become familiar with the widely accepted steps to action model for bystander interventions
    • Learn about types of intervention and explore potential barriers to action.

CTL Workshops

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