Universities must be aware of the cultural context of their academic community before they can become responsive, active participants. Local, provincial, national and international communities come together on campus, and the University of Alberta must be able to appropriately respond to each of their needs.
The Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry (FoMD) recognizes that its students, residents and faculty are recruited from around the globe. Our goal is not change others, but to embrace diversity and share our realities. An example of the university's awareness of and appreciation for cultural diversity that exists in the FoMD is the Cultural Integration Workshops. A group of faculty participated for a 36-hour workshop in March and April 2011; a second group participated in a condensed 18-hour cultural integration experience in February 2012. Both groups stated that these professionally-facilitated workshops raised their awareness of the intimate relationship between cultural survival and enhancing creativity. The FoMD recognized the value of engaging the faculty members in facilitated session on cultural awareness.
Academic Peer Mentorship training and peer-to-peer mentorship for preceptors and residents is another example of the value that the FoMD places on sharing cultural experiences in a respectful and supportive environment. The Manual for Academic Mentorship was developed by representatives from different departments in the FoMD. The resource guides mentors and the mentees with the following:
- identifying roles and responsibilities of bother partners
- developing strategies for balancing teaching, research, service and personal lives
- tailoring the mentorship experience to identified needs
- recognizing these valuable, supportive relationships
Learners and practitioners have opportunities for service-learning, international experiences and other forms of active learning. These opportunities expand their sense of commitment to their vocation, life-long learning and the advancements of their communities.