Through the Global Engagement Scholar Program, undergraduate students in George Mason University School of Business have an opportunity they shouldn’t pass up to examine their own biases, cultural values, and learn how to contribute to a dynamic and global workforce.
Following a series of focus groups in which students were asked what they hoped to gain from a diversity series, what began as an idea in fall 2019 has blossomed into an engaging series of workshops with a robust curriculum. Piloted during the pandemic in spring 2020, the series includes workshops on topics such as cultural intelligence, cultural values, unconscious bias, and recognizing the impact these important factors have in supporting a diverse work environment.. This semester-long program is designed to help students understand their values, biases, and how to engage in a globally diverse environment.
“Our students will be expected to work in a globally diverse economy, with constituents of many cultural backgrounds,” says former senior academic advisor Malerie Gamblin who co-founded the program. “It is crucial that they understand how to effectively work with all people. The Global Engagement Scholars program is designed to ensure that our business students graduate with these essential skills.”
To complete the program, students must attend a series of four cultural competency workshops conducted over the course of a semester. Once completed, students are then responsible for completing three electives on Blackboard, where they choose a series of essay prompts, applying the knowledge gained during the workshops. The first cohort of eight Global Engagement Scholars completed the program in the spring of 2020. A second cohort of 27 students wrapped up electives at the end of this past semester.
“The Global Engagement Scholars Program seeks to support students thriving in a diverse and global business environment by introducing skills to develop core competencies in intercultural competence development, cultural intelligence and cultural values, and leading with strengths,” says Meggan Ford, assistant dean of undergraduate academic services and initiatives. “The workshops in the program enhance students’ business acumen taught in the classroom by providing dynamic workshops with a global focus and intentional self-reflection on one’s own cultural values and intercultural competence development.”
For marketing student Jordan Dockery, one of the primary lessons learned was how the program made students look at unconscious bias and how it affects in the workplace. “It’s really in all of us,” says Dockery. “The program made me see this, and I often use this whenever I’m in a professional setting.”
Mazin Iqbal, an Honors College student who recent graduated with a double-major in management information systems and business analytics says he really enjoyed learning more about cultural intelligence in the workplace. “Having the ability to apply what I've learned from the Global Engagement Scholars Program directly towards my personal, professional, and academic goals is super helpful,” say Iqbal. “The program helps build an understanding of different perspectives and provides a fresh sense of being able to navigate various cultures on a global scale.”
Both Dockery and Iqbal recommend other students participate in the program. “I would tell students not to be scared to apply,” says Dockery. “It will be an experience you are grateful for.”
“I'm looking forward to using the innovative strategies that we've practiced to make a positive impact in the world,” says Iqbal.
For more information, see the Global Engagement Scholars Program page.