Multicultural Student Leadership Association promotes cultural intelligence
Students at Dakota County Technical College are training for careers that will introduce them to new places and people galvanized by diversity. Illustrated through differences in gender, ethnicity, race, religion, age, language, nationality, culture, abilities and so much more, that diversity is already front and center on the DCTC campus—and the Multicultural Student Leadership Association, or MSLA, is working to engage the college community by inspiring individuals to become responsible global citizens who help make the world a better place. One natural outcome of global citizenship is a higher cultural quotient, or CQ, a measure of cultural intelligence.
Harold Torrence, a supervisory management instructor at DCTC, is the new chair of the college’s Diversity Council. He also serves as the MSLA faculty advisor. A native of Venezuela with a Doctorate in Education from Hamline University, Torrence helped launch the college’s groundbreaking Multicultural Management program. As an expert at teaching occupational Spanish, he understands the importance of building lines of communication across cultural boundaries. His passion focuses on giving people the tools and knowledge they need to share and appreciate the diversity in their lives. Global citizenship resonates with Torrence at a fundamental level due to its commitment to establishing worldwide sustainable practices aimed at raising cultural awareness while ending social injustice and extreme poverty on a global scale.
“Global citizenship starts here when we create a community of learners who are unafraid to share their unique cultural backgrounds,” Torrence said. “Global citizenship starts here when we build meaningful relationships to help each other grow and embrace our human potential. By working together, we can do more to instill our local and global communities with authenticity and intentionality.”
A solid take on global citizenship: “Think Global. Act Local.”
“The peoples of the world are one people, enriched by individual differences, united by the common bond of humanity. The diversity of the Global Community is its greatest strength; understanding and respect are its greatest gifts.” — Global Citizens Network
Torrence stressed the value of teamwork and cooperation when people strive to enhance their IQs, EQs (emotional quotient, e.g., soft skills) and CQs. “Global citizenship is about knowing you are part of something that includes everyone,” he said. “Global citizens seek to understand how the world works across a range of essential interests, including economics, politics, culture, technology and the environment.”
The MSLA gives students from all cultures the chance to learn, belong and grow by experiencing the rich tapestry of life on the DCTC campus. People from dozens of nations and cultural settings visit the college every day. Branko Tambah, a Civil Engineering Technology major from Kakata, Liberia, is the new MSLA president. Tambah, 36, invites students from all 23 of the college’s clubs and organizations to combine their people power and resources when participating in civic engagement, community service and charitable activities.
“This would be a great way to promote sharing and understanding between students from so many different backgrounds,” said Tambah, who joined the MSLA to explore the core values of all cultures. “When we support each other and work as a team on events and projects, we not only accomplish more, but we also get the chance to recognize and respect our differences while appreciating the things we have in common.”
CQ takes the lead…
In a report titled Cultural Intelligence: A Pathway for Leading in a Rapidly Globalizing World, Linn Van Dyne, Soon Ang and David Livermore present a cultural intelligence model with four critical factors. “For real effectiveness, leaders need all four CQ capabilities because focusing only on one factor of CQ may actually result in increased cultural ignorance rather than resulting in enhanced cultural intelligence,” the reports states. “This is because CQ requires an overall repertoire of adaptive capabilities.” The factors are as follows:
- Motivational CQ: Showing interest, confidence, and drive to adapt cross-culturally.
- Cognitive CQ: Understanding cross-cultural issues and differences.
- Metacognitive CQ: Strategizing and making sense of culturally diverse experiences.
- Behavioral CQ: Changing verbal and nonverbal actions appropriately when interacting cross-culturally.
Floyd Annis • Age: 44 • Maplewood, Minn.
Majoring in Management for Technical Professionals with the goal to earn his A.A.S. degree and secure a management position at Northern Tier Energy, Floyd Annis is excited to take on a leadership role in the MSLA. Annis believes MSLA objectives should be a good fit with the overall diversity strategies of the college and MnSCU system. Student recruitment is a top MSLA priority as is making connections with cultures and ethnic communities beyond the college campus.
“We would like to invite members from many different communities to come to our campus and share their views and stories,” said Annis, who joined the MSLA to experience more volunteer opportunities and be part of a team. “We need to hear from as many different voices as we can.”
Diverse communities of note in Minnesota:
- Native American
- And many more
Joyce Mallery • Age: 56 • Farmington, Minn.
A former MSLA president, Joyce Mallery has earned three A.A.S. degrees from DCTC, Graphic Design Technology, Multimedia and Web Design, and Electronic Publishing, as well as certificates in Social Media Marketing and Photographic Imaging Technology. Mallery owns and operates two small businesses, Joyce Mallery Photography and Design, and DJ Bunge Thingamajig. She also serves as the marketing director for the DCTC Campus Lions Club.
“We want to take an integrated approach to increase MSLA participation—and that means working closely with faculty, staff and administrators in concert with students,” said Mallery, who joined the MSLA to learn more about other cultures. “Our goal is to raise the CQ of the entire campus community and inspire a sense of global citizenship throughout the college.”
Reasons to join the MSLA:
- Enhance leadership skills
- Increase team-building skills
- Improve organizational skills
- More networking opportunities
- More volunteer opportunities
- More professional experience
- Promote world peace, justice, prosperity and respect
- Boost cultural awareness and understanding
- Meet new people and make friends
“Over the past several decades, tens of thousands of immigrants have arrived in Minnesota. They have come from all over the world, and settled throughout the state. They’ve come for the same reason that attracted immigrants in the past: opportunity. And they experience the same difficulties of adjusting to life in a new country—language barriers, culture shock, a sense of loss, and isolation.
“Established Minnesotans, for the most part, are eager to welcome and learn more about these new members of our community. Certainly there are challenges inherent in incorporating new languages and customs into the fabric of Minnesota life. However, the economic and cultural benefits enrich our schools, neighborhoods, businesses, and communities. And make Minnesota a more interesting place to live.” — from The Minneapolis Foundation
For more information about cultural intelligence, global citizenship and the Multicultural Student Leadership Association at DCTC, contact:
- Harold Torrence, Ed.D
Supervisory Management Instructor
MSLA Faculty Advisor
Diversity Council Chair