At the University of Maryland, Baltimore County part of our mission is to provide exceptional teaching with a foundation in innovation and research. Our students are the center of our work and we strive to create a diverse and inclusive community for all. As a result, UMBC has become one of the most diverse campuses in the country. We know from our research that many of our students are not initially equipped to interact with their diverse peers.
With this in mind, a group of faculty from Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication (MLLI) and staff from the Student Affairs Division at UMBC collaborated to create the Interact Program. This program is targeted to first-year students to jump-start their confidence and competence in intercultural communication to speed their integration into our diverse learning community.
Our pilot program began Fall 2013 with six peer facilitators and thirty-three 1st-year participants in Chesapeake Hall. At the culmination of the program, students had a dinner with Dr. Hrabowski
The second class of the Interact Program began the following academic year with transformations to the curriculum for more student centered learning. The new curriculum had more interactive activities that engaged students in deeper dialogues. As a continuation from the previous year, there was another dinner with Dr. Hrabowski. A new feature was a trip in May. The students traveled to Washington, D.C. for the Embassy Open House.
New additions to Interact Class III include monthly programming, a group trip, and the traditional reception with the President. Students gather and discuss current events and graduate students from the Intercultural Communication program visit and facilitate workshops.