Wiersma‐Mosley, J. D., & Garrison, M. B. (2022). Developing intercultural competence among students in family science: The importance of service learning experiences. Family Relations.

The purpose of this study was to develop interculturalcompetence among Family Science undergraduate students through high‐impactexperiences. Background: Service learning (SL) is a form of high‐impactexperimental education that promotes learning and development by engagingstudents in real‐world activities that address both individual and communityneeds. Methods: Participants were 82 undergraduates enrolled in two similarFamily Science diversity courses at a mid‐South university in the UnitedStates. Curriculum for both courses were identical, except one group ofstudents participated in SL at one of five community agencies: boys/girlsclub, community center working with children, center for adults withdisabilities, a primarily Hispanic middle school, or a homeless shelter.Students in both courses completed pre‐ and post‐assessments using theIntercultural Development Inventory to measure intercultural competence.Results: Students without SL opportunities did not significantly increase inintercultural competence whereas students who participated with SL increasedsignificantly in their intercultural competence. Conclusion: It is imperativethat Family Science continue to emphasize SL because meaningful interactionswith community partnerships have been shown to provide culturally relevanteducation and deep experiential learning opportunities for students.Implications: As a result, Family Science students will more easilytransition to their chosen professions and will be better prepared toincrease intercultural competency and to work toward dismantling racism andpromoting social justice for all.