Enhancing intercultural competence among Pharmacy students through the EXCELL program

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education Vol. 35

July, 2012, 373 pages
Published by
N. Brown, S.M. Jones, & A. Adam
0 908557 89 2

Research indicates that international students often face problems integrating into a new host university community. To enhance intercultural competence and improve pharmacy students’ confidence and self-efficacy, the EXCELL (Excellence in Cultural Experiential Learning and Leadership) intercultural skills program was integrated into a first-year pharmacy course. The program aimed to teach social competencies relevant to the Australian context for all pharmacy students, both domestic and international. Pre- and post-surveys were conducted to evaluate the impact of the course on students’ intercultural and interpersonal skills, as well as students’ perceptions about the course. Teaching staff reflections on the strengths and weaknesses of the trial were also evaluated. Results showed students made significant improvements in each of the following competencies: seeking help and information, making social contact, participating in groups, expressing disagreement, refusing a request and giving feedback. Students also showed significant improvement on all six sub-scales of the Interpersonal Skills Checklist (p<0.001), and for social confidence and sharing interests from the Cross-Ethnic Social Self-Efficacy scale (p<0.05). International and students from a non-English speaking background rated the course as more valuable than did domestic students. Teaching staff found the course very useful for building rapport and students’ connectedness. Embedding the EXCELL program in a first year Pharmacy course appears to be a promising strategy to improve students’ intercultural competence and social skills. Future curriculum developments needs to focus on creating more pharmacy specific and interpersonally challenging examples in order to engage and address the learning needs of domestic and international students.

Keywords: Pharmacy, EXCELL, intercultural communication, 

Enhancing intercultural competence among Pharmacy students through the EXCELL program

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Maganlal, Satish; Hills, Ruth; McMillan, Sara; Barker, Michelle; Blauberg, Naomi & Shallcross, Linda