Early results indicate Beyond Ready CQ is increasing students' cultural intelligence

Students put notes on a wall during an FYIC class

A new groundbreaking program designed to help grow the cultural intelligence of Farmer School students during their time at Miami University is already showing results.

This fall, the Farmer School of Business launched Beyond Ready CQ to provide all Farmer School students with the opportunity to assess and develop their Cultural Intelligence while at Miami University.

“I come from a small town with little diversity, so it was very eye opening to realize just how uneducated I actually am. It's embarrassing to say, but it's also the reason why Beyond Ready CQ is so relevant!” human capital management and entrepreneurship major Avery Robinson said.

“Cultural Intelligence is defined as an individual’s capability to adapt and function effectively in different cultural environments and situations characterized by cultural diversity. Our goal is to prepare students for differences that go beyond traditional definitions of “diversity,’” Gillian Oakenfull, faculty director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the Farmer School of Business, explained. “We must prepare our students for differences that may not be readily-observable, but must be observed for effective innovation, problem-solving, decision-making, collaboration and communication; those differences that exist between any two people and within any group of people, regardless of their own demographic traits.”

“I think the value of diversity, inclusion, and perspective in the real world lies in the ability for each person, group, and business to grow. In a business setting, working with colleagues and group members is very common, and the ability to utilize diversity and individualized perspectives allows a team to come up with completely unique ideas and solutions that would have been impossible to generate for one team member alone,” finance major Jacob Nasr said.

The Beyond Ready CQ assessment measures four dimensions:

  • CQ Drive (Motivational CQ) is a person’s level of interest, persistence, and confidence during multicultural interactions. 
  • CQ Knowledge (Cognitive CQ) is a person’s understanding about how cultures are similar and different.
  • CQ Strategy (Metacognitive CQ) is a person's awareness and ability to plan for multicultural interactions.
  • CQ Action (Behavioral CQ) is a person’s ability to adapt when relating and working in multicultural contexts.

The program takes place in conjunction with the First-Year Integrated Core that all new Farmer School students complete.

  • All first-year students began the year with a CQ assessment and learning program in BUS 106, where they developed their personal plan to develop their CQ while at Miami. To aid in their planning, students were introduced to Miami University minors, thematic sequences and student organizations that would enhance their Cultural Intelligence. 
  • This was followed by a diversity module in BUS 101 where they learned about the business case for diversity and inclusion, gained an understanding of the role of implicit bias, cognitive diversity, and whole-brain thinking in critical thinking and collaboration, and considered the importance of psychological safety and inclusivity to effective collaboration. 
  • All BUS 101 students also tackled the BUS 101 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Business Case as they developed solutions to a number of diversity-related challenges in the business world. 
  • As the semester came to an end, all students in BUS 101 took a CQ reassessment to discover how their CQ had grown as a result of the semester’s activities. 

“On aggregate, our students showed growth across all four CQ dimensions with significant growth in the CQ Knowledge (20%), CQ Strategy (15%), and CQ Action (29%). The 29% growth in CQ Action is particularly striking as our students were assessed to score lower than average on that dimension initially,” Oakenfull noted. CQ Drive growth was 7%.

“Expanding our knowledge about cultural diversity is something that is so crucial, especially with the times we live in now. The journey I've started to expand my cultural intelligence is very new, but it's something I'm very passionate about,” Robinson said. “Beyond Ready CQ helped equip me with necessary skills and tools that I never knew I needed, and that I will now have forever.”

“In multiple courses I learned about the value of diversity and inclusion, and perspective. The core threw me into a group with five other students I had never met before, and knew nothing about. Being a part of this group during the Client Challenge was eye-opening and showed me that people from all different backgrounds can come together to create truly amazing ideas,” Nasr noted. “The core was a hands on experience that taught me the values of teamwork and perspectives, which when combined, helped further develop my cultural intelligence in many aspects such as communication, understanding, and my own emotional intelligence and awareness.”

PDC Brands CEO Alex Tosolini worked closely with Oakenfull as she was developing the program. He said that while there aren’t enough data points yet to say that the program is a certain success, the results so far are encouraging.

“It is so nice, after so many weeks and months to put this together, to see the course in action. I know Miami is leading the way in being able to execute something that has been studied for so long and put together so well,” he remarked. “I like the nature of how broad it is and there's no doubt that this is a set of skills, a set of over-time experiences that are going to make the business people, the business students, and frankly, most people more ready to tackle the challenges out there.”

All Farmer School students will have the opportunity to re-assess their CQ prior to going on the job market so that they can provide potential employers with evidence of their cultural intelligence and growth, Oakenfull said.