Interculturalists Are…Everywhere! :: Margaret Riley, Duke University
Interculturalists are Everywhere is a new series we’re running in conjunction with Candice Hughes of Bridging Cultures and SIETAR-USA (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research). About once month we’ll highlight someone awesome who’s changing the world through their intercultural work. Know someone who’s doing cool intercultural work (maybe even yourself)? Contact us so we can feature them (you)!Full disclosure: Cate is Co-founder and President of SIETAR-NC, and both Cate and Candice volunteer with SIETAR-USA.
Margaret, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Associate Dean and Director, Duke University Global Education Office for Undergraduates. I live in Durham, North Carolina, and have been here 10 years. Previously I’ve lived in multiple different places, mostly in the midwest, as well as a 2 year stint in the Peace Corps in Colombia, South America.
My undergraduate degree was in Junior High Education, an emphasis in Home Economics, and a Spanish minor. My MA is in International Affairs, Development Studies, with certification to teach English as a Second Language; and my PhD is in Interpersonal Communication with a primary area in Intercultural Communication.
What kind of intercultural work do you do?
I direct the activities of a staff of thirteen, administering academic credit bearing programs that are based internationally as well as domestically. We operate about 18 semester and academic year programs, and about twenty summer program. Additionally, I serve as the academic dean to Duke’s visiting international students who come for a semester or a year as non-degree students.
Who or what inspired you to do this work?
A course I took in my first year of graduate school (Cross-Cultural Communication, taught by Maung Gyi at Ohio University) gave me a framework for the various intercultural experiences I had had, which led me to shift my focus from teaching English as a second language to intercultural communication.
How do you use intercultural skills or knowledge in your work?
In dealing with our partners around the world, in helping to prepare students for their global experiences and debrief them upon return, with our visiting international students, and amongst the diverse faculty, staff and student population here at Duke.
What’s one tip you’d give someone who is interested in doing the type of work you do?
Take advantage of the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication, either as an intern, participant, or instructor.
Why do you choose to be part of the SIETAR organization (e.g. global, national, local, etc)?
Upon completing my PhD I immediately entered the world of academic administration. The demands of the job have limited my ability to stay current with research in the field, or to do research myself. SIETAR allows me the opportunity to stay connected to the field, and to be involved in a local network of interculturalists.