CFANS Working Across Difference Initiative

The ability to work effectively across difference is essential to student success in serving our national aspirations, meeting employer demands, and participating in the complexPrezi Presentation national and global grand challenges of our time. The University of Minnesota recognizes the importance of graduating students who demonstrate intercultural competency - the ability to recognize difference and authentically engage different cultures, races, life experiences, and knowledge systems. Skills such as self-awareness, appreciation of differences, tolerance of ambiguity, and understanding diverse philosophies and cultures are formally acknowledged as learning objectives for the University’s Student Learning and Development Outcomes.

CFANS has developed the Working Across Difference Initiative (WADI) to fulfill these outcomes and to meet its own undergraduate strategic priority of enhancing multicultural and global competencies. This comprehensive initiative, poised to serve as a national model, has three core components: curriculum, pedagogy, and student assessment. CFANS students in all majors and in each year of undergraduate education will take courses and participate in activities (e.g., study abroad and service learning) that intentionally incorporate multiple cultural perspectives to develop intercultural competency, learn about cultural similarities and differences, and how those differences frequently result in unequal impacts on peoples and communities. Learn more about this initiative by clicking here or on the image to the right to view the WADI Prezi.


WADI Background Report (.pdf)
Includes information on the goals of the initiative, research findings, and next steps.

Instructor Toolkit
The CFANS Office for Diversity and Inclusion is continuing to develop a toolkit of resources for instructors who are interested in integrating diverse perspectives and intercultural content into their courses. The toolkit includes case studies, activities, reflective writing questions, articles, videos, and web resources.  Instructors can enroll by contacting Sandra Mitchell at, or if you have difficulty accessing the toolkit or have resource suggestions.

Course Involvement

We continue to expand our partnerships with CFANS instructors to enhance intercultural learning through the four years of our majors. Approaches include pedagogical methods and integration of intercultural content and diverse perspectives into course curriculum. This systemic integration ensures all students learn to work across difference - from within their discipline to society at large, recognizing potential impacts in the context of social justice and equity. If you would like to become involved in this effort or teach a course that could serve as a WADI “touch-point” in your major, please contact Sandra Mitchell at

Examples of courses that have been involved:

Course Number Course Name
AFEE 1001 Introduction to Agricultural Education and Extension
AGRO 1660  First-Year Colloquium/Experience in Agroecosystems Analysis
AGRO 3305 Agroecosystems of the world
ANSC 1001 Orientation to Animal Science
ANSC 4099 Sustainable Food Systems of Sicily
ANSC/AGRO 3203 Environment, Global Food Production, and the Citizen
ApEc 1001 Orientation to Applied Economics
CFAN 1101 Dean's Engaged Leaders Seminar
CFAN 1201 Discovering Majors and Careers
CFAN 1902 American Indian Ways of Knowing the Environment
CFAN 1902 Ways of Knowing and Science
CFAN 2500 Picture Poland: Sustainable Forests and Farms
CFAN 3480 Nepal: Ecological Services and Biodiversity in Community Forests
CFAN 3480/5480  Sustainable Development in Uganda: Entrepreneurial Solutions
CFAN 3507 Ecuador: Sustainability of its Peoples, Lands and Waters
CFAN 3510 South Africa: Complexity of Economic Development
CFAN 3514
Machu Picchu & the Amazon: Climate Change in the City of the Gods
CFAN 3515 Global Entrepreneurship and Leadership, Books and Wine
CFANS 3501 Costa Rica: Sustainable Development
CFANS 3503 Switzerland: Mountain Agriculture
ESPM 1001 Freshmen Orientation to Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management
ESPM 1011 Issues in the Environment
FDSY 4101 Holistic Approaches to Improving Food Systems Sustainability
FNRM 4232W Managing Recreational Lands
FSCN 1001 Orientation to the Majors: Food Science and Nutrition
FSCN 1102 Food: Safety, Risks, and Technology
FSCN 4666  Medical Nutrition Therapy II
FW4102 Principles of Conservation Biology