Diversity and Intercultural Competence

An In-class Course
Course Description

diversity-iconThe ability to leverage diversity is a critical leadership skill that impacts managers’ potential to achieve business results in a diverse and global marketplace. Organizations need employees at all levels to cultivate inclusive work environments, value diversity, and leverage the unique talents and contributions of every team member.  This program provides participants with opportunities to gain conceptual knowledge and practical skill development to be effective problem solvers and decision makers in diverse teams and multicultural contexts. Doing so requires a deep understanding of the combined impact that identity, culture, values, attitudes, and behaviors have on individuals who come together in the workplace. Participants will engage in self-assessments, interactive exercises and simulations, organizational case studies, and examine leadership and organizational best practices for inclusion and intercultural competence.  Sessions will be facilitated by academic and professional consultants in the field of as well as business leaders with responsibilities to attract, retain and motivate a diverse workforce.


Dee Dixon Testimonial Video

Dee Dixon – Business leader and Founder & CEO of Pride PR in Charlotte, NC speaks personally about the impact and benefit of the Diversity & Intercultural Competence Certificate Course she completed last year.

Program Schedule

*Note: Course may be submitted for SHRM Recertification credits under the “Advance Your Education” category.

Program Format, Content and requirements:

To complete the Certificate, participants will attend eight (8) sessions scheduled from 6:00-9:00 p.m. on Thursdays.  The Program requires 24 hours of class time.  In addition to the class time, participants will be expected to spend time out-of-class (1-2 hours maximum) each week in preparation activities such as reading materials (i.e., case studies, book chapter, articles) and/or completing assessments.  Participants will also develop a personal leadership action plan to establish priorities for learning and development in diversity and/or cultural competence. A brief description of the content of the Program is provided below:

Building Self-Awareness and Valuing Difference

  • Session 1 and 2 will introduce participants to research frameworks for understanding diversity, intercultural competence, and the business case for a diverse workplace. Participants will take the Intercultural Effectiveness Scale, a comprehensive assessment of six key competencies that are related to adapting to people and places that are significantly different from the respondents. This includes differences in perspectives, beliefs, values and practices and can include differences originating in cultures, religions, generations, ethnic groups, and other areas.

Improving Interpersonal Effectiveness in Multicultural Environments
Class sessions 3-4 will provide participants with opportunities to acquire knowledge of interpersonal processes and group dynamics in diverse and multicultural environments:

  • Session 3 will utilize a cross-cultural problem solving simulation to enable participants to better understand the influence of culture on attitudes and behavior and how to improve intercultural communication skills. The session will explore characteristics of high performing multicultural teams, and provide participants with an understanding of individual skills as well as organizational practices that facilitate inclusive and collaborative relationships.
  • Session 4 will focus on differences in conflict styles across cultures, and how to best leverage the many approaches we might take into conflict.

Navigating Diversity in the Workplace

  • Session 5 will provide participants with an understanding of the regulatory issues surrounding discriminatory practices of “protected groups” as well as best practices from the Human Resources field for inclusive workplace policies.
  • Sessions 6 and 7 will focus on the topics of millennials, multi-generational workplaces, and LGBT perspectives. Both sessions will utilize case studies and diversity scenarios to provide participants with opportunities to practice skills and decision-making in addressing diversity dilemmas in the workplace.

Cultivating a Culture of Inclusion

  • Session 8 will provide participants with knowledge of organizational approaches to diversity and inclusion. Panel: Practitioners with responsibility for diversity management in their organizations will share best practices and lessons learned for diversity initiatives, assessment, and accountability.

Target Audience:

  • Managers responsible for leading a diverse team of employees who want to improve their ability to leverage diversity to maximize their team’s effectiveness
  • Employees who want to improve their cultural competence to collaborate more effectively with coworkers and better serve clients, customers, and/or patients from different backgrounds
  • Human resource professionals who have new responsibilities for diversity initiatives or cultural competence development for units or organization.
  • Small business owners and managers who want to integrate effective diversity management practices into their organizations

Program Objectives:

As a result of attending this program, participants will:

  • Increase self-awareness of diversity and intercultural competence through assessment and feedback
  • Understand how to minimize the impact of unconscious bias on decision-making
  • Improve communication and conflict resolution skills for engaging dialogue on diversity topics
  • Learn about organizational approaches to managing diversity and the key principles in leveraging diversity effectively
  • Enhance interpersonal effectiveness in multicultural work environments and virtual cross-cultural teams
  • Develop a process for lifelong learning and development of inclusive leadership skills

Industry Outlook

Increasingly, diversity and inclusion are becoming strategic business drivers that have a direct impact on organizational effectiveness, profitability and reputation. According to a recent report by Deloitte Consulting that surveyed over 200 companies, including numerous Fortune 500 companies, the top three reasons for investing in diversity and inclusion are:

  • improving employee engagement
  • serving customers more effectively
  • increasing organizational innovation and agility

A recent study by McKinsey quantifies the “diversity dividend” – highly diverse companies appear to excel financially due to their talent recruitment efforts, strong customer orientation, increased employee satisfaction and improved decision making.

Between 2010 and 2020, both SHRM  and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expect a 21% increase in the number of HR specialists positions created, which is faster than average employment growth.

Program Faculty

WFU Business School undergrad students. 8.26.13     Amy Wallis, Lead Faculty

Dr. Wallis is Professor of Practice and Director of Global Initiatives in the Wake Forest University School of Business. She is an organizational development leader with experience in organizational strategy, talent and leadership development, and succession planning. Prior to joining the Wake Forest faculty, she consulted with global organizations in many industries, including travel, high tech, pharmaceutical, professional services, banking, and the non-profit sector, and, most recently, led the talent and performance management function at Welch Allyn, a medical device manufacturer in central New York.

Shayla Herndon-Edmunds, Diversity Education Program Manager, Wake Forest University Human Resources, Tuesday, December 3, 2013.     Shayla Herndon-Edmunds

Shayla Herndon-Edmunds serves as the Director of Diversity Education in the Wake Forest University Office of Diversity and Inclusion.  She received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Business Administration from George Mason University and is a licensed professional life coach.  She is also certified in emotional intelligence, unconscious bias and intercultural development.

  angela_mazaris     Angela Mazaris

Dr. Angela Mazaris is the founding director of the LGBTQ Center at Wake Forest University, where she also teaches in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department. As LGBTQ Center Director, she provides education, advocacy, and support to the campus community around issues of gender identity and sexual orientation. Dr. Mazaris serves as part of the university’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Team, and is committed to creating an institution that welcomes, supports, and engages everyone to their fullest potential.  She has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she was honored to hold a Jacob Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education. Before coming to Wake Forest, Dr. Mazaris served as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Internal Revenue Service and the National Park Service, where she developed agency-wide inclusion and diversity initiatives and prepared policy recommendations. At the IRS, Dr. Mazaris was in charge of a special emphasis program for LGBTQ issues – a first for the agency.

  leslielasher    Leslie Lasher

Leslie Lasher is a business and litigation attorney, focusing in the area of employment law and compliance.  She has worked with businesses and public entities of all size, and across multiple industries. She primarily advises on regulatory compliance issues, helps employers and executives through transitions and sticky employment situations, and defends employers in litigation brought by their current or prior employees.  She  is graduate of Elon University and its School of Law.  She lives in Wake Forest, North Carolina and practices law with the Forrest Firm, P.C.

Program Prerequisites

Participants must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. A TOEFL examination for non-native speakers of English is not required but students are expected to read, write and comprehend English at the graduate level to fully participate in and gain from the program. Any requests for exceptions to course requirements must be submitted in writing to the program director, Carol Oliff at WakeCERT@nullwfu.edu.

Program Materials

Most course materials are included in the cost of tuition and will be distributed in digital format, accessible through Sakai, Wake Forest’s online learning management system. Students must have a laptop or tablet computer to access course materials.

Certificate Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a Certificate in Diversity and Intercultural Competence from Wake Forest University, participants will attend eight (8) sessions scheduled from 6:00-9:00 p.m. working closely with course faculty and complete all course requirements (including class attendance) within the set course time frame. The Program requires 24 hours of class time. In addition to the class time, participants will be expected to spend time out-of-class (1-2 hours maximum) in preparation activities such as reading materials (i.e., case studies, book chapter, articles) and/or completing assessments.  Participants will also develop a personal leadership action plan to establish priorities for learning and development in diversity and/or cultural competence.

Note: This course may be submitted for SHRM Recertification credits under the “Advance Your Education” category.

Meeting Location

Wake Forest University Charlotte Center
200 N. College Street, Suite 150
Charlotte, NC  28202

Parking is available at no charge in the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center Parking Garage located on 5th Street and adjacent to the Wake Forest Charlotte Center.  (You may enter the garage from either 5th or 6th Street.)  Please bring your parking ticket in for validation.

Wake Forest University Charlotte Center map & directions


The cost of the program is $2,000 and includes most materials.  Payment is due in full at time of registration.
Wake Forest University alumni, faculty, staff and select partner companies receive a tuition discount as registration is submitted.
We invite you to contact us at WakeCERT@nullwfu.edu with questions or for additional tuition or discount details.

While non-credit professional certificate programs do not qualify for federal financial aid, prospective students are invited to consider the following tuition payment options:

  • Seek employer funding or reimbursement for professional development
  • Apply for a private education loan
  • Take advantage of tuition discounts for alums, groups, and select partner organizations

Registration and Payment Form

This certificate is an open enrollment program. Application is not required. Course registration is complete when payment is processed and you receive a confirmation email. In order to register, you will need to render payment. Please begin registration when you are ready to render payment.

Registration deadline Sunday, February 5, 2017

Cancellation of Certificate Programs

This course is offered contingent upon sufficient enrollment. If a course must be cancelled, all registered students will be notified at least five (5) calendar days before the course’s start date. All registered students will receive a 100% tuition refund. No fees will be charged for cancelled courses.

Refund Policy

Refunds are computed based on the date and time that a student’s request to withdraw is received in writing to the program director. Prospective students who withdraw prior to the start of a course will receive a full refund of tuition paid.

For More Information

For more information or to speak with a program advisor, please send an email to oliffcl@nullwfu.edu or call 704-365-3863.