The Emerging Pandemic Intercultural Work Environment:  A Panel Presentation and Discussion

26 June at 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm PST (90 minutes)

The sudden shift to an online platform in a number of intercultural contexts was done quickly, and without the luxury of careful planning and phasing in. How has this affected intercultural practitioners?

Hear from an educator, a trainer and a researcher about how the pandemic has impacted their work, and what adaptations they have made as a result. A discussion will follow to allow participants to share their own experiences and learn from others.


By participating in this session you will:

  • Learn how the pandemic has affected other intercultural practitioners

  • Gain tips to increase intercultural engagement in an online platform

  • Learn strategies for developing and maintaining  relationships, and fostering empathy  in the challenging online environment

  • Learn some best practices for shifting from the face to face to the online teaching & learning environment

  • Have a chance to discuss with other professionals some of the challenges of moving to an online platform

  • Learn how intercultural strategies can be transferred from a f2f to an online environment

  • Learn how  to maintain an intercultural focus (both in learning outcomes and pedagogy) when moving to the online environment

  • Learn strategies to overcome some of the challenges presented by the online learning environment, such as experiential learning, interactive activities, gauging or assessing transformative learning, etc.


Moderator: Heather Tobe


Educator – Margaret Hearnden, Trainer/Consultant – Kyra Garson;  Researcher - Zhenyi Li

Heather Tobe, MA, Communications Department Faculty member, Douglas College

Heather is a faculty member of the Communications Department at Douglas College. In addition to teaching courses on interpersonal and intercultural communication, Heather presents at conferences and facilitates workshops on intercultural awareness and sensitivity. She has taught in the education sector for over 30 years. Heather holds an MA in Intercultural Relations from Antioch University and the Intercultural Communication Institute. Additionally, she has a Certificate in Workplace Conflict from the Justice Institute of BC. Heather is also a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory and the International Conflict Style Inventory by Mitchell Hammer, and the Global Competencies Inventory by Kozai Group. She has also founded or co-founded communities of practice in education and intercultural awareness. Heather has had numerous roles on the executive of the Society of Intercultural Education, Training, and Research (SIETAR BC).

Dr. Margaret Hearnden, Global Learning Facilitator, Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation, North Island College

Member of the newly created Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation at North Island College (NIC) Margaret Hearnden has been at NIC since January 2015. As Global Learning Facilitator, Margaret supports faculty with the educational aspects of internationalization. This includes facilitating workshops on teaching strategies for supporting diverse learners, intercultural communication and unconscious bias. Margaret also teaches a course to students on Culture, Communication and Global Citizenship. Prior to joining NIC, Margaret was an ESL instructor before completing her PhD at OISE/UoT and becoming the Director of the MA TESOL Program at the University of York, UK.

Dr. Kyra Garson, Intercultural Coordinator, Faculty of Student Development, Thompson Rivers University.

Dr. Garson is an intercultural trainer and researcher who has developed and delivered professional development programs to educational institutions across Canada and internationally, as well as organizations and community groups committed to diversity initiatives. Her research interests include faculty development, multicultural group work and intercultural learning. Dr. Garson’s doctoral study entitled “Are we graduating Global Citizens?” received the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education’s dissertation of the year award in 2014. In 2011, the Canadian Bureau for International Education selected her to receive the Internationalization Award for her work with faculty to intercuturalize the curriculum.  In 2017, she was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award by the British Columbia Council for International Education. In 2020 she received the Faculty Award for Interculturalization from her peers at TRU.

Dr. Zhenyi Li, Director, School of Communication and Culture, Royal Roads University

Zhenyi Li views intercultural communication as his career, passion and personal life. He was critical in establishing the MA in Intercultural and International Communication program at Royal Roads, the first of its kind in Canada, and is head of the program. His research interests include intercultural branding and marketing and the connection between intercultural communication and health-related knowledge, attitude and beliefs. Li is a consultant, trainer and volunteer in his community, dedicated to promoting intercultural understanding, cross-cultural adaptation and multiculturalism. Li obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East China Normal University in Shanghai and his PhD in Intercultural Communication from the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. In 2011, he won the Kelly Outstanding Teaching Award from Royal Roads and the Innovation in International Education Award from the Canadian Bureau for International Education.


If you’d like to contact SIETAR BC, or if you would like to send us a message, send us an email on info@sietar.bc.ca

We would love to hear from you.

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We acknowledge and thank the First Nations communities of British Columbia province, for allowing us to live, work and play on their lands.

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