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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/11299/48531

Title: Are our efforts worthwhile? international students’ perceptions of a project-based program designed to internationaize higher education.
Authors: Chaparro, Debra Payne
Keywords: International Students
Internationalization
Internationalization at Home
Educational Policy and Administration
Issue Date: Feb-2009
Abstract: This qualitative research focuses on international students’ perspectives on a project-based program designed to internationalize higher education. King and Baxter- Magolda’s (2005) Developmental Model of Intercultural Maturity and Mezirow’s (1991) Transformative Learning Theory were applied to analyze reflective essays written by 60 international students who had led a Culture Corps project, and to 16 semi-structured interviews with past and present Culture Corps project leaders. Culture Corps is a program designed to “help the university community learn through the experience and knowledge of international students at the University” (ISSS, 2007) and, through this program, a diverse variety of events designed to internationalize higher education have been implemented every semester since 1999. Primary, secondary, and tertiary findings suggested that international students can benefit both personally, academically, and in future careers through the experience of having led a Culture Corps project. Personal and professional contacts made within and outside the academic community were strong themes, suggesting the importance of encouraging international students’ involvement in programs like Culture Corps. International students also mentioned increasing their skills in many areas such as language, leadership, and teaching skills. Students frequently mentioned gaining confidence as a result of leading a project, and also a consistent appreciation for any financial benefits that were awarded. The reach of the program, however, remains minimal, as it was determined that approximately 1 percent of international students in the study university’s campus have led a Culture Corps project. This suggests that there is much work to be done, and This qualitative research focuses on international students’ perspectives on a project-based program designed to internationalize higher education. King and Baxter- Magolda’s (2005) Developmental Model of Intercultural Maturity and Mezirow’s (1991) Transformative Learning Theory were applied to analyze reflective essays written by 60 international students who had led a Culture Corps project, and to 16 semi-structured interviews with past and present Culture Corps project leaders. Culture Corps is a program designed to “help the university community learn through the experience and knowledge of international students at the University” (ISSS, 2007) and, through this program, a diverse variety of events designed to internationalize higher education have been implemented every semester since 1999. Primary, secondary, and tertiary findings suggested that international students can benefit both personally, academically, and in future careers through the experience of having led a Culture Corps project. Personal and professional contacts made within and outside the academic community were strong themes, suggesting the importance of encouraging international students’ involvement in programs like Culture Corps. International students also mentioned increasing their skills in many areas such as language, leadership, and teaching skills. Students frequently mentioned gaining confidence as a result of leading a project, and also a consistent appreciation for any financial benefits that were awarded. The reach of the program, however, remains minimal, as it was determined that approximately 1 percent of international students in the study university’s campus have led a Culture Corps project. This suggests that there is much work to be done, and many potential gains to be experienced as a result of more consistent, cohesive internationalization efforts that involve the entire university. Implications for research, policy, and practice were also addressed.
Description: University of Minnesota Ed.D. dissertation. February 2009. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: Dr. Darwin D. Hendel. 1 computer file (PDF); xiv, 194 pages, appendices A-D.
URI: http://purl.umn.edu/48531
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