The rise in diversity and the increasing internationalization of United States higher education institutions are well established. In order to deal with these phenomena, areas of practice for multicultural education and internationalization have arisen. In the past few decades there have been calls for practitioners within these two separate areas to work together toward common goals. The purpose of this study was to explore the engagement of multicultural student affairs professionals in the internationalization of the selected higher education institutions in which they work. This study used a basic qualitative methodology, consisting of interviews and observation, to investigate how a selected group of multicultural educators in the state of Connecticut defined and described internationalization, what internationalization activities they did and did not engage in, and their motivations and barriers to engagement. The investigation found that not all of these professionals were familiar with the term “internationalization,” but all were able to define it. Their definitions had to do with student mobility, globalization, a broader perspective, and one more comprehensive definition, though many focused on international students coming to the United States. The participants were all engaged in internationalization to some extent. This engagement occurred at all institutional levels, the most common being the individual student level through student and student organization advising, as well as programming for students. The participants’ motivations to engage were philosophical, personal, and practical. They were motivated by their beliefs and values, their backgrounds as immigrants or study abroad students, and the practical needs of their students. The origins of their engagement were most often student based, though the professionals also initiated the activities themselves or were invited by colleagues or administration. The participants’ efforts or desires to engage more in internationalization activities were hindered by a lack of time and personnel, their own or others’ perception that this was not part of their job, as well as perceived cultural and financial barriers. Most participants did desire to engage more in internationalization activities, but were unable to due to these factors. Future research on this topic is warranted, as is further research on multicultural student affairs in general. The effects of recent, race-related events on U.S. campuses should be taken into consideration and studied further as well. As increasing diversity and globalization continue in U.S. higher education, further research into collaborations between practitioners of multicultural and international education will also be needed. Upper administration in higher education institutions should support both multicultural education and internationalization efforts. This would include promoting the internationalization of multicultural education and multicultural transformation of international education. Training should be provided for practitioners in both of these areas and other personnel across the institution. The administrative structures responsible for managing the processes of internationalization and multicultural transformation should be brought closer together administratively and physically, but remain separate so that their individual missions are not diluted.
University of Minnesota D.Ed. dissertation. December 2016. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisors: Andrew Furco, Karen Seashore. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 147 pages.
The Engagement of Multicultural Student Affairs Staff in the Internationalization of Connecticut Higher Education Institutions.
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