Have a Question?
Ask the Graduate
College at our new
Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Ewa L. Urban
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Title: Value of U.S. Higher Education for International Students in the Context of Higher Education Internationalization
Dr. Louann Bierlein Palmer, Chair
Dr. Sue Poppink
Dr. Mark Orbe
Date: Thursday, September 27, 2012 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
3335 Sangren Hall
This study uses a cross-sectional survey to examine the perceptions of undergraduate and graduate international students enrolled at a public university in the Midwest, regarding the personal and professional value they receive from their higher education experience. In addition, the study explores international students’ perceptions of the level of engagement they experience as cultural resources at their institution. Results indicate that international students’ decisions to come to the U.S. are mostly driven by professional motivations, such as getting a quality education, developing a better understanding of their fields of study, and gaining practical skills and experiences. Yet, international students’ professional outcomes are significantly lower than their expectations related to their professional development. However, students benefit personally to a much greater extent than they anticipate. The strongest predictors of international students’ professional outcomes are opportunities to practically apply academic knowledge, being taught skills needed for employment, talking about career plans with professors or advisors, using university career services, having professors ask questions about international students’ countries and cultures, and having international perspectives integrated into classes. Personal outcomes are predicted by having professors and staff encourage contact among students from different backgrounds, using university career services, other students’ willingness to help international students, engaging in serious conversations with students with differing backgrounds, using student services, having international perspectives integrated into classes, Americans trying to get to know international students and cultures, and working in multicultural groups for class projects. International students’ goals, institutional support, and students’ engagement in goal achievement are predictive of students’ perception of the value received from U.S. higher education. The perception of value differs by students’ regions of origin and years at the university. Findings indicate that international students are not actively engaged as cultural resources although they would like to do more to help others learn about their countries and cultures. The level of desired engagement as a cultural resource is the highest among South and Central American students, and the lowest among European students. The study suggests multiple areas of opportunities for higher education to increase international students’ personal and professional outcomes while also offering ideas of how international students can actively contribute to the university’s strategic goal of global engagement and internationalization.