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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Margaret Davis Wiedenhoeft
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology
Title: Study Abroad Program Design, Personal Development, and Intercultural Effectiveness
Dr. Andrea Beach, Chair
Dr. Donna Talbot
Dr. Brian Whalen
Date: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
3208 Sangren Hall
Research on study abroad focuses on the development of learning outcomes and assessment (Bolen, 2007) or program design, such as level of integration with local student population, housing situation, and level of interaction with host culture (Brecht & Robinson, 1993; Engle & Engle, 2004; Georgetown Consortium Research Project, n.d.; Paige, Cohen, & Shively, 2004; Redden, 2007; Vande Berg, Balkcum, Scheid, & Whalen, 2004). The purpose of this study is to examine the extent of personal development and intercultural effectiveness of students who study abroad and to determine the relationship of program design (homestay, conducting an on-site project, language level obtained prior to study) to personal development and intercultural effectiveness. This is a cross-sectional study including two research instruments, the Student Developmental Task and Lifestyle Assessment (SDTLA) (Winston, Miller, & Cooper, 1999) and the Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale–Short (MGUDSS) (Fuertes, Miville, Mohr, Sedlacek, & Gretchen, 2000) and three cohorts of students (n = 153).
This study reveals that, although there may be differences in the results of the mean scores of the instruments completed by the sophomores (n = 48), juniors (n = 49), or seniors n = 56), the differences in the means are not statistically significant. Sophomores who had yet to study abroad do not score statistically higher or lower on either the STDLA or MGUDS-S. However, seniors (n = 56), who had returned over a year ago from study abroad, score higher on Instrumental Autonomy subtask on the SDTLA than juniors who had returned from study abroad within the past two months.
The Michigan College participants score higher than the national SDTLA sample in the main tasks Developing Autonomy (AUT) and Mature Interpersonal Relationships (MIR). Michigan College participants also score higher than the national sample for the MGUDS-S.
The factors ICRP, language level studied at the program abroad, and language level achieved prior to study abroad appear to approach significance in predicting the score on the MGUDS-S. Additionally, housing approaches significance in predicting scores on the MIR subtask. Given the evidence from the power analysis, the small sample (n = 105) may have hampered finding significant results.