Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

James Lampley

Committee Members

Don Good, Terence Hicks, Carla Warner


A major focus of many U.S. higher-education institutions is to increase internationalization of their campus through, in part, the promotion of study abroad experiences among domestic students and to recruit and retain international students to their institution. This study explored the effects of certain factors on various domains of the Global Engagement Measurement Scale (GEMS) – Cultural Engagement, Ambiguity Tolerance, Knowledge of Host Site, and Diversity Openness – among U.S. students who have studied abroad and international exchange students who have studied in the U.S. There was a particular focus, on determining whether U.S. study abroad students, compared to international students, rate differently on GEMS scales, after controlling for other possible confounding variables. Participants were recruited from three Southeastern, public, 4-year universities and were eligible if they were enrolled at any of those universities in the last five years.

A hierarchical regression analysis revealed several factors significantly affected each of the various outcomes on the GEMS. Cultural Engagement and Ambiguity Tolerance were both predicted by the institution of study and the type of student (U.S. study abroad versus international exchange). Knowledge of Host Site was predicted by whether or not the trip was government sponsored, pre-trip familiarity with the host culture, and type of student. The overall regression model for Diversity Openness was not significant. These results provide insights into key factors that affect the overall global engagement of college students and can be used to inform university faculty and staff about features they can add to improve campus internationalization efforts.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.