Researchers awarded grant to study international education and study abroad

November 2, 2017


Researchers in the Iowa State University School of Education received a three-year, $286,185 U.S. Department of Education research grant to study the effects of international education and study abroad experiences on learning outcomes and to understand the extent to which students’ understanding of global competence and social responsibility changes during their college experience.

Funded as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s International Research and Studies Program, the Iowa State project, “Educating for a global century: Preparing leaders for success by connecting global competence and civic learning in international education,” will employ a multi-institutional longitudinal research design with a comparison group. The goals of the Global Century Project (GCP) are to (a) increase understanding of the effects of international education programs on institutional outcomes and student outcomes and (b) assist international educators in addressing the calls for curricular and co-curricular experiences that prepare students to be leaders in a global century. 

 

Research Team

The research team is led by Robert D. Reason and Joshua J. Mitchell. Reason is a professor of higher education and student affairs and the associate director of research and administration in the Iowa State School of Education (SOE). Mitchell is a project manager for the Research Institute for Studies in Education (RISE) and lecturer in the SOE. They are joined by

  • Todd Abraham, a research scientist for RISE and lecturer in the SOE, who will serve as a statistical consultant on the project and
  • Garrett H. Gowen, a graduate research assistant in RISE and doctoral student in the SOE.

In addition to the research team, research and evaluation scientists from RISE will assist with the overall evaluation of the GCP. RISE staff will take the lead on the formative evaluation, while the research team will take the lead on the annual outcomes research and evaluation.

 

Importance for Research and Practice

The project was inspired by Reason and Mitchell’s current work administering the Global Perspective Inventory (GPI) and the Personal and Social Responsibility Inventory (PSRI). The PSRI and GPI focus on (a) the influences of students' perceptions of campus climate for personal and social responsibility on their learning and development outcomes and (b) the influences of learning environments and experiences on students' global learning and development, respectively. From a research perspective, the GCP will help determine not only the extent to which there is a selection effect between those students who engage in education abroad and those who stay on campus, but also the extent to which there are differences in outcomes among the students based on engagement status. These findings will help further understanding of the factors that influence students’ understanding of global competence and social responsibility during their college experience. In addition, the GCP has implications and importance to practice because it will help identify and describe programmatic components that have positive effects on institutional and student outcomes. It will also allow the research team to develop a list of recommendations for good practice in education abroad.

 

Participating Institutions

The research team selected the four colleges and universities to participate in the GCP because of each institution’s commitment to providing—and improving the quality of—international education and education abroad experiences for their students. “The diverse nature of these institutions will allow for a preliminary exploration of potential differences by institution and program type,” Mitchell said.

Bloomsburg University.  Bloomsburg is a medium-sized, public university in rural Pennsylvania.  Each year, more than 130 students participate in Bloomsburg’s education abroad programs.  Bloomsburg is a Community Engagement Classified Institution.  It is a primarily residential, very high undergraduate, master’s degree granting institution.

Eckerd College.  Eckerd is a small, private, not-for-profit liberal arts college in Florida.  Each year, nearly 400 students participate in Eckerd’s education abroad programs.  Currently, about 65% of the undergraduate population studies abroad during their time at Eckerd.  Eckerd is a highly residential, exclusively undergraduate, bachelor’s degree granting institution.

San Diego State University (SDSU).  SDSU is a large, public, Hispanic serving university in California.  Each year, more than 2,500 students participate in SDSU’s education abroad programs.  Currently, about 35% of SDSU’s graduates have participated in an international experience during their time at SDSU.  SDSU is a Community Engagement Classified Institution.  It is a primarily nonresidential, high undergraduate, doctoral degree granting institution.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).  UIUC is a large, public university in Illinois.  Currently, more than 27% of the undergraduate population studies abroad during their time at UIUC.  UIUC is a Community Engagement Classified Institution.  It is a primarily residential, high undergraduate, doctoral degree granting institution.

 

Contacts

Joshua J. Mitchell, Research Institute for Studies in Education, 515-294-6234, jjm1@iastate.edu

Robert D. Reason, School of Education, 515-294-6216, rreason@iastate.edu



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