Title

Exploring the Perceptions of Study Abroad Among Black Undergraduates at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Dafina-Lazarus Stewart, PhD (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Patrick Pauken, PhD

Third Advisor

Michael Coomes, EdD

Fourth Advisor

Robert DeBard, PhD

Abstract

International education helps students become more engaged within the United States and abroad. Black undergraduates continue to be underrepresented in study abroad despite two decades of increased enrollment by Black students in higher education in the United States. This study had three purposes: (1) to explore how Black undergraduates attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) perceived study abroad programs, (2) to understand how individual and institutional characteristics related to the desire of Black undergraduates at HBCUs to study abroad, and (3) to determine to what degree individual and institutional variables predicted Black undergraduates’ desire to participate in study abroad.

A survey research design was utilized to understand the perceptions and characteristics of Black undergraduates attending four HBCUs. Two hundred ninety-eight students responded to the survey during the spring and summer of 2011. Findings indicated that there was a significant relationship between students who initiated discussion about study abroad with their advisor or professor and their desire to study abroad at their current institution. There was a significant relationship between professors who initiated conversations about study abroad with students outside the classroom and the respondents’ desire to study abroad. There was a significant relationship between professors who discussed study abroad outside the classroom and respondents’ perceptions of study abroad. Students who had interactions with faculty or advisors regarding study abroad were less represented among students who did not desire to study abroad.

Respondents who were born or raised abroad were less likely to desire to study abroad than those that did not report they were born or raised abroad and education majors were more likely to desire to study abroad than those in other majors. Respondents who initiated discussions about study abroad with their professors were more likely to desire study abroad than those who did not discuss study abroad with their professors and respondents whose advisors discussed academic planning for study abroad were less likely to desire to study abroad than those who reported that their advisor did not discuss academic planning for study abroad. Implications for research and practice in higher education and student affairs are discussed.