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  • 2023harrisweedmanphd

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Exploratory Case Study of Students of Color in US Study Abroad & Village-style Programmatic Support

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Metrice Harris-Weedman
Publication date14/02/2023
Number of pages278
Awarding Institution
Award date31/10/2022
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This qualitative single-site case study investigated the continued relevance of the four Fs (family, finances, fear, and faculty) described by Cole (1991) when she identified barriers to study abroad (SA) for students of color (SOC); Hembroff and Rusz (1993) additionally identified academic requirements as barriers. Using a student questionnaire and in-depth qualitative interviews with SOC, staff, and faculty, the study explores how SOC experience and are supported at one traditional United States (US) university pre, during, and following SA.
While the study confirmed the continued noteworthiness of previously identified themes, the findings highlighted nuances suggesting more positive influences of families, peers, their communities, and advisors when it came to supporting SOC throughout their experience. Despite the considerable familial and community support, the findings also revealed advisors did not adequately target families of color in the dissemination of important information. Moreover, faculty selected students using discretionary powers and successfully prioritized ‘group fit’ over academic qualifications suggesting academic criteria may no longer need to be a barrier. Additionally, identified emergent themes involved inclusive faculty programming, safety and wellbeing, along with unifying role reversals when White students become minorities at host SA sites.
My original contribution is a holistic philosophical framework called MENSCH that engages with the collected data and avoids deficit views associated with these underrepresented student groups. MENSCH is a tool educators might use to engage with marginalized students; it also allows advisors to optimize the resources of faculty of color to gain insights into effective mentorship, incorporating inclusive program design, and creating safer spaces for SOC. The study concludes with ideas for additional broader university research using an even larger student base to further explore the emergent themes.