Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Lolita A. Tabron

Second Advisor

Nicholas Cutforth

Third Advisor

Erin Anderson


Cultural competence in education, Culturally responsive pedagogy, Educational administration programs, International doctoral students, International education, Internationalization


Background: In recent years, more international students are enrolling in Educational Administration (EA) programs in the United States. While EA programs wish to recruit and retain international students, more research is needed on supporting international graduate students in graduate education programs and EA programs specifically. Purpose: The present phenomenological study aims to understand the experience of international doctoral students in U.S. EA programs. The present research was guided by the question: “What is the essence of international postgraduate student experiences in EA programs in the United States?” Methodology: The present study used hermeneutic phenomenology to describe and interpret data from 27 interviews. Participants represent six campuses across the United States. Their countries of origin and years of graduate study vary. Results: Data revealed the following themes: 1) Faculty intercultural understanding plays a vital role in international students’ cultural adaptation and success, and 2) Cultural differences in epistemologies and expectations added challenges and confusion. The primary findings of this study is that cultural differences and American epistemology caused misalignment between international students and faculty expectations. I offer policy, practice, and research implications based on these findings.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Ping Robert


Received from ProQuest

File Format



English (eng)


163 pgs

File Size

995 KB


Educational administration, Educational leadership, Education policy