Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Fred J. Galloway, EdD, Chair; Paula A. Cordeiro, EdD, Member; Robert Donmoyer, PhD, Member


cultural adjustment problems, higher education, international students, Leadership studies, perception, private universities, university personnel


The influx of international students studying at United States colleges and universities during the past five decades has presented many challenges related to accommodating the needs of these “special” students. In the early 1950s, fewer than 40,000 international students were enrolled within the higher education system of the U.S.; today that number has grown to more than 490,000 students. The problems confronted by these students are both numerous and complex. University personnel often address these problems by developing specific programs designed to meet the needs of the international students at their university. However, the perceptions of these problems by international students, faculty, and staff differ in important ways. To explore these problems in more detail, this study first collected data from 215 international students and 44 university personnel at one liberal arts university and a doctoral comprehensive university in the United States, both religiously affiliated, through the use of a well-established survey instrument. The responses from these two groups were then compared and analyzed through the use of paired sample t-tests in 11 possible areas of concern, ranging from health services to financial aid. After their responses were compared and analyzed, multiple regression analysis was then used to examine the extent to which the variation in their responses could be explained by a number of demographic factors. The findings of the study revealed that the university personnel on both campuses significantly overstated the problems of international students, although both groups considered the problems to be relatively minor. Since it was thought that the students would consider their problems more serious than the university personnel, this suggests that the two universities are responding appropriately to a large majority of the problems faced by international students on their campuses. When the student responses were examined in detail, country of origin time at the university, and the particular university attended proved to be significant factors in explaining the variance in the student responses, while gender, marital status, and major field of study did not.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access