The Intercultural Development of Aspiring Leaders at Texas A and M

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Palsa, Michele M.
Intercultural; Development; Students; Higher Education; University
thesis / dissertation description
As we continue to work toward a better understanding of global issues and intercultural sensitivity, educators must identify areas where we can facilitate positive change in ourselves and in our students. This descriptive study incorporates the Intercultural Development Inventory to measure orientations toward cultural differences of three aspiring student groups, the Corps of Cadet Leaders, the Peer Diversity Leaders and the Tsunami Fulbright Leaders, as described in the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS). The DMIS assumes that construing cultural difference can become an active part of one?s worldview, resulting in an expanded understanding of one?s own and other cultures, and an increased competence and sensitivity in intercultural relations. The quantitative portion of this study was reported using appropriate quantitative techniques. The data collected was processed and initially scored using the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). Data was then further analyzed using a statistical software program (SPSS) and statistical correlations, multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVAs) were computed. This study is unique in that it breaks new ground in the measurement of the levels of intercultural sensitivity of three groups of students from various organizations at the university level. The Intercultural Development Inventory, distributed to 38 students, revealed that students in this small study are all in a stage of denial, defense or minimization. The study points to recommendations for change, from a developmental training perspective, to encourage students to become effective in their intercultural relationships. Use of the IDI and interventions to assist in finding ways to increase cultural sensitivity will assist aspiring student leaders in all walks of life.