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Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Kent Warren

Second Advisor

Janet Bennett

First Committee Member

Laura Bathurst

Abstract

This thesis investigated the success of global awareness co,curricular programming as a tool for increasing intercultural knowledge at a liberal arts college. The study asked the following question: do internationally themed campus-wide events increase student interest in, and appreciation of, difference?

Students in this study were involved in two activities: a semester-long series of South Asian themed events (the Wooster Forum and the Forum Auxiliary Events) and the First Year Seminar in Critical Inquiry (FYS). Two sections ofFYS had themes related to that of the Wooster Forum while the other two did not. Levels of student openness to difference and intercultural awareness were measured by the Intercultural Effectiveness Scale (Kozai, 2009a) both before and after exposure to the events of the Wooster Forum. An additional institutionally designed questionnaire was also administered to determine students' participation in the events and to allow them to share their perspectives of the programming offered.

Results indicated that the majority of students at the start of the study demonstrated a lack of interest in and awareness of the differences that exist between cultures. At the end of study, those students in sections of FYS without strong links to the theme of the Wooster Forum showed greater movement on the elements of the Intercultural Effectiveness Scale that indicate intercultural openness than the students in sections with close links. Surprisingly, this movement was likely to be negative. Survey results revealed the importance of both friendship groups and the perception of fun as students decided which events in which to participate. Both instruments indicated the need for clear context setting for each event, and for opportunities for structured - ~ reflection and discussion in order to maximize intercultural learning. The study concluded with recommendations regarding future global awareness programming in this specific institutional context

Pages

145

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