Cultural Awareness Levels of Professionals and Students at Mississippi State University: International Education's Challenge
Cottrell, William Edward Stephen
AdvisorOkojie, Mabel CPO
Davis, James E.
CommitteeAdams, James H.
Mack, Taylor E.
The literature indicates that America's demographic transformation is becoming a priority issue for higher education. Consequently, progressive educational leadership has a stake in international education development. Since enhanced cultural awareness is essential to this process, its scarcity in terms of measurable evidence has given rise to this study. Research questions included: (1) What is the level of cultural awareness among professional employees and students at Mississippi State University as measured by the Culture Shock Inventory Measurement Table? (2) Do demographic factors relate to cultural awareness levels of professional employees and students at Mississippi State University? (3) What role does international exposure play in improving cultural awareness of the professional employees and students at Mississippi State University? The methodology used was descriptive, bivariate, and multiple regression. Data were collected in the fall of 2004. The source answers came from a self-administered, 10% random samplings of the institution?s educational administrators and faculty and a classroom administered convenience sampling of students. The study used demographics (gender, ethnicity, and religiosity) and international exposure (travel abroad and second language ability) in association with four dependent indices (Lack of Western Ethnocentrism, Behavioral Flex, Cultural Knowledge-Specific, and Interpersonal Sensitivity) from the Culture Shock Inventory survey. Significant findings included: (1) All groups scored below the norm in the Lack of Western Ethnocentrism and Cultural Knowledge-Specific categories. (2) In the Behavioral Flex category, only the educational administrators and faculty scored below the norm. (3) All three sampling groups were above the norm in the Interpersonal Sensitivity category. (4) No Blacks were part of the random sampling in the faculty category. (5) The executive administration consisted of 102 personnel of which six were minorities. (7) The number of female administrators was significantly higher than their male counterparts and the number of male faculty was significantly higher than their female counterparts. (8) Protestant religiosity dominated all sample groups. (9) Over 90% of all three-sample groups had never been to a non-English speaking nation for more than one month. (10) Nineteen percent of the professional employees claimed command of a second language, as did 17% of the student category.