Current Research Projects

Diplomacy in Higher Education: Middle Eastern Students' Perceptions on Internationalization

In order to meet the demands of an increasingly globalized world, universities have established internationalization initiatives aimed at improving the global competencies (GCs) of their students, including cultural and global understanding, awareness, and appreciation. As a central component of their internationalization efforts, universities have turned to admitting a growing number of international students in the hopes that their presence on campus will facilitate greater GCs among all students. As a result, universities have placed an expectation on these students to play the role of citizen diplomats; individuals tasked with improving global relations through their interactions with others. However, universities have done little to communicate this expectation to international students and we collectively know very little about how international students understand their diplomatic role and presence on US campuses. Focusing specifically on Middle Eastern students, a group whose presence in the US is greatly intensified by current US-Middle East relations, this dissertation utilizes focus groups, content analysis, and in-depth interviews to examine how these international students perceive and make sense of their diplomatic role while on US universities. Ultimately, I argue that in order to realize the full potential of international programs aimed at facilitating GCs, international student perspectives must be included in the design of internationalization initiatives. In so doing, I advocate for an approach to international student programs that appreciates international students as active, rather than passive, contributors to internationalization.

Publication: Geibel, W. (2019). From Cultural Resources to Public Diplomats. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education10(Winter), 39-45.

Status: This research is being conducted for my PhD dissertation and will be completed by June 2019.

Improving Global Relations through Higher Education: Towards a Pedagogy of Public Diplomacy

In this paper, I offer the initial attempt at defining a pedagogy of Public Diplomacy, that highlights the need for an educational exchange pedagogy that conceptualizes educational exchanges as both a learning experience as well as an activity of diplomacy. To do so, I bring together various educational learning theories to articulate a pedagogy of public diplomacy, which can be incorporated into university or exchange programs, and is guided by four central tenants: Acknowledging Student Agency, Breaking Down the Global-Local Divide, Facilitating Interaction, and Focusing on Relationship-Building.

Status: This manuscript is in the final stages of completion and will be submitted for publication in early 2019.

Understanding How students gain cultural knowledge in Foreign Language Courses

As globalization continues to connect cultures and peoples of the world at faster rates than ever before in human history, there is increased importance in educating students to be aware and understanding global citizens. In response, study abroad programs are exceedingly being seen as the answer: an effective way for students to enhance their cultural understanding. However, less than 10% of all students study abroad during their college careers, leaving a large void that needs to be addressed. One way to begin filling this void is through foreign language courses, which research has shown, can and do play a positive role in shaping students’ understanding of the countries/people of the studied (targeted) language. However, little is known about how participants understand and perceive cultural information in the context of a language classroom. This study investigates how students understand culture in the classroom, what outcomes they see as a result of their cultural exposure ,and how these differ or concur with the intentions of the instructor. Ultimately, this study provides valuable insight into how students are perceiving culture in the classroom and how administrators and educators may begin align instructor intentions and lessons with student perceptions of culture.

Status: This paper is currently under revision and will be re-submitted for publication by mid 2019.