Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploratory Case Study of Student Understanding of Racial Bias following International Experiential Learning and Study Abroad in East Africa
by Hughes, Micah S., Ph.D., Ashford University, 2020, 270; 28148616
Abstract (Summary)

International study abroad most often requires U.S students, of all racial demographics, to engage in unique interracial learning environments. While negative outcomes of racial bias are well documented, the effects of study abroad experiences on student racial bias perceptions are not well understood. The purpose of this exploratory case study was to gain understanding of how alumni understand their study abroad experiences to influence racial bias perception. Racial bias perceptions of student alumni of a study abroad program in East Africa were evaluated using Neville et al.’s (2000) Color-Blindness Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS) and qualitative open-ended questioning. Results indicated low levels of racial colorblindness among participants and evidence of transformative learning, racial identity development, racial consciousness, and anti-racism learning among Black, Latinx, and White students. Results indicated global health students had higher colorblind racial bias (M = 42.6) than interdisciplinary students (M = 40.4), and social work students displayed the lowest colorblind racial bias (M = 35.9) of this population.

Five themes emerged from participant insights describing racial conscious learning from: (1) integration of race conscious curriculum and experiential learning, (2) mutuality in local relationships, (3) U.S. faculty in the study abroad context, (4) exposure to implications of racism in a field study, and (5) student reflections of racial majority/minority dynamics. Implications for future study abroad practice included the importance of empowerment of students of color in study abroad, opportunities for anti-racism learning in study abroad, and the relevance of race conscious curriculum in study abroad programs.

Results of this study were congruent with several constructivist, social identity, and racial learning theories. Student perceptions of how and why study abroad experiences influenced implicit racial bias, racial colorblindness, critical consciousness, and racial identity development could inform higher education curricula with interdisciplinary intersections of anti-racism pedagogy, experiential learning, diversity, equity, inclusion, critical race theory, and transformative learning theory. Recommendations for further research include a comparative study of CoBRAS scores for participants pre- and post-study abroad, considering perceptions of racial minority/majority dynamics in study abroad settings, interracial mentorship during experiential learning, and racial bias learning evaluation of students in other study abroad locations.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hemerda, Jodie
Commitee: Fiore, Todd
School: Ashford University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 82/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher education, Multicultural Education, Educational sociology
Keywords: Anti-racism pedagogy, Educational philosophy, Educational psychology, Educational tests &Measurement, Racial bias, Vocational education
Publication Number: 28148616
ISBN: 9798672191041
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