The influence of campus internationalization on local communities

William P Kiehl, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation is a study of the influence of campus internationalization on the local community. Case studies were undertaken at three small colleges in Pennsylvania (Dickinson College, Elizabethtown College, and Gettysburg College) and in the three small communities (Carlisle, Elizabethtown and Gettysburg) where the colleges are located. The study attempts to determine if there is an influence on the local community stemming from internationalization efforts on the campus; what the nature and extent of that influence is; and what that influence may inform us about higher education internationalization and internationalization's role in the relationship between colleges and communities. This study is a qualitative case study approach, using 68 one-on-one interviews with administrators and faculty and with a range of community leaders. A document review was conducted using available internal materials of the three colleges and those of relevant community organizations. In addition, the study reviewed relevant print media, including local newspapers, newsletters, college newspapers and other publicly available sources in order to triangulate and validate the data. Techniques from various disciplines including education, history, political science, and sociology were used to refine the data. Words of the college and community members were used extensively so that local people could tell their own stories. The results should be of interest to college administrators, particularly those involved in international programs and in community outreach as well as to leaders of a variety of community organizations. Given the importance placed on higher education internationalization by the federal government, the findings should also interest policy makers and specialists in internationalization at the federal level. Among the findings are: influences from campus internationalization among small colleges in small communities are largely socio-political rather than economic; too little attention has been paid to how internationalization plays out in the local community; there is too little visibility for international students in the community and too few college connections with local elementary and secondary schools; college/community partnerships in internationalization remain underutilized but when colleges make the extra effort to engage the community in campus internationalization there are real rewards for both the campus and the community. The study makes several recommendations for colleges to consider regarding internationalization and local communities as well as suggestions for further research.

Subject Area

School administration|Sociology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Kiehl, William P, "The influence of campus internationalization on local communities" (2007). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3255869.