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A PHASE-MODEL OF THE CROSS-CULTURAL LEARNING PROCESS OF LIS INTERNATIONAL DOCTORAL STUDENTS

Bharat Mehra

Sparking Synergies: Bringing Research and Practice Together @ ASIST '05 (ASIS&T 2005)
Westin Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, October 28 - November 2, 2005


Abstract

This paper develops a phase-model of the cross-cultural learning process of international doctoral students and provides a consolidated, in-depth, and comprehensive look at their experiences that extends prior anecdotal and survey-based efforts. Semi-structured interviews along with informal discussions, analysis of electronic interactions, and observations drawn from personal experiences as a participant-researcher identify cross-cultural learning experiences of twenty-two international doctoral students from a representative LIS program in the United States. The phases in the model of the cross-cultural learning process represent significant experiences of LIS international doctoral students in terms of cognitive (thoughts), affective (feelings), and physical (actions) aspects. Mapping participants’ concerns and challenges during their cross-cultural learning phases is used to identify interventions at the level of discipline, program, faculty, doctoral student community, and individual student that together provide a practical application to the research. Proposed interventions need to be holistically applied in conjunction with each other to promote mutual “two-way” learning where international students learn from the discipline and the discipline learns from the international students. Such an approach suggests symbiotic connections between improvements in effectiveness of student learning and LIS growth to further internationalization.

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