Establishing Connections between International Education and Multicultural Education: A Case Study of Hampshire College

Margaret Coan, School for International Training


This paper seeks to discover in what ways the fields of Multicultural Education and International Education overlap in higher education and how this plays out in practice at a specific college. One goal of this paper is to facilitate discussions about how higher education can successfully embrace both fields simultaneously, addressing issues of domestic diversity and educational access while transitioning to a more global focus.

Using a case study of Hampshire College, this paper answers the following question: In what ways do International Education and Multicultural Education intersect, if at all, at Hampshire College? Through personal interviews with administrators and students the following themes emerged from the data collected: 1) Understanding and awareness of the issues involved, 2) Lack of clear articulation and understanding of own and other office’s goals, 3) Lack of communication, 4) Lack of resources and time, 5) Minimal explicit integration between International Education and Multicultural Education, and 6) Looking towards the future to improve upon the current situation. The simple answer to my initial research question is that Hampshire does not aim to make an explicit connection between International Education and Multicultural Education, though with notable exceptions.

The term “global citizenship,” used by Hampshire College, as well as many other educational institutions, seems an attempt to define the result of an intersection of these fields. To more successfully facilitate education that leads to competent global citizenship, Hampshire needs to understand what it means by education for global citizenship and have the resources and directives in place to provide this kind of education. This would be a significant contribution to both fields, International Education and Multicultural Education, and to other colleges beginning to examine what “global citizenship” means in practice on their own campuses.