Publication Date

2003

Abstract

Today's world calls for the evaluation of how higher education is facilitating academic and personal growth in their students. In a more complex and interdependent world, the need for increased intercultural understanding is greater than ever. This capstone asks how international and multicultural educators at liberal arts colleges address individual intercultural growth and development. While higher education has evolved from an education for the elite to an education for the preparation of skilled workers, a steadfast component of higher education is liberal arts learning. Liberal learning is global, holistic, cross-disciplinary, and preparatory for thinking, acting and participating in a changing world. International education, the exchange of people, goods and information between nations, and multicultural education, the acquisition of knowledge, understanding and compassion for the diversity of people and cultures within a nation, are two major sources in higher education for collaboration that fosters and supports a greater global understanding and identity in college students. This research is based on a cross-disciplinary literature review and a survey of practitioners in international and multicultural education at liberal arts institutions. While strategies for greater collaboration of intercultural educators is offered, the practical application of this work has yet to be fully realized. This will require the difficult task of shifting the institutional thinking of higher education regarding the purpose of liberal arts education in today's world. Today's world calls for the evaluation of how higher education is facilitating academic and personal growth in their students. In a more complex and interdependent world, the need for increased intercultural understanding is greater than ever. This capstone asks how international and multicultural educators at liberal arts colleges address individual intercultural growth and development. While higher education has evolved from an education for the elite to an education for the preparation of skilled workers, a steadfast component of higher education is liberal arts learning. Liberal learning is global, holistic, cross-disciplinary, and preparatory for thinking, acting and participating in a changing world. International education, the exchange of people, goods and information between nations, and multicultural education, the acquisition of knowledge, understanding and compassion for the diversity of people and cultures within a nation, are two major sources in higher education for collaboration that fosters and supports a greater global understanding and identity in college students. This research is based on a cross-disciplinary literature review and a survey of practitioners in international and multicultural education at liberal arts institutions. While strategies for greater collaboration of intercultural educators is offered, the practical application of this work has yet to be fully realized. This will require the difficult task of shifting the institutional thinking of higher education regarding the purpose of liberal arts education in today's world.

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