UNIVERSITY RESPONSE TO CRISIS EVENTS INVOLVING INTERNATIONAL POPULATIONS: THE CASE OF SEVEN DIRECTORS OF INTERNATIONAL OFFICES
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This qualitative research study focuses on crisis events affecting university international populations. It explores how seven directors of university international offices at seven different geographical locations in Texas respond to those events. The study findings shed light on the current state of crisis preparedness in higher education from the perspective of the participating directors and their narratives. The main research question guiding the study is: What is the state of crisis preparedness in higher education involving international populations? The following sub-questions supported the investigation: 1) What were the directors’ journeys into international education and their pathways toward becoming directors of the international offices at the institutions where they work? 2) What is the current state of international education in higher education institutions? 3) What types of crisis events related to international populations have the participants in this study dealt with while working at their institutions? 4) How have they managed these crisis events and what mechanisms are there in place in order to deal with crisis events? A series of ethnographic interviews, as well as field notes, researcher’s log, and documents, served as data collection sources in order to inform study findings. Data were analyzed using cross case analysis and narrative analysis techniques. As a result, the participating director’s profiles, examples of crises, a typology of crisis events, and the future of internationalization are presented in chapters three and four. An important contribution product of implementing the study and conducting a close review of the literature is the proposed model for crisis management and best practices presented chapter five. The proposed model illustrates the role that the international office, information sources, international office staff expertise, other university units, stakeholders, and the crisis management team play in the crisis management process. In summary, the study aims to increase understanding of university crisis management of international populations and strives to provide the reader with a frame of reference for developing crisis management processes applicable to their institutions as they better see it fit.