Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Earl Thomas


Acme University’s (AU) Strategic Plan values international student wellbeing and campus globalization; however, East Asian students (EASs) who enroll at this American university face significant linguistic and cultural barrier during their time on campus. International students typically experience acculturation-induced stress when they enter a new educational system and social environment. AU acknowledged the absence of university-sponsored programs that foster communication/acculturation between EASs and their American peers. The purpose of this study was to explore how EASs perceived interactions with their American peers (AP) on campus as the EASs attempted to acculturate. The conceptual framework used to inform the qualitative bounded case study stems from Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of needs, specifically the need to belong. Structured interviews were conducted with 8 EAS undergraduates and 3 AU administrators to answer research questions regarding (1) EAS acculturation with regard to interactions with APs and (2) obstacles to EAS acculturation stemming from campus life. To identify emerging patterns and themes, reiterative coding and analysis were done both manually and with NVivo, which resulted in data-supported answers to the research questions. Findings from the study suggested that interactions between EASs and APs are necessary for EASs’ successful acculturation and that EASs who do not achieve a sense of belonging on campus rarely acculturate. The data which emerged from the interview analysis resulted in a policy paper containing recommendations for engendering improved campus-wide interactions between EASs, the university administration, and APs. Such interactions will support social change as the university works to systematically encourage EAS acculturation and globalization on campus.