Date of Award

Spring 1-17-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Peggy Hickman

Second Advisor

Dr. Bruce Campbell

Third Advisor

Dr. Raghu Kurthakoti


Cultural intelligence (CQ) refers to an individual’s capability to successfully adapt to new or unfamiliar cultural settings (Earley & Ang, 2003). The purpose of this study was to gain a holistic and comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon of CQ within the context of higher education pedagogy. This study explored undergraduate students’ perceived outcomes of CQ based on their participation in full semester courses that embedded short-term international travel (SIT). The researcher conducted a qualitative, phenomenological case study that explored, in depth, the nuances of students’ shared lived experiences in SIT, and how these experiences intersected with students’ perceived CQ outcomes utilizing the conceptual framework of Deardorff’s (2006) Intercultural Competence Model and the theoretical framework of Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning theory. This study also explored students’ perceptions about the role that varied pedagogical elements of SIT played in their attainment of CQ.

Nine (9) phenomenological themes emerged that reinforced and expanded prior research on CQ (Deardorff, 2006; Earley & Ang, 2003; Nolan & Kurthakoti, 2017). Findings from this study filled a gap in literature about CQ by utilizing qualitative research methodology to incorporate students’ perspectives and insights using their own words, feelings, and oral stories about their SIT experiences. Results illuminated the value of integrating CQ into higher education curricula to prepare students for the demands of the 21st century global environment (Williams, Green, & Diel, 2017). Recommendations for practice included the importance of incorporating varied pedagogical elements into SIT to successfully develop students’ CQ.