Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Walpole, MaryBeth

Committee Member 1

Dale, Dianna

Committee Member 2

Harris, Katherine


Arab Culture, Gulf Region, International Branch Campuses, Middle East Higher Education, Student Affairs work overseas


Education and globalization; College branch campuses; Student affairs administrators


Higher Education


The internationalization movement in higher education expanded quickly in the past two decades. While efforts varied among institutions, the common and preferred approach has been creation of International Branch Campuses (IBC). Currently, there are 283 IBCs, 30% of which are located in the Middle East region.

This study explored the role of local culture context in shaping Western student affairs practices implemented at the American IBCs in the State of Qatar. A qualitative single-case study included interviews with 14 Western expatriates who were re-cited from the United States to work in the Student Affairs departments in Education City, Qatar. The intercultural competence framework was utilized to guide the study.

Findings revealed the influence of the local cultural context in shaping student affairs practitioners' programs and events. Participants noted that they work in a collective society, with strong families ties and influence, with significant differences between Eastern and Western cultures. They described modifications to their events and programs to make them more relevant and to meet the needs of their local students and made recommendations for transition of new student affairs staff in the Middle East.

Research findings suggest the significant role of the local Arab culture in shaping student affairs programs and initiatives differently from those in the United States.