Empowered to Serve?

Higher Education International Center Directors and Their Roles on Campus Internationalization





case study,, empowerment, international students, midlevel staff


Some institutions have sought to centralize the supports they give students by developing a center or office dedicated to international students, led by a director or manager overseeing international student support. However, these directors are also not given the resources needed to fully support international students. Our study focuses on the role and empowerment of these international center leaders. A multi-institution case study approach, guided by the empowerment framework, was utilized. The first research question asked what perceptions international center directors have of the resources and support structures provided by their institutions for the growing international student population. The second research question examined how international center directors perceive their empowerment, and which dimensions of empowerment they experience, or lack. Findings include international center directors reporting their sense of empowerment is founded in their desire to serve, sense of autonomy, and the sense of meaning they find engaging in the work.

Author Biographies

Hugo Garcia, Texas Tech University, USA

Hugo A. García, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership at Texas Tech University. His research interests pertain to access and equity in higher education, community colleges, international higher education, and diversity in higher education

Jon McNaughtan, Texas Tech University, USA

Jon McNaughtan, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Educational Psychology and Leadership department in the College of Education at Texas Tech University. His research focuses on higher education leadership with an emphasis on communication, empowerment, and engagement. 

Xinyang Li, Texas Tech University, USA

Xinyang Li, M.Ed., is a Ph.D. candidate at Educational Psychology and Leadership at Texas Tech University. His major research interests revolves around psychological characteristics in online educational setting, internationalization in higher education, and Hierarchical Linear Modeling

Mi Chelle Leong, Texas Tech University, USA

Mi Chelle Leong, M.Ed, is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in the state of Texas. She received a M.Ed in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Texas Tech University and B.Sc in Psychology from Upper Iowa University. Her research interests revolves around international population, LGBTQ and cultural diversity. She is currently expanding her research interest in assessment and cultural diversity at workplace. 

Andrew Scott Herridge, Texas Tech University, USA

Andrew S. Herridge, Ph.D., is an Instructor in Women's and Gender Studies at Texas Tech University. His research interests include access and equity in higher education, LGBTQIA students and resources, institutional leadership and policy, and international higher education


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How to Cite

Garcia, H., McNaughtan, J., Li, X., Leong, M. C., & Herridge, A. S. (2021). Empowered to Serve? : Higher Education International Center Directors and Their Roles on Campus Internationalization. Journal of International Students, 11(3), 666–686. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v11i3.2039



Research Articles