Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Hytten, Kathy


In this phenomenological study, I examined the educational experiences of six international doctoral students of Education at a Midwestern university. The purpose of this study is to understand how the participants make meaning of their educational experiences. Several theories influenced this study. These include critical theory, co-cultural theory, transformative learning theory and the concept of cultural scripts. A qualitative approach was used to gather detailed data from the participants. Data collection included a series of three in-depth, semi-structured interviews with each participant and two focus group interviews. All of the data collected were carefully coded, looking for three central topics of self reflection, transformative experiences, and meaning making. The participants' understanding of their transformation as learners tied closely to their academic accomplishments, which include completing tasks and assignments, being accepted in academic community, having articles published in academic journals, and presenting their academic work at conferences. Much of their transformation and meaning making related to their instrumental learning. The study suggests that educators should encourage students to broaden their frames of reference by inviting them to engage in meaningful discussion that is beyond instrumental learning in order for the students to develop critical thinking and to be in charge and accountable for their learning towards critical consciousness.




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