Phenomenological Study of Higher Educational Leaders' Lived Experiences of Cultural Diversity After 9/11

Phenomenological Study of Higher Educational Leaders' Lived Experiences of Cultural Diversity After 9/11

Author: 
Sana Rafiq-Mitchell
Program of study: 
Ed.D.
Abstract: 
The purpose of the qualitative descriptive phenomenological study was to explore higher educational leaders’ lived experiences of cultural diversity after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. The descriptive accounts of higher educational leaders’ lived experiences of cultural diversity after 9/11 resulted in nine themes. The nine themes included (a) emotional confusion research participants experienced following 9/11, (b) concerns regarding personal security experienced by the research participants after 9/11, and (c) awareness of social and professional interactions with minorities. The other themes were (d) tendency to culturally stereotype international or multiethnic people following 9/11, (e) awareness of a high number of controversial political references of participants. The next sets of themes were (f) media perpetuates cultural stereotypes following 9/11, (g) occurrences of social or professional conflicts after 9/11, and (h) interest in diversity initiatives and programs initiated following 9/11. The final theme was (i) advocacy of responsible, inclusive, and nondiscriminatory leadership practices in higher education. Conclusions drawn from the study indicated the presence of opportunities for change in higher education. Three recommendations are made: (a) Create a communication and behavior watchdog committee to monitor issues relating to diversity, race, and cultural infractions on campuses. (b) Hold mandatory quarterly professional development training for administration, faculty, and staff in sensitivity training. (c) Promote intercultural collaborative activities among domestic and foreign students to increase socialization and work partnership.
Dedication: 
Dedicated to my mom (Najma) and my dad (Mohammed) for their belief and support, for always going above and beyond their way in making this dream a possibility. To my husband (Ardis) for being a generous spirit, friend, and companion; always seeing the best in me; and allowing me the space and time to complete this rigorous and rewarding journey. To my siblings and the new family members who have joined the family in the past years, including my beautiful nieces: I thank you all. To Omer, my baby brother, for always being there, patiently and kindly chauffeuring me around, not judging my nocturnal study schedule, and most importantly, risking your life to serve this country. To my friends whom I have intermittently ignored, stayed in touch with, and immensely appreciated for unconditional kindness, love, and generosity in seeing the best in me: Indranu Suhendro, Dima Shaheen, Hadj Amari, and Jenifer Wills. Thank you for crossing my path.
Acknowledgements: 
I would like to acknowledge the superior support and vote of confidence I have received from my dissertation chair/mentor, Dr. Norma J. Turner, since the day when I first shared my dissertation idea with her. With unconditional support and flexibility, Dr. Turner allowed me the time and space to build my dissertation study, which has been invaluable. I would like to acknowledge Dr. Patricia Callow’s critical eye in assisting my work to emerge for what it truly represents, thank you. I would like to thank Dr. Debra Beebe for her wonderfully critical ideas that contributed strength and value to my dissertation research study. I would like to mention and thank my residency instructors: Dr. Donna E. Scribner, Dr. Linda Crawford, Dr. Anastasia Metros, and Dr. Kenneth C. Sherman for their expert facilitation and guidance.