Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Cecile Garmon (Director), Jie Zhang, Paul Markham, Bernard Strenecky

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


This study evaluates the effects of an intensive intercultural service-learning program on the intercultural competence of undergraduate students enrolled in Cultural Diversity in the U.S., a general education course at Western Kentucky University. This program utilized The $100 Solution™ model, in which groups of students partnered with local immigrant and refugee families, to teach them about U.S. culture, learn about their cultures, and implement a project to assist them in their integration process. The program included two hours of out-of-classroom work for over twelve weeks. Through the principle of reciprocity, The $100 Solution™ model provided an interaction framework in which students and refugee families met to learn from each other. This quasi-experimental study utilized pre- and post-course self-assessments of intercultural competence, as measured by the Cultural Intelligence Scale and the Intercultural Sensitivity Scale. A total of 170 students participated in the research. The data were collected from students enrolled in six sections of the course across two semesters in the 2012-2013 academic year. Three sections were control sections with no service-learning component. Three sections were treatment sections with the servicelearning component. Students chose whether to enroll in control or treatment sections. By comparing results from students who completed the service-learning component with results from those who did not, this study revealed that participation in the service-learning component had a significant impact on the development of students’ intercultural competence throughout the semester. According to MANCOVA utilizing pre-course scores as covariates, the only significant difference between both groups was in the cultural intelligence action scores, which measure intercultural skills. According to repeated measures ANOVA, treatment students demonstrated a significantly larger growth in cultural intelligence action and strategy scores. On the other hand, control students demonstrated a significantly larger growth in cultural intelligence knowledge scores. The largest effect size was on cultural intelligence action scores, supporting the hypothesis that, while courses with intercultural classroom content increase students’ intercultural knowledge, awareness, and sensitivity, intensive intercultural servicelearning programs are uniquely suited to increase students’ intercultural skills.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Educational Leadership | Higher Education | International and Comparative Education | International and Intercultural Communication