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dc.contributor.authorHarrington, Marcia A.en_US

Currently more than half a million international students are enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. All of these students face challenges associated with integrating into their new host education environments and learning how to make their way through the rules and regulations of their host university and community.

Social network theories attribute behaviors to the structural and relational attributes of one's social network including access to resources and information. The social networks of most international students are insular, dense, and homogeneous and serve to reinforce cultural norms in the host society. Further, they provide little to no access to dissimilar others and limit information flow to redundant information.

China and India are the countries of origin of over 20% of U.S. international students. The goal of this research was to understand the constructs of the Chinese and Indian students' social networks and ascertain factors affecting satisfaction and influencing academic progression. Support related to making their way through the university system and residing in the host community framed the social networks. Among the variables studied were tie strength, homogeneity, and roles and relationships of network members.

Results indicated that while significant differences existed within the Chinese and Indian student populations, their networks contained many similarities. Males' networks were more homogeneous and dense than females' networks and weak links were more prevalent in females' networks. Chinese males had the most insular networks. The networks of Indian students and Chinese females were in many cases more similar with one another and different from those of Chinese males. Network members were predominately friends and most were students. University faculty and staff were present in only 12% of Chinese males' networks and at least 25% of all other groups.

Not all students were satisfied that their networks met their needs. Despite having the largest networks, Chinese students wanted even larger networks. Just under half of Indian students wanted larger networks. Universally, students indicated their networks enabled academic progression and Chinese females rated their networks more effective than all others. Despite significant differences among and between the populations, the students were able to invoke effective networks enabling academic progression.

dc.publisherVirginia Techen_US
dc.rightsI hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to Virginia Tech or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report.en_US
dc.subjectEducational progressionen_US
dc.subjectGraduate Studentsen_US
dc.subjectSocial Supporten_US
dc.subjectIndian studentsen_US
dc.subjectChinese studentsen_US
dc.subjectSocial Networksen_US
dc.titleNavigating the university system: The effects of Chinese and Indian graduate students' social networks on academic progressionen_US
dc.contributor.departmentEducational Leadership and Policy Studiesen_US
dc.description.degreePh. D.en_US D.en_US Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen_US Leadership and Policy Studiesen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMuffo, John A.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWilkinson, Thomas W.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberDePauw, Karen P.en_US
dc.contributor.committeecochairBlieszner, Rosemaryen_US
dc.contributor.committeecochairCreamer, Donald G.en_US

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