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Theodore P. Gerber University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Presentation on theme: "Theodore P. Gerber University of Wisconsin-Madison."— Presentation transcript:

1 Theodore P. Gerber University of Wisconsin-Madison

2 Challenges How do we evaluate whether NRCs are accomplishing their goals when at least some of their intended outcomes are difficult to observe? Politicized criticisms of NRCs: particularly important to provide hard evidence speaking to effectiveness Difficulties of making causal inferences based on observational data NRCs and undergraduates

3 GLOWS Global Learning Outcomes at Wisconsin Survey Funded by Wisconsin NRCs, the International Institute, and a grant from the Provost’s Assessment Fund Objective: assess whether NRCs are affecting global competence of undergraduates

4 Global Competence Knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with the ability to live, act, and work effectively in different international contexts, and to understand and respond to global challenges. familiarity with the world outside the United States ability to speak foreign languages recognition of the inter-connectedness of the world and the evolving role of the US in relation to other countries intellectual traits like open-mindedness, flexibility, curiosity about different cultures, and empathy needed to respond and adapt to the wide range of human practices and experiences one finds across the globe

5 Global Competence Educators: global competence is an essential ingredient for economic, social, and civic success in an increasingly globalized world. NRCs should be helping produce globally competent students who will engage internationally in business, government, civic, and social capacities after graduating. UW’s Division of International Studies is expressly committed to generating a high level of global competence among UW students: content/uploads/2010/08/strategies.pdfhttp://international.wisc.edu/wp- content/uploads/2010/08/strategies.pdf

6 Research Design Survey UW sophomores and seniors Measure global competence using the Intercultural Learning Outcomes (ILO) battery 29 questions designed in a University of Georgia study by Richard Sutton and Donald Rubin to measure global competence using self-reports by students (http://glossari.uga.edu/).http://glossari.uga.edu/ Test whether involvement in NRCs (and other programs such as study abroad) is associated with higher levels of global competence among students Try to identify causal effects

7 Causal effects of NRC participation? Students who participate in NRCs may already be more globally competent than those who opt not to Differences in average global competence levels may be endogenous (i.e. due to self-selection)

8 Causal effects of NRC participation? Solution: use a propensity-score matching approach within the broad framework of counterfactual causal analysis to identify causal effects First, estimate a model predicting NRC participation Then, retrieve each respondent’s probability of participating (propensity score) based on observed characteristics Then, compare each actual participant to the non- participant with the closest probability of participating (matching) Average across all participants to obtain the “average effect of treatment on the treated” (ATT)

9 Implementation IRB approval obtained UWSC prepared and conducted a web survey Obtained lists of all UW sophomores and seniors in the AY Four rounds of invitations to participate sent out, March 26-April 16, 2013 Incentive: drawing for two Ipads 3195 students completed the survey, and 684 completed it partially Response rate: 22.3% 3130 usable questionnaires completed by US citizens

10 Results: global competence Self-assessed global competence varies across the range of questions

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13 Results: five dimensions Factor analysis identified five distinct dimensions of global competence Cultural competence (ability to operate in a foreign country) Global knowledge (understanding of inter-relatedness of events and developments in different parts of the world) Cultural sensitivity (appreciation for how cultural context shapes meaning and norms) Geography knowledge Personal flexibility (patience and flexibility in dealing with difference)

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16 Results: NRCs Most (60%-80%) undergrads either have never heard of them or have heard of them but do not know anything about them However, sizable minorities (5%-14% of all UW sophomores and seniors) have heard of each center and know at least “something” about it Variation by centers

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19 Results: NRCs Among those who know at least ‘a little bit’ about the centers, there is greatest awareness of the cultural events (other than film series) they sponsor and certificate programs that they administer Participation is highest in cultural events, film series, and brown bag lectures Overall, there are 383 respondents who participate at least “sometimes” in at least one specific NRC activity These are “NRC affiliates”

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22 Defining Affiliates Students who participate at least “sometimes” in at least one core NRC activity.

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24 NRC affiliates NRC affiliation varies by a range of variables Lower among engineering, business, and CALS majors Higher among IS majors Higher among minorities (Hispanics, blacks, Asians) Higher among seniors than sophomores No variation by whether student graduated high school in Wisconsin

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26 NRC affiliates To predict NRC affiliation, we have an unusually rich set of background variables Lived abroad as a child HS language courses Frequency of discussing foreign affairs with parents, friends during HS Parental education and experiences living/studying abroad Also important to control for current course-taking in foreign language and area studies Probit regression shows these variables predict NRC affiliation rather effectively

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28 Results: NRC impact Unconditional mean comparisons indicate that global competence is consistently and significantly higher among NRC affiliates than among non-affiliates Matching estimators (ATTs) show weaker effects, but they are still statistically significant for four of the five dimensions of global competence The ATTs take into account other observable variables that relate to both NRC affiliation and GC

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30 Conclusions NRC affiliation has a positive effect on cultural competence, global knowledge, cultural sensitivity, and geography knowledge among undergraduates. If policy makers and educators care about improving global competence, they should continue to support the NRC program. These results should be replicated at other universities.


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