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Measuring international service outcomes: implications for international social work field placements.

FIELD EDUCATION IS THE signature educational and training pedagogy of the social work profession. In recent years, approximately 20% to 30% of all schools of social work in the United States and 40% to 50% of all schools of social work in Canada reported situating students in field placements outside of their home country (Caragata & Sanchez, 2002; Panos, Pettys, Cox, & Jones, 2004). These rates are believed to be much higher than in previous decades and, given the increased focus on globalization in social work curricula, researchers expect the rates to increase (Dominelli & Bernard, 2003; Johnson, 2004; Lyons, 2006; Rowe, 2000).

International field placements have the potential to contextualize course content in the international arena and to provide a venue for students to develop the skills they need for practice in a globalized world (International Association of Schools of Social Work/ International Federation of Social Workers [IASSW/IFSW], 2005; Krajewski-Jaime, Brown, & Kaufman, 1996; Nagy & Falk, 2000; Reisch & Jarman-Rohde, 2000). As they serve in international placements, students are expected to increase their professional knowledge and cross-cultural competence, their understanding of how global issues affect local social issues, their open-mindedness about others, and their use of knowledge from other traditions to enrich domestic social work practice (Abram & Cruce, 2007; Healy, 1990; Webber, 2005).

International placements may be particularly effective in helping students meet core competencies consistent with the new accreditation standards established by the profession, which are to "recognize the global interconnections of oppression and ... the extent to which a culture's structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power" (Council on Social Work Education [CSWE], 2008, p. 5). With shifting demographic trends and increased cultural diversity in the United States and abroad, there is heightened concern about developing culturally competent practitioners (Sue & Sue, 1999). Schools of social work have responded by facilitating international field education, and by including international content in social work courses (Krajewski-Jaime et al., 1996; Lough, 2009; Reichert, 1998).

Despite the growing prevalence of international field placements, research on student outcomes is underdeveloped, and schools of social work have not made research on outcomes of international placements a priority (Caragata & Sanchez, 2002). Consequently, what specifically changes the student's experience--or if these changes are always beneficial--remains unclear (Wehbi, 2009). Although a handful of descriptive studies document students' experiences in international field placements--and the potential outcomes of these experiences, these studies are difficult to generalize to other placements (Abram, Slosar, & Walls, 2005; Barlow, 2007; Boyle, Nackerud, & Kilpatrick, 1999; Pawar, Hanna, & Sheridan, 2004).

During a recent roundtable discussion at CSWE's Annual Program Meeting (APM), scholars and field educators from multiple schools discussed central principles of effective practice in international field placements (Lough, 2009). These scholars emphasized the importance of understanding and empirically documenting effective principles and practices. Additional roundtables and papers at the APM were dedicated to the importance and growing relevance of this topic to social work education, including the need to measure the outcomes of international placements on students, host agencies, and communities.

To document and understand the outcomes of international field placements in social work, this study reports on a survey instrument that measures major outcomes of international service--the International Volunteering Impacts Survey (MS). Many of the items contained in the IVIS relate to competencies listed In CSWE's Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (2008).

First we summarize expected outcomes from international placements. Next we present the methods used to validate the IVIS, reporting the results of the factor analysis and reliability analyses of identified subscales. Finally, we discuss the overall validity of the findings and implications of using the IVIS to study the impacts of international placements on social work students specifically.

Background

International field placements in social work education are considered international volunteer service in that they are designed to benefit both the host site and students, are not strictly compulsory, and are not well remunerated (Furco, 1996; Lough, 2009; Mooney & Edwards, 2001). As a matter of practice, international volunteer-sending organizations often partner with educational institutions to make international placements available to students--thus reducing the burden on schools of social work to set up and facilitate placement details. Partnerships between international service programs and social work pedagogy emphasize the importance of linking knowledge of international volunteer service (IVS) to international field placements.

In developing the concepts measured in the IVIS, we reviewed more than 65 empirical studies that encompassed a wide range of international assignments, including volunteering, service learning, study abroad, and other experiential-based international placements (Sherraden, Lough, & McBride, 2008). These measures were designed to encompass the full range of experiential-based international placements, including internships and field placements. Across these studies, outcomes on volunteers typically focused on changes in international or development-related life plans, civic engagement, international contacts, intercultural competence, and various other skills and abilities.

Internationally Related Life Plans

Intercultural volunteer experiences are often transformative, and frequently lead to significant educational, occupational, and life changes (Cooney, 1983; Hudson, 1996; Jones, 2005). These changes in life plans may include committing to language learning, working with immigrants and refugees, confronting human trafficking, or getting involved in education or occupations that focus on international or social and economic development issues. Such changes are an important goal of international field placements, which are designed to increase students' interests in global issues and affairs (Dominelli & Bernard, 2003). As one assessment of international placement outcomes demonstrated, more than 70% of students who worked or studied in a developing country were later employed in the field of international development (Farquhar, 1999).

Civic Engagement

Civic engagement is "the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation" to promote "the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes" (Ehrlich, 2000, p. vi). This broad construct includes a range of behaviors such as volunteering, voting behaviors, community participation, philanthropy, civic activism, and media attentiveness (Jennings & Zeitner, 2003; Putnam, 2000; Verba, Schlozman, & Brady, 1995). In the IVIS, we focus on two subconcepts: civic activism and community engagement.

Civic activism focuses largely on the political processes of civic engagement. It includes boycotting, petitioning, attending political meetings, discussing politics, and contacting others to promote an issue (Norris, 2002; Pattie & Seyd, 2003). Civic activism is considered an important component of an active and inclusive democracy, social justice, socioeconomic equality, and overall civic health (Skocpol & Fiorina, 1999). Civic activism is also an essential component of social reform and of the empowerment tradition in social work practice (Abramovitz, 1998; Simon, 1994).

Community engagement, as defined in this study, is comparatively nonpolitical, and focuses on local involvement and participation. For social workers to have a positive effect on society, they must learn the importance of engaging in local community activities such as volunteering and participating in local groups, clubs, and organizations.

International Social Contacts

Volunteers frequently find that international experiences increase their international social contacts (Davis Smith, Ellis, & Howlett, 2002; Universalia, Jackson & Associates, & Salasan, 2005). These contacts include the use of personal and organizational ties or connections with those in other countries. International social contacts, which can be considered a form of social capital (Portes, 1998; Putnam, 2000), offer a variety of social and economic advantages for international volunteers (McGehee & Santos, 2005). Establishing international contacts and partnerships is imperative for students who desire to practice international social work. Previous volunteers have used international contacts to coordinate humanitarian aid projects, exchange opportunities, research trips, internships, or return trips to the host country (Lough, McBride, & Sherraden, 2009).

Intercultural Competence

Prior studies have provided evidence that international service enhances intercultural competence (Alred, Byram, & Fleming, 2003). Although some scholars prefer to use related terms denoting greater humility--such as intercultural sensitivity--we use the term intercultural competence because it has received the greatest attention and scholarship in the field (Deardorff, 2004; Fantini, 2007; Hammer, 2005). Intercultural competence refers to "the ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in intercultural situations based on one's intercultural knowledge, skills, and attitudes" (Deardorff, 2008, p. 33). More precisely, intercultural competence consists of knowledge of intercultural practices; the ability to listen and relate to others of different backgrounds; and attitudes such as open-mindedness, curiosity, and respect toward different cultures and practices. Given its broad definition, the concept of intercultural competence consists of three distinct concepts: open-mindedness, intercultural relations, and international understanding.

Open-mindedness measures a person's capacity to look at situations from multiple perspectives, to see various sides of a disagreement, and to be flexible in thinking and ideas. Open-mindedness is not a concession to relativistic thought but a willingness to try new things, to consider new facts, and to change views based on consideration of these facts (Hare, 1985). Open-mindedness is often associated with tolerance, peace, acceptance of diversity, and reduction of stereotypes and prejudice--all fundamental qualities of social work education and practice (Blommaert & Verschueren, 1998).

Intercultural relations measures one's interest in relationships with people of other cultural or ethnic backgrounds as well as one's actual relations with them. Research on intercultural relations is concerned primarily with how people of different cultural backgrounds interact and how these interactions affect their perceptions and behaviors toward members of other ethnic and cultural groups (Berry, 1999; Endicott, Bock, & Narvaez, 2003). Whether with people living abroad or with people living in their country of origin, these relations are important to culturally competent practice (Galambos, 2003).

International understanding refers to peoples' comprehension of issues related to global poverty and economic development. Many leaders in social work education emphasize the importance of understanding global issues (Healy, 2001; Hokenstad, Khinduka, & Midgley, 1992; IASSW/IFSW, 2005). Scholars and educators have expressed concern that educational institutions in the United States may not be sufficiently teaching international understandings of "the world beyond national borders to evaluate information about international and global issues and make sound judgments about them" (Barker, 2000, p. 2). According to the most recent accreditation standards established by the profession, schools of social work are responsible for teaching students about the realities of global interconnections and relationships (CSWE, 2008).

These outcomes represent key educational goals of international social work field placements. Scholars of educational policy understand the core competencies associated with social work field education to be measurable knowledge, values, skills, and behaviors (Pierce, 2008). As such, schools of social work need standard tools to assess whether international field placements actually increase students' competencies within these dimensions. The IVIS is a step in this direction. Because items within the IVIS can be used to measure core competencies, social work training programs can use the survey to assess changes in students following service placements.

Methods

Sampling

The ideal sample for this study would be social work students participating in international placements; however, coordinating a study of this magnitude across schools of social work would be a monumental effort-particularly because each school sends only a handful of students abroad each year (Panos et al., 2004). Because schools of social work may rely on volunteer-sending organizations to place their students--including the short-term model in this study--surveying volunteers with these programs was a practical approach to developing a tool applicable to the field of international service learning and to international social work field placements specifically. The sample used for this study was drawn from two different international volunteer organizations based in the United States--one short-term service program ([mu]=3.8 weeks) and one long-term service program ([mu]=46.2 weeks). Both organizations are secular nonprofit organizations. Although volunteers served in more than 20 countries, the majority served in Asia, Central and South America, and Africa.

Volunteers with the short-term program typically serve in local social service agencies and provide direct care to individuals in childcare centers, homes for older adults, schools, health clinics, centers for people with disabilities, and other community organizations. The majority of volunteers (81%) come from the United States, although some come from other English-speaking countries, including Canada (7%), the United Kingdom (5%), Australia (2%), Ireland (1%), and "Other" (4%). Most volunteers serve with one or more other volunteers (68%). Whereas the age range of participants is wide, the majority of volunteers are 25-years-old or younger (73%). Volunteers are mostly female (79%), and more than 40% are students.

The short-term program examined in this study is often used by schools of social work to provide international practicum placements for social work students (see Emley, 2009); however, it is unknown how many schools use this program, or how many social work students are placed through this program. Social work students who participate must submit a detailed description of their learning goals, after which the organization matches student goals to the needs identified by a local organization. The program's aim is to align the students' learning objectives, skills, and interests with the needs of the host community.

The long-term program provides volunteer opportunities through two options. "Year programs" are 10 to 12 months in length, whereas summer programs are about 2 months in length. We consider this program long-term because more than 70% of the volunteers serve in the year-long programs. Most participants are 25-years-old or younger (81%), and the majority are female (71%). Volunteers teach in a variety of educational settings and more than half of them serve with one or more other volunteers (57%). As with the shorter-term program, the majority of volunteers come from the United States (89%), Canada (4%), the United Kingdom (3%), Australia (2%), and "Other" (2%). Volunteers participating in the year-long program must have a bachelor's degree. Once in the country, volunteers participate in an intensive orientation (4 weeks for long-term programs and 1 week for summer programs), which includes cultural sensitization courses, classes in the local language, and trainings on expectations and duties.

For the sample to approximate the duration of international social work field placements, we considered only using volunteers who had served for a shorter term; however, given the importance of large samples for factor analysis (Anderson & Gerbing, 1984), the lack of bias when volunteers from each program are examined separately (see Findings and Discussion), and that international social work placements may be 5 months or longer, we retained all volunteers from both programs in the sample.

In addition to surveying volunteers with these programs, we also surveyed a comparison group of prospective volunteers. Those in the comparison group sample had completed or nearly completed the volunteer application but chose not to serve. Prospective volunteers with the short-term program canceled primarily for family and financial reasons, while prospective volunteers with the long-term volunteers canceled mainly due to competing priorities such as education, occupation, or other service opportunities.

Survey Development and Reduction

The initial survey contained more than 250 possible items across the five main outcome areas. All items in the survey used a 7-point scale with response options: 1=strongly disagree, 4=neutral, and 7=strongly agree, to account for wide variation in response options, presuming the presence of a latent continuous variable underlying respondents' attitudes and opinions (Clason & Dormody, 1994). Because outcomes depend largely on individual characteristics of the volunteer as well as on characteristics of the program (Sherraden et al., 2008), we added approximately 30 items to the baseline survey to assess the influence of demographic factors, motivations, past international and professional experience, foreign language capacity, and length and intensity of the placement.

To refine the survey, we asked 46 people to review the list of possible items; 39 former international volunteers (14 of whom were current MSW students), four program administrators of IVS volunteer-sending organizations, and three WS experts. Each respondent offered feedback and suggestions on item wording and overall survey design. Respondents verified the relevance and content validity of the items measuring each concept. After incorporating their feedback we removed over half of the original list and refined the remaining sample items to 80 items measuring the five broad outcome categories.

We administered a pilot of the survey to 571 volunteers from the short-term program and provided all participants with the Internet URL where they could complete the survey. Following two e-mail reminders, 216 volunteers responded (120 prospective and 96 returned), resulting in a response rate of 38%. Results from this pilot indicated that a number of changes should be made to the survey instrument. Although most items converged on one of nine factors, many items had significant cross-loadings on other factors. We expanded factors that were not well determined by adding items or altering them to converge on other existing factors. We dropped 32 items from the pilot survey and retained 48 items that would be used for validation.

After revising the survey based on the pilot test, we administered the full survey to 1,769 individuals from these two programs, including (a) 325 prospective volunteers who had enrolled to serve in the coming 2 months; (b) 367 comparison nonvolunteers who had completed or nearly completed the volunteer application but did not serve; and (c) 291 returned volunteers who had served during the years 2002 or 2006. Overall, 983 responded, resulting in a response rate of 56%. The average age of respondents in the validation sample was 29 years as of April 2011, and 45% reported incomes of less than $15,000 per year. A majority (57%) had earned a bachelor's degree, and 21% had earned a master's degree or higher. Nearly 80% was single, White, and female (see Table 1).

Analysis

To understand how the 48 individual survey items may relate to larger constructs, we used exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to determine the factor structure of each major outcome area. Basic assumptions of EFA were met; however, because bivariate distributions for each pair of variables were slightly positively skewed, we used principal axis factoring with promax rotation to determine factor loadings and to identify communalities across each dimension (Costello & Osborne, 2005). We used scree plots combined with eigenvalues to determine the appropriate number of factors to extract. Lambda coefficients with substantial loadings of 0.40 or higher were considered relevant.

With missing variables excluded listwise, the total validation sample was 847. We systematically removed items with lambda coefficients that fell below the .40 simplex criteria, or that loaded on more than one factor. After removing each of these items individually, the remaining 36 items all converged on one of nine major factors. Figure 1 illustrates a flowchart describing how the survey was refined.

We based the decision to extract nine factors on a scree plot of eigenvalues and on the cleanliness of the factor solution (see Figure 2). The extracted factors were identified as international contacts, open-mindedness, international understanding, intercultural relations, life plans, civic activism, community engagement, media attentiveness, and financial contributions. By summing the scores of manifest variables under each factor, we created nine composite variables representing the nine factors.

We tested relevant items for coherence and reliability, retaining manifest variables that loaded onto one major factor. To test the reliability of each factor, we used Cronbach's alpha with a cutoff point of .70 to estimate the internal consistency of each scale. Pearson correlations estimated the strength of relationships between identified subscales. Finally, we computed Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) statistics to determine sampling adequacy and better assess which variables to drop from resulting subscales. KMO statistics with a cutoff value of .60 or higher were used to predict data that were likely to factor well.

To assess the known groups validity of the nine factors, we evaluated the bivariate differences among prospective, returned, and comparison volunteers using the mean score of the composite variables. Theoretically, returned volunteers should rank higher on all subscales than individuals who had not yet served, and mean scores between the comparison group and the prospective volunteers should not show a significant difference. Independent sample t-tests were used to determine differences in group mean scores compared to the mean score of prospective volunteers, and point biserial correlations were used to indicate the strength of differences. Because these correlations are not based on true pre- and posttest measures, they are only provided as general guidelines.

Findings and Discussion

This section reports on the IVIS validation results, where each subscale represents a unidimensional factor. Table 2 shows the complete factor loading matrix, along with selected statistics on each of the subscales. One survey item stating "I consider problems of other nations and how they might be solved" fell slightly under the accepted loading threshold (A=.37); however, this item was retained to allow for greater substance on this factor.

Total variance explained by each resulting subscale ranged from 38% to 71%. Reliability estimates of internal consistency for all factors range from 0.70 to 0.91--all exceeding the minimal reliability threshold. Seven of the nine factors were relatively well determined, with three or more items loading on each construct. The remaining two factors (media attentiveness and financial contributions) were not well determined, with only two items loading on each construct. KMO measures all exceed the .60 threshold, indicating sampling adequacy and relative factorial simplicity (Kaiser, 1974).

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Significant positive correlations between all subscales indicate that, as one factor increases, every other factor increases. Thirty-five of the 36 correlations were significant at [alpha]=.01, indicating a moderate degree of overlap in the measurement of subscale constructs. Although many of the concepts were closely related, the majority of subscale dimensions was relatively independent and could be interpreted separately. Table 3 displays all correlations between the IVIS subscales.

Descriptive information for the subscales presented in Table 4 displays variation in responses. Response scores are included for each subscale, and all have a slightly positively skewed distribution. Respondents rate themselves highest on measures of intercultural relations, open-mindedness, and media attentiveness--and lowest on measures of international contacts and civic activism. With only two items loading on the concepts of financial contributions and media attentiveness, these factors may not represent suitable composite measures.

Six subscales exhibited differences that were consistent with theoretical expectations. The following subscales were significantly higher for returned volunteers than for prospective volunteers: international contacts (t=11.70, df=-566, p<.001), international understanding (t=5.24, df=570, p<.001), intercultural relations (t=3.86, df=570, p<.001), civic activism (t=3.35, df=541, p<.01), media attentiveness (t=4.48, df=541, p<.001), and financial contributions (t=3.75, df=-541, p<.001). Each of these subscales also showed no difference between prospective volunteers and comparison nonvolunteers, except for international contacts, which was slightly higher for the comparison group. Table 4 shows a summary of these results. A positive point biserial correlation ([r.sub.pb]) for all subscales with a significant difference indicated that returned volunteers scored higher than the prospective volunteers; however, low values indicated relatively low discriminatory power for most subscales--with the exception of international contacts ([r.sub.pb]>.20).

Ratings on the three remaining subscales of open-mindedness, life plans, and community engagement were not significantly different between prospective and returned volunteers. This finding is not consistent with expectations. Although EFA procedures and reliability estimates indicate that these five concepts reliably measure unidimensional constructs, tests of difference showed that they may be relatively weak at testing differences between prospective and returned volunteers. Nonetheless, the usefulness of these measures cannot be assessed accurately without ruling out alternative explanations following a study using quasi-experimental design, which includes a true pre- and posttest.

Implications and Conclusions

Findings from this study indicated that IVIS may be a useful tool to assess outcomes of international field placements on students' international contacts, open-mindedness, perceived international understanding, intercultural relations, life plans, civic activism, and community engagement. Survey items associated with these factors may be used to measure perceived behaviors associated with international social work practice. Anecdotally, international placements provide opportunities to achieve many of the competencies that professional schools promote, such as critical thinking, engaging diversity, and promoting human rights (CSWE, 2008). Although these competencies have not been rigorously measured in practice, items in the IVIS can help assess whether, for example, engaging diversity through international placements has affected students' open-mindedness and intercultural relations after they return home. Likewise, the civic activism measure can help assess whether students "advocate for policies that advance social well-being" by voicing their views on issues they feel strongly about, or by helping to raise awareness global of problems (CSWE, 2008, p. 6).

Although differences across each of these outcome categories can give some indication of change, the validity of these outcomes should be more rigorously tested to account for sampling error and spurious effects related to the program, sociodemographic characteristics of the volunteers, and other influencing factors. Whereas these limitations can be mitigated using quasi-experimental design and multivariate methods, a number of issues related to both external and construct validity of these measures remain.

Because the study samples international volunteers--who may or may not be social work students--selection bias may limit the external validity of these measures for social work field placements. The demographics of respondents in this study mirror demographics of the majority of social work students---being mostly young, educated, and female (Schilling, Morrish, & Liu, 2008). Likewise, the motivations of social workers may be similar, as the majority of respondents reported that they had volunteered "to make a difference by helping others" and "to help reduce social or economic equality" (Lough et al., 2009, p. 13). Nonetheless, we cannot assume that these similarities sufficiently mitigate threats to external validity, and we cannot fully generalize findings based on a study of international volunteers to social work students. Future research using an exclusive sampling frame of social work students can assess the validity of these measures.

The construct validity of subscales also needs further assessment. The labels representing each construct are based on the general nature of the items that clustered together during factor analysis. Although the WIS was originally developed using items from multiple surveys, the final subconstructs have not been validated by comparing outcomes to those of related surveys--for example, to the Rokeach Dogmatism Scale for assessing open-mindedness in field studies (Troldahl & Powell, 1965). In addition, some of the constructs are still underdetermined, with only two items per construct, and could be developed further.

Despite these limitations, individual items appear to have sufficient face validity with their affiliated construct. One significant advantage of using a survey designed to assess multiple dimensions is that it may reveal interesting patterns. For instance, the high correlation between international understanding and civic activism suggests that as a volunteer's understanding of global concerns increases, so does her or his involvement in advocating for global causes. Bivariate differences also suggest that whereas it may increase civic activism and intercultural relations, international service may not significantly encourage respondents' local community engagement. This finding may indicate an exchange in focus from local to global engagement. Incorporating open-ended qualitative responses from students may help uncover and elucidate some of these complexities.

In addition to the nine outcome areas analyzed in this study, a more comprehensive posttest contains questions assessing individual and institutional capacity, such as motivations, training, support, and supervision. The capacity of volunteers and institutions to effectively execute international placements is hypothesized as having a direct impact on volunteer outcomes as well as on host organizations and communities (Lough, 2009; Sherraden et al., 2008).

Over the long term, as more schools of social work assess the outcomes of international field placements, conducting comparative research across programs may be possible--particularly if these schools use standardized instruments. Comparing outcomes across programs can help educators and administrators determine the most essential individual and institutional features for effective practice. Considering the field education standards set forth by the Global Standards documents of the IASSW/IFSW (2005), understanding the benefits and potential challenges of international field education across placement models is a significant contribution. Comparative analysis of outcomes could inform empirically based decisions about appropriate and effective international field placements in social work education.

This area of study is important--whereas many schools of social work facilitate international placements, the design of these placements differs significantly from school to school (Nuttman-Shwartz & Berger, 2011). For example, following a large-scale survey of MSW programs, Pettys, Panos, Cox, and Oosthuysen (2005) identified four main models of international social work field placements. Outcomes from the IVIS may reveal that outcomes differ significantly across different placement models.

In addition to sampling social work students to assess the validity of these measures, future research should pay greater attention to outcomes of international placements on host organizations and communities. Although we may discover that international field placements have positive outcomes for students when implemented effectively, far less is known about how international field placements ultimately affect communities and host organizations. Programs should seek to ensure that training social workers does not come at the expense of host communities. Research focusing exclusively on the effect of placements on students may lead to overly optimistic results. In a similar vein, additional survey items could be developed with greater input from the organizations and communities that host students.

Social work field education is founded on the value of experiential learning--or on the perceived benefit of learning by doing (Dewey, 1963; Gibbons & Gray, 2002; Goldstein, 1993). As such, international field placements may be a highly effective method to "provide a learning environment in which respect for all persons and understanding of diversity and difference are practiced" (CSWE, 2008, p. 11). Despite the perceived advantages, the outcomes of international field placements have not been rigorously measured and assessed. Given the need for greater research on the outcomes of international field placements on students, the IVIS provides a foundation for further measurement and comparative research into the key outcomes of international placements on social work students. Supplementing the survey with additional relevant items and repeat administration by schools of social work can help determine whether international field placements are truly increasing the types of skills and mindsets that scholars believe are associated with international social work education and practice.

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Accepted: 05/11

Benjamin J. Lough is assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Amanda Moore McBride is associate professor and associate dean at Washington University in St. Louis, and Margaret S. Sherraden is professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and research professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

Address correspondence to Benjamin J. Lough, School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1010 W. Nevada St., Urbana, IL 61801; e-mail: bjlough@illinois.edu.

Benjamin J. Lough

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Amanda Moore McBride

Washington University-St. Louis

Margaret S. Sherraden

University of Missouri-St. Louis

DOI: 10.5175/JSWE.2012.201000047
TABLE 1. Characteristics of all Respondents (N=983) to the
International Volunteer Impacts Survey

Demographic Category                                 %     Frequency

Sample group
  Prospective volunteers                           33.1       325
  Returned volunteers                              29.6       291
  Comparison nonvolunteers                         37.3       367
Volunteer program
  Shorter-term                                     47.1       463
  Longer-term                                      52.9       520
Education
  Some college or less                             21.9       181
  Bachelor's degree                                57.0       470
  Master's, PhD, MD, or other                      21.1       174
    professional degree
Individual income
  Less than $5,000                                 26.7       217
  $5,000-$14,999                                   18.1       147
  $15,000-$39,999                                  18.4       150
  $40,000-$74,999                                  15.1       123
  $75,000 or more                                   7.2        59
  Don't know or refused                            14.5       118
Marital status
  Married or in a domestic partnership             14.8       122
  Single never married                             78.9       649
  Widowed, divorced, or separated                   6.3        52
Race
  Black or African American                         2.8        23
  White or Caucasian                               80.5       656
  Asian                                             8.5        69
  Other                                             8.2        67
Gender
  Female                                           77.2       706
  Male                                             22.8       208

                                           Mean     SD       Range

Mean age (years)                           28.6    11.5      18-90
Mean occupational experience (years)        5.5     9.1       0-51

TABLE 2. Factor Loading Matrix and Subscale Statistics (N=847)

                                           IC (a)      OM        IU

Used international contacts to link
  people or organizations to useful
  resources                                 .92 *     .12      -.04
Closely connected with an organization
  that works internationally                .75 *    -.05       .00
Used connections to advocate for people
  or organizations internationally          .74 *     .03      -.02
Given money or other useful resources
  to contacts living in other countries     .67 *     .03       .04
Have many friends, acquaintances, or
  contacts that live in other countries     .57 *    -.14       .03
Frequently correspond with people in
  other countries                           .57 *    -.17       .00
Involved with an internationally
  oriented group project or club            .44 *     .07       .02
Try to look at everybody's side of a
  disagreement before making a decision     .03       .77 *     .10
Flexible in thinking and ideas              .02       .74 *    -.09
Look at situations from many points of
  view                                      .00       .73 *     .11
Willing to try new things                   .09       .61 *    -.17
Hard to see from others' point of view
  (transposed)                             -.06       .53 *     .07
Strong appreciation of other nations'
  cultures and customs                     -.03       .50 *     .03
Work very effectively with people who
  are different from self                  -.06       .45 *    -.06
Perceived understanding of the reasons
  for global poverty                        .00      -.05       .80 *
Perceived understanding of how low-
  income countries can develop their
  economies                                 .00       .06       .69 *
Considers problems of other nations and
  how they might be solved                  .04       .13       .37
Frequently interact with people from
  different cultural or ethnic
  backgrounds                               .08      -.03       .02
Have many friends from different
  backgrounds: racial, cultural,
  ethnic, or language                       .05       .07       .01
Interest in working/forming friendships
  with people of different backgrounds     -.09       .26      -.05
Comfortable talking about diversity
  with people of different cultures        -.08       .40      -.02
Plan to pursue an internationally
  related field of study                    .09       .06      -.04
Plan to pursue a field of study related
  to social or economic development        -.10      -.13       .02
Plan to pursue a career related to
  social or economic development           -.09      -.15       .08
Plan to pursue a career in an
  internationally related field             .12       .10      -.03

                                             IR        LP        CA

Used international contacts to link
  people or organizations to useful
  resources                                -.11       .00      -.07
Closely connected with an organization
  that works internationally                .02       .00      -.05
Used connections to advocate for people
  or organizations internationally         -.08       .00       .12
Given money or other useful resources
  to contacts living in other countries    -.04       .00      -.12
Have many friends, acquaintances, or
  contacts that live in other countries     .41       .00      -.07
Frequently correspond with people in
  other countries                           .37      -.O1      -.04
Involved with an internationally
  oriented group project or club            .00       .00       .31
Try to look at everybody's side of a
  disagreement before making a decision    -.05       .00       .02
Flexible in thinking and ideas             -.09       .00       .00
Look at situations from many points of
  view                                     -.O1       .00       .07
Willing to try new things                   .01       .00      -.05
Hard to see from others' point of view
  (transposed)                              .00       .00      -.06
Strong appreciation of other nations'
  cultures and customs                      .21       .00      -.04
Work very effectively with people who
  are different from self                   .15       .00      -.05
Perceived understanding of the reasons
  for global poverty                        .02       .00      -.O1
Perceived understanding of how low-
  income countries can develop their
  economies                                 .00       .00      -.O1
Considers problems of other nations and
  how they might be solved                  .02       .00       .03
Frequently interact with people from
  different cultural or ethnic
  backgrounds                               .81 *     .00       .00
Have many friends from different
  backgrounds: racial, cultural,
  ethnic, or language                       .76 *     .00       .17
Interest in working/forming friendships
  with people of different backgrounds      .56 *     .00       .01
Comfortable talking about diversity
  with people of different cultures         .42 *     .00      -.08
Plan to pursue an internationally
  related field of study                   -.09       .89 *     .06
Plan to pursue a field of study related
  to social or economic development         .02       .87 *    -.02
Plan to pursue a career related to
  social or economic development            .06       .86 *    -.06
Plan to pursue a career in an
  internationally related field            -.06       .81 *     .04

                                             CE        MA        FC

Used international contacts to link
  people or organizations to useful
  resources                                 .08       .01      -.06
Closely connected with an organization
  that works internationally               -.02       .03      -.07
Used connections to advocate for people
  or organizations internationally          .12      -.06      -.O1
Given money or other useful resources
  to contacts living in other countries    -.02      -.04       .26
Have many friends, acquaintances, or
  contacts that live in other countries    -.10       .06      -.02
Frequently correspond with people in
  other countries                          -.06       .06       .04
Involved with an internationally
  oriented group project or club            .10      -.11      -.05
Try to look at everybody's side of a
  disagreement before making a decision    -.03      -.09      -.04
Flexible in thinking and ideas             -.02       .05       .01
Look at situations from many points of
  view                                     -.14      -.08       .01
Willing to try new things                   .07       .08       .07
Hard to see from others' point of view
  (transposed)                              .04      -.17       .08
Strong appreciation of other nations'
  cultures and customs                      .05       .05      -.06
Work very effectively with people who
  are different from self                   .12       .13       .08
Perceived understanding of the reasons
  for global poverty                        .09       .05      -.03
Perceived understanding of how low-
  income countries can develop their
  economies                                -.06      -.05       .01
Considers problems of other nations and
  how they might be solved                  .01       .23       .02
Frequently interact with people from
  different cultural or ethnic
  backgrounds                              -.02      -.07       .04
Have many friends from different
  backgrounds: racial, cultural,
  ethnic, or language                       .00      -.14      -.01
Interest in working/forming friendships
  with people of different backgrounds      .05       .01      -.05
Comfortable talking about diversity
  with people of different cultures         .02       .10      -.03
Plan to pursue an internationally
  related field of study                   -.O6       .00      -.06
Plan to pursue a field of study related
  to social or economic development         .09      -.09       .05
Plan to pursue a career related to
  social or economic development            .08      -.04       .08
Plan to pursue a career in an
  internationally related field            -.11       .03      -.05

Note. IC=international contacts, OM=open-mindedness, IU=international
understanding, IR=intercultural relations, LP=life plans, CA=civic
activism, CE=community engagement, MA=media attentiveness,
FC=financial contributions, KMO=Kaiser-Mayer-Olkin statistics. All
subscales have a theoretical range of 6 points with a maximum score of
7 and a minimum score of 1.

* Indicates factor loadings >0.40.

TABLE 3. Correlations Between International Volunteer Service
Outcome Subscales (N=847)

                                     IC        OM        IU

International contacts (IC)
Open-mindedness (OM)               .12 *
International understanding (IU)   .36 **    .34 **
Intercultural relations (IR)       .40 **    .47 **    .34 **
Life plans (LP)                    .30 **    .10 *     .33 **
Civic activism (CA)                .40 **    .12 **    .46 **
Community engagement (CE)          .19 **    .41 **    .36 **
Media attentiveness (MA)           .24 **    .26 **    .45 **
Financial contributions (FC)       .32 **    .20 **    .27 **

                                     IR        LP        CA

International contacts (IC)
Open-mindedness (OM)
International understanding (IU)
Intercultural relations (IR)
Life plans (LP)                    .22 **
Civic activism (CA)                .15 **    .31 **
Community engagement (CE)          .28 **    .23 **    .30 **
Media attentiveness (MA)           .20 **    .11 **    .41 **
Financial contributions (FC)       .11 **    .00       .33 **

                                     CE        MA      FC

International contacts (IC)
Open-mindedness (OM)
International understanding (IU)
Intercultural relations (IR)
Life plans (LP)
Civic activism (CA)
Community engagement (CE)
Media attentiveness (MA)           .24 **
Financial contributions (FC)       .27 **    .25 **

Note. Cases with missing data are excluded.

* p <.01. ** p < 001.

TABLE 4. Differences Between Prospective Volunteers and Returned or
Nonvolunteer Comparison Groups (N=847)

Factor                            t      df    [r.sub.pb]

International contacts
  Returned                      11.70    566     .21 **
  Comparison                     3.18    651     .06 *
Open-mindedness
  Returned                       -.21    571    -.01
  Comparison                     -.91    655    -.02
International understanding
  Returned                       5.24    570     .09 **
  Comparison                     1.77    652     .03
Intercultural relations
  Returned                       3.86    570     .08 **
  Comparison                      .59    652     .01
Life plans
  Returned                       -.69    534    -.01
  Comparison                     -.64    619    -.01
Civic activism
  Returned                       3.35    541     .05 *
  Comparison                     1.82    617     .04
Community engagement
  Returned                      -1.18    542    -.03
  Comparison                    -1.78    620    -.03
Media attentiveness
  Returned                       4.48    541     .09 **
  Comparison                      .67    617     .01
Financial contributions
  Returned                       3.75    541     .08 **
  Comparison                      .76    616     .02

Note. Cases with missing data are excluded.

* p < .01. ** p < .001.
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Author:Lough, Benjamin J.; McBride, Amanda Moore; Sherraden, Margaret S.
Publication:Journal of Social Work Education
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Date:Sep 22, 2012
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