All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Mary Ann Bodine Al-Sharif

Advisory Committee Members

Andrew McKnight

Rosalind Latiner Raby

Scott Snyder

Susan Spezzini

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


The COVID-19 pandemic created a crisis all over the world challenging traditional methods of business practices, teaching, and administration in the educational sphere. International education has been particularly affected; many individuals working in different areas of the profession had to enact emergency triage to aid the more than one million international students in the United States. This dissertation explores one profession within international education, that of Primary Designated School Official (PDSO) and Designated School Officials (DSO), who work directly with international students. Specifically, this research will examine the factors that influence P/DSOs agency at metropolitan community colleges and their lived experience during COVID-19. Using mixed methods, this dissertation was a mixed method exploratory sequential design. First, a quantitative survey of a purposive network sample of community college P/DSOs in Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) was conducted followed by qualitative semi-structured interviews informed by the survey. This enriched iv the objective and subjective data using Bourdieu’s theory of practice around the concepts of habitus, field, and capital with the lens of global imaginaries and power relations.

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