Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education


This study applied a mixed-methods, social-justice approach to explore how Chinese international students interpret their success and/or challenges influenced by their Chinese forms of community cultural wealth in their academic learning at a predominately White Catholic university in the Midwest of the United States for over one year. I adopted a transformative paradigm to guide my study. Since the reviewed theoretical frameworks solely failed to form a profound comprehension of how Chineseness influenced Chinese international college students, I analyzed essential components of socio-cultural and critical race theories and created China as Method as the framework to guide my study.

This design featured a qualitative-prioritized explanatory sequential design, starting with a quantitative-dominated survey. Using snowball sampling, I recruited ten volunteers who participated in the first-phase data collection. I analyzed the collected data and further modified sub-research questions and interview protocols. In the second phase, I conducted one-on-one interviews with the same ten participants, followed by at least one-round member check with each participant. I analyzed both quantitative and qualitative data to capture how my participants navigated their Chineseness within a cross-cultural, linguistic, and educational context. Further, I summarized their understanding, observation, and justifications of U.S. faculty members’ (non-)compliance with culturally responsive practices. Integrating mixed-methods analysis, I provided insights to detail how this mixed-methods, social-justice design provided a more nuanced understanding of the role cultural variables influence cultural normalization and operation in students’ academic learning.

Finally, I located places where my research findings echoed prior studies. I reflected on and provided alternative explanations to contracting research findings. Based on those reflections, I presented my two critical findings. The first critical finding called for new directions to reframe culturally responsive teaching practices from a practitioner-friendly approach. The second one provided a multilayered approach to relook at Chinese international students’ utilization of their Chineseness and U.S. faculty members’ normalization of cultural differences. I discussed unexpected findings which challenged my prior assumptions. Based on the multilayered approach, I presented implications for Chinese international students to employ their Chineseness in their navigation within the U.S. higher education system, at individual, interpersonal, and intrapersonal levels. I generalized implications for faculty members in better accommodating CICSs and a broader range of culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse students with a practitioner-friendly culturally responsive framework, followed by department policy reform and institutional change.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.