Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership - Higher Education

Committee Member

Russ Marion, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Robert Knoeppel

Committee Member

Cynthia Sims

Committee Member

Gilbert Merkx


The purpose of this study is to explore the nature of complex adaptive systems (CAS) and network dynamics in international education (IE) programs in a U.S. higher education institution. I analyze the IE programs through a lens of complexity and network theories and ask how measures of engagement in complex networks affect performance in the IE system. This study presumes that today's international education programs in the U.S. higher education institutions are complex adaptive systems and that traditional leadership is no longer adequate to address the overwhelming opportunities and challenges posed by global education. A two-stage quantitative research design is adopted to investigate network structures and interactions within the IE system and to describe how such network measures impact organizational performance. In Stage 1, Dynamic Network Analysis (DNA) is used to calculate agent-level network measures for each participant within the university IE system's bounded networks and to produce optimized simulations of the IE system for use in Stage 2. In Stage 2, Response Surface Methodology (RSM) is used to examine the relationship between independent and dependent measures. In this study, the independent network measures include (a) informal leadership, which is operationalized as betweenness centrality, (b) clique engagement, which is operationalized as clustering coefficient, and (c) social capital, which is operationalized as hub centrality. These independent measures are used to analyze the dependent measure, organizational performance, which is operationalized as task accuracy. A dynamic network framework of international education is proposed as a useful network model and leadership framework for enabling international education functions, senior international officers (SIOs), and their institutions to achieve excellence and succeed in a new era of global education and knowledge producing.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.