Making Meaning of the Mid-Level Administrator Roles in International Student Service Centers

Mary Ann Bodine Al-Sharif, Hugo A. García, Jon McNaughtan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study explores how mid-level administrators working in international student service centers make meaning of their roles and perceive the support their institutions provide. Utilizing critical discourse analysis and the theoretical framework of empowerment, this study reveals the social problems, power struggles, and avenues mid-level administrators utilize for change. Specifically, we find that participants cope with significant social problems that impact society and higher education. They are often caught between internal and external power struggles over policy and procedures on their campuses and face expectations that are unrealistic given their available resources. In order to be empowered, mid-level administrators need their centers and spaces in favorable locations on campus; strategic actions and planning must include the internationalization of their institutions as a whole; organizational leadership must be engaged in their center and in international student programming; and the compliance component of their roles and the student service function must be separate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-139
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Higher Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • International student services
  • internationalization
  • managerial Empowerment


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