Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

College of Education and Human Development

Committee Chair

Tretter, Thomas R.


Ethiopians--United States--Education; Children of immigrants--Education--Cross-cultural studies; Ethiopians--United States--Cultural assimilation


This dissertation is a qualitative exploration of the perspectives of Ethiopian immigrants to the United States who have educational experience in both cultures. By interviewing five respondents and asking them to reflect on the role that their education played in their acculturation to the United States, a series of case histories was developed. The case histories were analyzed using the Differentiated Multi-Dimensional Model of Acculturation to determine if they upheld the two predictions made by this model: 1) acculturation for any particular individual proceeds independently at different rates across three different dimensions: language, behavior, and cultural identity; and 2) acculturation rates and patterns between individuals across these three dimensions differ. Chapter One summarizes the purpose, significance, and structure of the dissertation, introduces the research questions, and defines significant terms. Chapter Two, the literature review, consists of three parts. First, there is an extensive review of Ethiopian educational history. This section explores in some depth the six strands that comprise that history, their interaction with each other, and their impacts upon three ‘troubling topics’: the role of women, ethnic identity, and slavery. Second, for comparison purposes, there is a much briefer summary of U.S. educational history. Finally, there is an introduction to acculturation, including the theoretical model used in this study. Chapter Three presents the research design of the dissertation, including a brief introduction to its theoretical roots in the case study approach. The chapter also outlines the two-step plan for data analysis. Chapter Four records the case study reports from the five respondents and analyzes each report, viewed individually. The first prediction of the model was upheld. Chapter Five provides a summary of suggestions for educational practice and discusses findings of the cross-analysis of the case studies, viewed collectively. The theoretical model's second prediction was called into question. This paper posed four theoretical questions to focus further study.