Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Kristen Crossney, Ph.D

Committee Member

Michelle Wade, Ph.D


One of the most niche sub-arenas of public administration, higher education administration, involves preparing future leaders and scholars for global perspectives. This original research examined whether collegiate, traditionally-aged, undergraduate student risky behavioral choices rose during the study abroad experience as compared to when in the home collegiate environment. After investigating the literature an opportunity to connect the phenomena of domestic risky behavior, collegiate study abroad, and tourism materialized. The anthropological concept of liminality served as the theoretical perspective that anchored the construction of this research. This study was conducted using a post-positivist epistemology, a non-experimental design, and an original survey instrument created for this study. A single, mid-sized, public, regional university on the east coast of the United States served as the data collection origin site.

Using statistical tests, this study resulted in nine major findings that have implications for public managers in higher education. In this study’s sample, students were found to have made riskier choices abroad as compared to while at home, especially if they engaged in significant alcohol-related risks prior to studying abroad. Liminal space played a positive role in identifying whether or not risky behavioral choices increased. The most novel finding connected both in that the contributing factors of experiencing liminal space in tandem with a pre-disposition for risky behaviors served as the most significant predictors of whether students will or will not take risks while studying abroad. Three recommendations for practice in higher education administration and international study abroad programs, and seven future research opportunities emerged that may help to inform how this area of the research may continue to evolve.