School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Lucinda Spaulding


Cultural Intelligence, Short-term Mission Trip


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Leadership | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology | Other Education


The purpose of this collective case study was to determine how, if at all, Cultural Intelligence (CQ) develops in undergraduate students through a three-stage mission trip process for students at a large Christian university in the southeast participating in three separate short-term mission trips (Africa, Asia, and Europe). This study found that across the entire short-term mission (STM) trip process, religious faith was a consistent theme impacting CQ development. Three spring break short-term mission trip teams were used as three separate cases, from which several participants, or embedded units, provided their individual experiences within the case. Data collection methods occurred in three stages: Pre-Field Training, On-Field Experience, and Post-Field Debriefing, to match the three-stage process of the short-term mission trip. The Pre-Field Training data collection consisted of the Cultural Intelligence Scale and individual interviews; the On-Field Experience data collection consisted of on-field journaling exercises; and the Post-Field Debriefing included post-trip Cultural Intelligence Scale individual interviews. Within-case and across-case analyses were completed using Stake’s (2006) cross-case analysis procedures and Yin’s (2012) pattern matching technique. Findings demonstrated that in the Pre-Field Training stage, the themes of experiential learning, team member and/or team leader influence, religious faith, and personality were the biggest influencers of CQ. In the On-Field Experience stage, field worker influence and engagement with the locals impacted CQ development most. In the Post-Field Debriefing stage, participants expressed that application to participants’ lives and religious faith most profoundly impacted their CQ development.