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CSUSB Educator Winner of International Outstanding Dissertation Award

San Bernardino, CA — Eyad Alfattal, senior coordinator of international programs at Cal State San Bernardino, has been named a winner of the Association of North America Higher Education International’s highly prestigious and internationally competitive Waynne B. James Outstanding Dissertation Award – Global Education. 

Alfattal, who received his doctorate in educational leadership in 2017 at CSUSB, was named the outstanding doctoral student and received outstanding commendations on his dissertation, titled “Globalization, Internationalization, Marketing, and College Choice: Key Factors Affecting International Students’ Mobility.” The chairs and the selection committee unanimously recommended Alfattal for the award, which is given during the Global Conference on Education and Research.

His dissertation reports on a mixed methods research study that uses advanced qualitative and quantitative research techniques, including transcendental phenomenological approaches in a qualitative study, as well as exploratory factor analysis and multivariate analysis of variance in a quantitative study. His research introduces a new theory that explains students’ cross-national mobility, the Essence-Controllers Model. Alfattal has extensive experience living, studying, teaching and leading educational programs in a number of countries around the world.

“To explain briefly on my proposed theoretical framework, it advances that international students are affected to leave their home countries for international education primarily by two main domains of desires, which construct the Essence of international students’ mobility. The first is improvement of socioeconomic status, which I name ‘Becoming Somebody’; and/or experience adventure or change, ‘Moving from the Familiar to the Unfamiliar.’ My framework explains that while students seek to fulfill their Essence desires, students’ country and college destination choices are affected by four key factors, which I call the Controllers. These are the destination Quality, Affordability, Accessibility, and Peace/Safety.”

Alfattal was one of three ANAHEI award recipients. The other winners were Roger Brindley, vice president for USF World, University of Southern Florida for the Patrick J. Moreo Global Education Leadership Award; and Carlos Alberto Torres, professor of social sciences and comparative education and former director of the UCLA Latin American Center for the ANAHEI Research Leadership Award – Global Issues. The winners were determined by a panel of 14 judges, all of which are distinguished scholars in the field of global education.

Alfattal thanked the members of his dissertation committee — Jay Fiene, dean of the CSUSB College of Education and committee chair; Marita Mahoney, director of the Office of Assessment & Research; and Jack Paduntin, former associate dean of the CSUSB College of Extended Learning and now the vice president for Academic Affairs at TCS Education System — for their support and dedication.

“I am deeply indebted to Jay, my dissertation chair, for his patience, support and encouragement. Many thanks are due for his valuable comments and mentoring. I was absolutely lucky to be supervised by such an outstanding intellectual and prominent education leader,” Alfattal said. “I am also grateful to Marita for her superior expertise and instruction concerning quantitative data analysis, and to Jack for his helpful discussions about real-life internationalization in higher education practices. 

“I always believed that I had the best dissertation committee in the world! Thanks to the entire CSUSB doctoral program team, especially faculty, for the enlightening lectures and tutorials of the highest quality. I have learned much more than I expected,” Alfattal said.

Fiene praised Alfattal.

“I am quite proud of the work that Dr. Alfattal has produced. He was an incredibly dedicated and hardworking student and candidate,” Fiene said. “I have had the opportunity to chair 17 people through dissertations to date and all would attest to the high bar for a completed dissertation. Through the many years I have done this, I have on a limited number of occasions felt dissertations were well-suited for nomination for an outstanding dissertation award.

“I certainly hope this award helps Eyad to accomplish his career aspirations as it has for others with whom I have had the pleasure to serve,” Fiene said.

The Waynne B. James Outstanding Dissertation Award – Global Education honors an individual whose dissertation makes an outstanding contribution to the field of global education. To be considered outstanding, the dissertation should make an interesting contribution to advancing new ideas or new frameworks of thinking in the field of global education; strongly incorporate relevant theoretical and empirical literature; demonstrate appropriate analysis and interpretation of the research results; offer interesting (and warranted) inferences regarding the theoretical and applied implications of the findings and suggest promising directions for future research; and logically, succinctly and clearly present the ideas.

The award is named for Waynne B. James, a professor and member of the graduate faculty at the University of South Florida. James has chaired more than 150 doctoral students during her career and has worked with a variety of individuals relating to adult learning styles, learning styles assessment, project evaluation, school improvement, staff development, and curriculum development, among others. Her primary areas of interest include adult learning and development, learning styles, history of the field of adult education, international adult education, and competency-based curriculum development viewed from a cross-cultural focus.

The Association of North America Higher Education International is a nonprofit organization that promotes and encourages a global culture at member institutions, globalizes student and faculty successes, enhances global initiatives among member institutions and deepens global engagement. According to the ANAHEI website, the organization believes that the problems of the future will be solved by global citizens who understand, appreciate and respect other cultures. 

Alfattal is a first-generation immigrant to the United States. A native of Syria, he left the country because of war. Prior to immigrating to the United States, Alfattal, who lives in Redlands with his family, obtained his bachelor’s in English language from Damascus University in Syria and his master’s in applied linguistics and TESOL from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. 

“I am passionate about the empowering role of education in society,” said Alfattal at the time of his graduation. 

In 2010, Alfattal published an article with his partner, Jonathan Ivy of Lancaster University in England, titled “Marketing private EFL programs in Damascus” in TESOL Journal. In 2016, while attending CSUSB, he published two more journals himself. The first, titled “A new conceptual model for understanding international students’ college needs,” was published in the Journal of International Students, and the second, “International students’ college achievement: A critical quantitative study,” was published in Wisdom in Education. Alfattal’s most recent article, titled “International students’ college choice is different!” was published in the highly prestigious International Journal of Educational Management. 

As a student at CSUSB, Alfattal was awarded the Elsa Ochoa-Fernandez Phi Beta Delta Memorial Scholarship in 2016, and was inducted to Phi Beta Delta Honor Society, and Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline, in 2016.

Alfattal recognizes the kind and caring support of his family, which helped him succeed in his academic journey. He also deeply values the guidance of his mentor Jay Fiene. Alfattal believes that his accomplishments in his doctorate program, publications and winning the Waynne B. James Award are indicators of the exceptional quality of the CSUSB Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program (Ed.D.), including the high quality of instruction and overall support of the faculty. 

For more information on the Association of North America Higher Education International, visit its website at anahei.org

About Cal State San Bernardino

California State University, San Bernardino is a preeminent center of intellectual and cultural activity in Inland Southern California. Opened in 1965 and set at the foothills of the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, the university serves more than 20,000 students each year and graduates about 4,000 students annually. The university offers more than 70 traditional baccalaureate and master’s degree programs, education credential and certificate programs, and a doctorate program in educational leadership. Every one of its academic programs that is eligible has earned national accreditation. CSUSB reflects the dynamic diversity of the region and has the most diverse student population of any university in the Inland Empire. More than 80 percent of those who graduate are the first in their families to do so.

For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit inside.csusb.edu.


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