Acting locally, thinking globally

By AACC Staff

Regardless of institution size or budget, substantive and meaningful globalization at community colleges is possible.

Many community college leaders are seeing the positive impact providing a global education can have in their community. Much of it boils down to economics: student employability, the ability to live and work successfully in diverse environments, and the prosperity of local communities.

In response, some community colleges have created innovative and promising practices for globalization that can serve as examples for others to follow.

To ensure the success of students in the 21st-century global marketplace, Davidson County Community College (North Carolina) developed a number of institutional initiatives. The cornerstone for globalization at the college is the Scholars of Global Distinction Program. Student demand sustains and grows this program, which began with a $0 budget. More than 25 courses have been globalized across all disciplines, including those in nursing, liberal arts, welding and automotive systems. Each Global Scholar participates in authorized international activities and events, a global experience and makes a capstone presentation.

Texas’ Lone Star College (LSC) is highly engaged internationally, ensuring that its graduates can satisfy local workforce needs. It has been recognized as a top producer of community college Fulbright scholars. One of LSC’s key tools for globalizing its campuses is the Faculty International Exploration (FIE) Award. FIE funds winning proposals from full-time faculty to travel abroad and do research or gather information or materials that can help them globalize their courses or develop study abroad programs.

Each proposal is evaluated based upon its budget and potential for long-term benefits to the college, not seniority of the applicant. LSC has awarded more than $300,000 to more than 61 faculty who have traveled to more than 45 countries under the program. Returning FIE faculty have globalized more than 20 course sections at the college and created a diverse offering of at least 16 study abroad programs.

Gateway Technical College (GTC) in Wisconsin has created study abroad programs that leverage its partnerships with private sector businesses to produce graduates who are globally competitive and globally competent. Through its relationships with companies such as the Snap-On Corporation and ZF Electronics of China, GTC provides hands-on and project-driven opportunities in which its students get to work with businesses and other college students in different counties.

For more case studies and talking points about the importance of global education, check out AACC’s International Education Toolkit.

AACC Staff

contributed to this report.