Cultivating Creativity within Financial Constraints: Three Success Stories Illustrate Best Practices of Community College Global Education

Article excerpt

A growing number of community colleges have made global education a key component of their college mission. Community colleges are preparing students to function and compete in a global context. They are recruiting international students, leading international exchanges and partnerships and exporting the two-year college model overseas.

However, global education is often among the first initiatives to be questioned or cut in difficult financial times. As a result, creativity must be cultivated within the constraint of leaner operating budgets in order not to lose ground. Many community college leaders are doing just that. Three success stories from North Carolina and Texas pave the way:

North Carolina: The North Carolina Global Learner Consortium was created in 2001 to facilitate global education resource sharing among the 58 institutions in the state's community college system and to create external partnerships. One outcome of the consortium is Durham Technical College's new Center for Global Learning, which serves a burgeoning international student population (656 students from 95 countries) and responds to local workforce training needs. The CGL is the first of its kind in the NCCC System. It centralizes all global education initiatives and international student services, including ESL courses, world languages, translation programs and study abroad for faculty and students. In its most recent collaboration with Duke University, DTC faculty participated in an intensive, short-term professional development seminar in the Dominican Republic.

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Texas: The Houston Community College System serves more than 6,600 international students, the largest international student population of any community college in the nation. HCC's Office of International Initiatives coordinates a robust menu of international student services, global curriculum and exchange programs while fostering international partnerships.

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HCC also aggressively markets the community college model overseas, with no cost to local taxpayers. …