Community Colleges Going Global

Community Colleges Going Global
We examine a recent study by Michigan State University that shows community colleges are becoming more globally minded, as well as specific schools that offer a global focus.

The arrival of a global economy has increased the need for higher education that is more globally focused today. A new study suggests that community colleges are answering that call, providing students with education and experiences that have a much longer reach than ever before. Many individual schools are also directly answering the need for global education by introducing programs that help students expand their horizons – and their world – from their local community college campus. With plenty of options to choose from today, community college students can rest assured the education they receive will prepare them for a future in a world that has become larger and smaller at the same time.

Study Indicates International Business a Focal Point at Community Colleges

Researchers at Michigan State University conducted a recent study. According to the MSU website, the study found that in 2008, only about 51 percent of community colleges in the country offered basic courses in international business. In just four years, that number has skyrocketed to 85 percent. With a significant number of college students in the United States attending community college today, those findings show the country is on the right track to cultivating a more globally-minded workforce in the future.

This video discusses international business in the California Community Colleges.

“The most important takeaway is that we as a nation appear to be putting funds into community college education to infuse a global mindset in a much larger way than in the past few years,” Tomas Hult, director of the International Business Center at MSU, stated on the college website. “International business is really starting to flourish at two-year schools,” Hult added.

The study created IBEX, the International Business Education Index, to measure community colleges' emphasis on international education today. IBEX is based on the following five fundamental components, or pillars, of international education:

  • Program Offerings
  • Strategic Commitment
  • Organizational Infrastructure
  • Investment in Faculty
  • Funding

All five of these pillars were used as benchmarks to evaluate each college in the study. Questions were created for each pillar to help researchers develop objective, measurable data on each school. In addition to evaluating each of these five pillars, the study also found:

  • The addition of international courses during a sluggish economy indicates optimism that the tide will change, and community colleges are becoming more confident of an uptick in the economy.
  • A key element to successfully incorporating international business education at the community college level is the addition of competent faculty members to teach those courses.
  • The addition of international business classes indicates the need for preparation for a global business world.

“The world is becoming more globalized and integrated, and it is important that we educate students to think logically, be creative and be global citizens,” Hult stated.

In this clip, Diana Bullen, Interim Chair of the Business Department at Mesa Community College and Chair of Global Ties AZ, discusses how community colleges are supporting international business education.

Delaware Tech Launches Global Understanding Series

Delaware Technical College is bringing its global focus to the next level with the 2012 Global Understanding Series launch. This program includes study abroad programs to various locations and presentations from those who participated in the programs, according to the Cape Gazette. The series “Postcards from Abroad,” has already included presentations from students who studied in Edinburgh, Scotland, and San Ignacio, Belize.

Another presentation has been scheduled for faculty members who visited China. Students can also attend an Arts and Culture International Film screening. The hope for the presentations is that even students who did not participate in the study abroad programs will gain insight and information about the various locations visited.

Northeast Community College Initiates Exchange Program with England

To help their students become more globally-minded, Northeast Community College in Nebraska has formed an exchange program with a school in Scunthorpe, England. reports that Northeast has partnered with North Lindsey College in Scunthorpe. The schools will host students from the partner school over the next few years.

The first group of students from England, around six to eight business students, will arrive at Northeast for the spring semester, accompanied by a faculty member and administrator. The following semester, the same number of Northeast students will travel to England for classes. The students at both schools will focus on business coursework in areas of study like accounting, management, and marketing.

Global Focus Now at Pamlico Community College

Pamlico County in North Carolina is taking the global focus even further, beginning with students in the elementary grades and taking them all the way through enrollment at Pamlico Community College. The school system initiated plans two years ago to better prepare students for the global marketplace, according to the Pamlico News. The district has implemented a curriculum from NC REAL, which stands for North Carolina Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning.

This video describes how students from Caldwell County Schools are getting a R.E.A.L. education. "R.E.A.L." stands for North Carolina Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning. It's a mouthful, but simply put, it teaches students business skills.

Because entrepreneurship has become more of a global venture today, factoring in global awareness to entrepreneur training programs is a key component to training up a new generation of successful business owners. The program in Pamlico County begins at the elementary school level and carries all the way through. For students who want to continue their education close to home, the elements of NC REAL are also incorporated into the curriculum currently offered at Pamlico Community College.

Globally-minded education is the first step to a more competitive global workforce. Thanks to the efforts of many community colleges throughout the United States, global-mindedness is becoming a core component of higher education today. As more community colleges see success with programs like these, other schools are expected to join suit to bring the rest of the world directly to the college campus.

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