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 AACC/ACCT Joint Statement on the Role of Community Colleges in International Education 


"Community colleges should develop strategic plans for global awareness and competence that respond to the needs of the community’s learners, businesses, and institutions." *

  • Click here or on the image below to access the full pamphlet, "Building the Global Community," in PDF format.

Image: cover of Building the Global Community pamphletWe live in a time of continuous economic and social change driven by increasing globalization. Traditional economic boundaries have given way to emerging economic imperatives, both at home and abroad.

Enhancing global awareness is not only in the community's self-interest, but it also serves the nation as a whole. The ability to understand, appreciate, and communicate effectively - irrespective of national and cultural origins - frees the forces of economic development and allows ideas, capital and innovation to move unimpeded.

Fulfilling a vital mission for the nation's higher education structure, community colleges are transformative institutions serving virtually every community. As a multi-billion industry focused on serving learners, strengthening businesses and entrepreneurship, and helping communities develop and grow their economies, community colleges also are guardians of educational access and opportunity helping to nurture and sustain our democracy. The programs and services provided by community colleges contribute to informed citizenship, the pursuit of intercultural understanding, enhanced diversity, increased prosperity, and most importantly, student and individual preparedness in an increasingly interdependent global economy. Community colleges are, in effect, "stewards to the world."

Community colleges are conveners and facilitators within their communities. They welcome students and faculty from around the world who are interested in accessing the community college experience and the transformative power they provide. Colleges have a responsibility to acknowledge global understanding and communication as integral to their mission. Indeed, they are an important voice in the nation's public diplomacy, one sought and utilized by both federal and state governments.

Community college leaders - their governing boards and the chief executives that lead them, as well as their administrators, faculty, and staff who oversee programs and services - have an obligation not only to embrace global education, but to engage their communities in understanding its importance. Colleges draw business leaders and employers, staff from governmental entities, and community volunteers in service organizations into
discussions about global issues and their impact.

Our colleges also welcome and embrace international students into their campuses and local communities, strengthen international programs and support services, and promote faculty and student exchanges. Moreover, they reach out to higher education institutions abroad for greater collaboration and formal partnerships. These responsibilities have grown in importance as continuing tensions and threats affect nations and peoples around the globe.

In short, a rededication to global education is required that will inspire and shape new educational strategies initiated to promote the shared goals of global connectedness and understanding.

* The Knowledge Net: A Report of the New Expeditions Initiative
(American Association of Community Colleges and Association of Community College Trustees, 2000).

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