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 Charting the Future of Global Education in Community Colleges 


American Council on International Intercultural Education,
Community Colleges for International Development, and
The Stanley Foundation


The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) New Expeditions initiative builds on the work done more than a decade ago by the Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, chaired by Dr. Ernest Boyer, which resulted in the report, Building Communities. Since Building Communities focused limited attention on global education in community colleges, the American Council on International Intercultural Education (ACIIE) and Community Colleges for International Development (CCID), working in partnership with the Stanley Foundation, have undertaken this project to remedy the omission with the following report to the New Expeditions Coordinating Committee.

We applaud the efforts of AACC, ACCT, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for posing the critical question, If you could build a community college for 2010, what would it look like and whom would it serve? We also applaud their initiative in seeking the input of organizations such as ACIIE and CCID as part of the vital data gathering process.

The process which led to the development of this report included three phases:

  1. The nearly 200 member institutions of ACIIE and CCID were surveyed in fall 1998 to determine their perspectives on the issues, obstacles, and solutions related to globalization efforts in community colleges.

  2. A hearing was held in Washington, DC, on December 4, 1998, to report the results of the survey and to provide a forum for testimony from representative community college presidents, as well as federal agency and NGO personnel in the global arena. Those testifying spoke to the evolution, expanded capabilities, and willingness of community and technical colleges to function as the vanguard for global education into the next century.

  3. Following the hearing, 15 community college leaders met at Airlie Center to incorporate the synthesis of survey findings, the testimony presented at the hearing, the discussion which followed the testimony, and their own vision and strategic direction into a draft document, which served as the basis for this report to New Expeditions.

It is undisputed that the 1988 Building Communities report has served as a guidebook for community colleges, a catalyst for introspection and self-assessment. Indeed, the report and its co-chair Ernest Boyer went on to assume an instrumental role in the evolution of global education for community colleges. In 1994, ACIIE and the Stanley Foundation convened a group of educators for the first conference at Airlie Center, Building the Global Community: The Next Step. Boyer’s presence at that event and the insights he shared with participants provided further impetus for the expansion and institutionalization of global education efforts in community colleges across the country and like institutions around the globe. The mission statement adopted at this conference cuts directly to the argument which can no longer be disputed: "To ensure the survival and well-being of our communities, it is imperative that community colleges develop a globally and multiculturally competent citizenry."

The second conference at Airlie in 1996, Educating for the Global Community: A Framework for Community Colleges, defined the globally competent learner and outlined the steps institutions must take to produce them. In the intervening years, seminars have been held in some 15 states, with 10 more planned for each of the next several years. The seminars are designed to enable thousands of community college presidents, administrators, faculty, and trustees to learn about the possibilities for global education and to develop their own institutional plan of action.

An Executive Summary of the Airlie conference reports may be found in Appendix A. The complete reports are also enclosed.

We wish it were possible to predict the full scope and impact of domestic and international trends, developments, and happenings into the next century. Unfortunately, no one, given the rapidity and scope of change, could anticipate all the changes in the coming decade. However, there are signposts worth reading. Burgeoning technology, communications and business will greatly impact global education. So, too, will environmental threats, space exploration, population, poverty, finite resources, war, and peace.

Other factors will include politics, the economy, healthcare, and new needs and capabilities of developed and developing nations worldwide. All of these issues will directly affect what and how we teach, when a unit is offered, in what form and medium, where, to whom and how many, and at what cost. Policies and decisions made today by community college leaders are determining the relevance of the community college as it has been conceptualized since its inception at the beginning of the 20th century. To embrace and implement an integral global education program is to ensure the sustainability and vitality of the community and technical college.

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