Dr. Melissa Whatley, Belk Center Postdoctoral Scholar, Authors New Report: “International Education at North Carolina Community Colleges”

Forsyth Tech students on horseback in County Donegal, Ireland

“…Responses to [the] survey suggested that, with proper resources and support, community colleges in our state are poised to become national leaders in community college international education.” This is just one finding from a new report authored by Belk Center Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Melissa Whatley, Ph.D, titled, “International Education at North Carolina Community Colleges.”

In the report, Whatley shares the findings of a survey administered by the North Carolina Community College System Office during the 2019-2020 academic year to explore how NC community colleges “develop a globally and multi-culturally competent workforce” (NCCCS, 2020). Report content is organized into five sections: a broad overview of the extent to which international education activities are present at North Carolina community colleges; specific aspects of international education such as study abroad, international student enrollment, and international mobility of faculty and staff; and finally, an overview of resources to support international education at North Carolina community colleges

Additional key points from the study include:

  • The survey suggested that international education is much more prevalent at North
    Carolina community colleges than national data would suggest. Both national level organizations (such as the Institute of International Education) and individuals representing community college international education must take additional steps to ensure that community colleges are accurately represented in survey data.

 

  • Results indicated that on-campus international events and study abroad are the two most prominent ways in which community colleges in our state incorporate international education into their institutions. In an informal follow-up survey due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, results indicated that international education leaders at North Carolina community colleges may need to look to international education experiences in the near future that do not involve mobility, such as international education events on campus or virtual international experiences.

 

  • Survey respondents indicated several areas wherein collective action among North Carolina community colleges has the potential to improve and enhance international education at respective institutions. Notably, respondents responded positively to both the creation of a study abroad consortium and the creation of a state-wide association focused on the global learner.

 

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