Good Practices and Program Standards: Considering the Unique Needs of Community Colleges

Good Practices and Program Standards: Considering the Unique Needs of Community Colleges

Carola Smith (Santa Barbara City College, USA) and Ann Hubbard (American Institute for Foreign Study, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6252-8.ch003
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With education abroad having evolved into a professional field and recognized program standards and good practices having been established, there are unique considerations that community colleges must consider regarding program development, implementation, and practices that require a particular approach to best meet the needs of both community college students and two-year institutions. By examining the nine areas of the standards of good practice developed by the Forum on Education Abroad, a narrative on each will be presented to address both their relevance and application to community colleges. Currently, with the greatest growth in U.S. education abroad occurring in short-term programming and with faculty-led programming being the most common type offered by community colleges, this review has timely relevance for the field.
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As community colleges develop or expand their study abroad options, careful time, attention, and resources are needed to align the academic objectives with the practical aspects of planning and programming. Education abroad is a complex and labor-intensive undertaking. It requires not only staff with specific responsibilities for the programming itself, but collaboration and cooperation from many offices on campus such as financial aid, admissions, student support services, and the institution’s risk management staff. While institutions manage the requirements in both innovative and practical ways, knowledge of best practices is essential for successful programs – especially for the customized, faculty-led model utilized by many community colleges, which will be the primary focus of this chapter.

There are a number of professional organizations, which have developed standards of good practice for the field of education abroad. The Community Colleges for International Development’s (CCID) Framework for Comprehensive Internationalization (cited in Bissonnette & Woodin, 2013) provides a useful tool for institutions to assess the critical areas that promote and support all international activity. The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education promotes general standards and ethical principles, which have relevance for all higher education service areas, as well as functional area standards for specialized programs including education abroad. Additionally, CAS developed a set of learning outcomes and self-assessment tools to be used in “the development, assessment, and improvement of quality student learning, programs, and services” (Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, 2014). NAFSA: Association of International Educators developed a Statement of Ethical Principles, which is intended to promote ethical conduct and help guide professionals in the field of international education in decision-making in the development, coordination, and administration of programs and services (NAFSA, 2009). Additionally, NAFSA has developed extensive resources on best practices and regulations affecting education abroad, which are continuously reviewed and updated; they also offer information on comprehensive internationalization (see Hudzik, 2011; Hudzik, 2012). The Forum on Education Abroad, which serves as the collective voice of post-secondary education abroad, was established in 2001 by a group of professionals who felt the need for an organization that would focus on standards and support research in the field.

In 2005, The Forum was recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to serve as the Standards Development Organization (SDO) for the field of education abroad. The role of a SDO is to encourage self-regulation and compliance with standards in a specified field. As a SDO, The Forum is obligated to exhibit the following elements in developing and disseminating standards: Openness, Balance, Transparency, Consensus, and Due Process (The Forum on Education Abroad, 2015). In addition, The Forum has developed Guidelines (The Forum on Education Abroad, 2017b) for each standard area, which are under continual review and which provide another level of detail in guiding policies and practices.

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