How to Survive and Thrive as a Community College Consortium: A Case Study of the Maryland Community College International Education Consortium

How to Survive and Thrive as a Community College Consortium: A Case Study of the Maryland Community College International Education Consortium

Gregory F. Malveaux (Montgomery College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6252-8.ch019
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Some state and regional study abroad and international education-based consortia of community colleges have been struggling to remain operational. Key outside factors that have created trials include the United States' (US) economic downturn that ensued from 2007-2009, ongoing regulations set by government officials, and internal logistical challenges such as changes in leadership at member institutions, alterations in financial aid requirements, and emphasis placed on degree completion. There has been much analysis on “why” these consortia exist in the field; in contrast, this chapter focuses on “how” they persist. The Maryland Community College International Education Consortium (MCCIEC) is one of the nation's state consortia that continue to be active and flourish, navigating through economic trials, governmental policies that offset international student entry in to American higher education, and common logistical issues; this chapter uses MCCIEC as an illustrative model to show how community college consortia may function to prosper. MCCIEC uses four main approaches—1) gaining higher administrative buy-in, 2) encouraging full institutional support at membership colleges, 3) incorporating strong incentives for member activity, and 4) stimulating growth—to not only survive, but to thrive.
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Addressing The Challenges Of A Community College Consortia

Economic Issues

Just a little over a decade has passed and various active consortia listed in 2007 are no longer functioning. This is due in no small part to economic strains incurred during and following the 2007-2009 US economic recession. Even though a small number of its members come from community colleges, telling is the Forum on Education Abroad’s 2009 report that a 60% drop in study abroad enrollment at colleges and universities occurred from the following year, and that 60% of its members, who make up a large number of program directors, said that their budgets had been cut in the past year due to the economic downturn (Forum on Education Abroad, 2009). The same time that directors’ budgets diminished, so did their activity in community college consortiums; since 2007, 25% of the active community college consortiums listed by Korbel have become inactive. As directors incurred budget cuts, this should not have been the time for them to “cut and run.” Just the opposite. It should have been the time to use the state or local consortia as a lifeline to keep global studies active at the home institution. Why not lean on this resource when you truly need it? For the consortia groups that remain, as previously noted, there are ongoing challenges to remain operational. Those surviving consortia show that even in the face of budget cuts at membership institutions, a consortium can implement certain approaches to sustain itself and thrive, while its membership and functionality grow.

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