International Student Mobility at California Community Colleges

International Student Mobility at California Community Colleges

Rosalind Latiner Raby (California State University – Northridge, USA), Deborah Budd (Berkeley City College, USA), Andreea Serban (Coast Community College District, USA) and Dianne Van Hook (Santa Clarita Community College District, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9746-1.ch001
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The authors in this chapter use a case study of three California community college districts to explore how they are strategically developing, advancing, and assessing the continuous cycle of community college international student recruitment, retention, and student success. These districts show how specifically designed practices can link internationalization to college missions, embrace student experiences that provide cultural and academic benefits for all students, and ensure what critical mass is needed to make these benefits happen. The authors also explore how this cycle is essential in designing a community college internationalization strategy to link student mobility to student success.
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Background: Community College International Student Programs

Community college international education includes programs and curricula that connect students, faculty, and local communities to people, cultures, and contexts beyond local borders. The goal of international education is to “accelerate knowledge about and encourage cross-cultural communication to enhance culture, ethnic, class and gender relationships among divergent groups” (Raby & Valeau, 2007, p. 6). These programs support a philosophical construct in which an internationally literate individual is one who can effectively navigate the complexities of the modern world. The California State Chancellor’s Office commissioned report Looking to the Future (Raby, 1998) defined international student programs as:

Programs and services designed to assist students from other countries to pursue a course of study in the United States on foreign student or visitor visas (F-1, M-1, J-1). International students are germane to the community college mission, as they provide academic and cultural richness not found elsewhere by serving as human resources in both class discussions and student activities, and by helping to build friendships that filter into future socio-political and economic relationships. (p. 3)

This definition continues to support and inform internationalization efforts at California community colleges today.

A literature review of community college publications confirms the benefits and identifies the challenges of operating international student programs. These publications span four trajectories:

  • 1.

    Advocacy, in which international students are seen as important components of the college mission;

  • 2.

    Development of support services as a pre-requisite for having an international student program;

  • 3.

    Enhancement of marketing for recruitment to specifically bring in revenue; and

  • 4.

    Integration of international students as a component to build human capital through higher education.

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