Internationalized Courses on Campus: A Complement to Study Abroad That Maximizes International Education Participation in the Community College Context

Internationalized Courses on Campus: A Complement to Study Abroad That Maximizes International Education Participation in the Community College Context

Rebekah de Wit (Community College of Baltimore County, USA) and Mary Beth Furst (Howard Community College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6252-8.ch015

Abstract

Internationalizing the community college curriculum offers an opportunity to reach a broad range of students completing their general education requirements. Implementing course internationalization on campus also maximizes the student body's participation in international education, particularly in community college contexts where study abroad is not a viable option for many students due to resource limitations. Efforts to internationalize the curriculum should target high-enrolled courses across campus that fit within existing programs of study. Faculty coordinating these courses are integral in extending the scope of the course objectives by integrating international perspectives. Faculty work is acknowledged through existing structures of professional development and annual review processes. An internationalized curriculum combined with study abroad and other cross-cultural experiential learning forms the framework for an academic enrichment program called Global Distinction.
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Context

Starting in the 1980s and 1990s, curriculum internationalization became an increasingly prominent topic of discussion and a solid foundation of theory has been cited to support its benefits to students. Groennings’ and Wiley’s (1990) edited volume Group Portrait: Internationalizing the Disciplines is one prominent example that assembled diverse essays on this topic. Numerous large-scale studies and reports have subsequently documented the growth of curriculum internationalization initiatives across the United States (Lambert, 1989; ACE, 2017). These reports indicate that curriculum internationalization is a primary method for U.S. colleges and universities to internationalize their campuses. The following overview provides a rationale.

Study Abroad

Even the most cursory review of published literature on campus internationalization – and curriculum internationalization specifically – over the past several decades reveals that the widest body of studies and essays concern the study abroad context (Dutschke (2009) provided a particularly in-depth discussion of this issue). While study abroad has become more common in the community college context, community college students still participate at rates far below those of students at four-year institutions. Indeed, the most recent Open Doors report indicated that in 2015-2016, only 1.7% of study abroad participants from the United States were students pursuing an associate degree (IIE, 2017). Community colleges consequently must turn much of their focus to campus-based initiatives to achieve internationalization goals.

Study abroad has also been by far the internationalization initiative subject to the most research, including research on outcomes. However, a shortcoming of much study abroad research – as well as curriculum internationalization research – has been a multitude of small scale, qualitative approaches and studies without a comparison group. Parsons (2010) is a rare researcher who examined internationalization initiatives in a quantitative, triangulated, and comparative way, exploring how study abroad outcomes compared to outcomes from on-campus internationalization efforts that included curriculum internationalization. Notably, her findings indicate that on-campus initiatives can be as effective as study abroad in supporting students’ acquisition of intercultural competence, which further supports the importance of curriculum internationalization for community colleges.

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