Lessons Learned: Building Inclusive Support for Study Abroad Programming at Delaware Technical Community College

Lessons Learned: Building Inclusive Support for Study Abroad Programming at Delaware Technical Community College

Taryn Gassner Tangpricha (Delaware Technical Community College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6252-8.ch008

Abstract

This chapter conducts a case study of Delaware Technical Community College as it grew its programs from 2009 to present. Despite directive from the President, support and engagement was not widespread across the state: varying by campus, division, department, and instructor. Study abroad leadership was tasked with aligning the program with the college's mission, vision, and strategic directions, and building support internally and externally to boost student enrollment in the study abroad program. By targeting three key groups of stakeholders—students, faculty, and community members—and supporting shared values towards a mutual benefit, Delaware Technical Community College was able to grow its study abroad enrollment by over 400% from 2010 to 2018.
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Introduction

Educators likely agree “it takes a village” to build and sustain study abroad programs at higher education institutions. At community colleges, study abroad is often times initiated by a handful of passionate stakeholders. However, a program driven by a few individuals alone will struggle to maintain sustainable, long-term growth (West, 2012). Identifying the individuals or groups that have a fundamental impact on the study abroad program and building inclusive support can further ensure the longevity of the program and build financial resources for future initiatives (Kenny, 2014).

Nearly a decade ago, Delaware Technical Community College found itself at a crossroads in terms of growing its study abroad program. Locally referred to as “Delaware Tech,” the college is a state-wide institution with four campus locations serving over 14,000 full-time and part-time students. The college’s campus locations range from two urban campuses in Delaware’s northern New Castle County, a suburban campus in the state capital of Dover in Kent County, and a rural campus in the southern county of Sussex. In the 2009-2010 academic year, the study abroad program enrolled fourteen students in two faculty-led courses, consisting of two groups of seven students and two faculty; one traveling to Quito, Ecuador, and one to London, England. Despite the financial strains of the global recession, the college president and administration remained unwavering in their support of the program and its role at the college as a high-impact educational experience for students. However, support and engagement was not widespread across the state - varying by campus, division, department, and instructor. Study abroad leadership was tasked with aligning the program with the college’s mission, vision, and strategic directions, and building support internally and externally to boost student enrollment in the study abroad program. By targeting three key groups of stakeholders- students, faculty, and community members- and supporting shared values towards a mutual benefit, Delaware Technical Community College was able to grow its study abroad enrollment by over 400% from 2010 to 2018.

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