IVCCD moves forward with Internationalization Plan
Over the past several months, Iowa Valley Community College District has been exploring new ways to further its internationalization efforts to benefit Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Marshalltown Community College, and Iowa Valley Grinnell. An Internationalization Task Force, consisting of faculty, administration and staff from all campuses, has drafted a Comprehensive Internationalization Plan with strategies to enhance the international education opportunities for students. The plan includes developing education abroad opportunities for students and exchange opportunities for faculty, increasing the presence of international students and underrepresented minority students on the campuses, promoting cultural competency, and building a supportive and inclusive climate in which all faculty, staff, and students can thrive.
“Internationalization is the process of integrating an international and intercultural dimension into the purpose, functions, and delivery of higher education,” says Barb Jennings, Assistant to the Chancellor/Board Secretary and chair of IVCCD’s Internationalization Task Force. “For many of our students whose education ends with their community college experience, this might be the only formal academic opportunity to learn about other countries, cultures and global trends and to acquire international literacy. Internationalization is one of the many innovative ways in which our local community colleges continue to offer students distinctive educational programs in a stimulating environment.”
Jennings and Marshalltown Community College Business Professor George Johnson recently attended the Community Colleges for International Development’s (CCID) 37th Annual Conference in Atlanta. The theme for this year’s conference was Our “Glocal” Jobs Challenge – Preparing Talent – Driving Development. Glocal is the intercept between global and local, which Jennings says “is particularly relevant for Iowa Valley, Ellsworth and Marshalltown because we are committed to meeting the needs of the changing demographics of our service area while also preparing our students, faculty and staff to become global citizens who can compete in a global market place.”
Professor Johnson, a member of IVCCD’s Internationalization Task Force, attended the conference with professional development funds donated to MCC by the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation to enhance teaching excellence. “The CCID conference offered more than 40 sessions where we had the opportunity to discuss important international education issues and share ideas with fellow educators, corporate partners and ministries of education, as well as U.S. and foreign government representatives from over 30 countries,” says Johnson. “The contacts made with other institutions were invaluable. It was wonderful to interact and exchange ideas with colleagues who are where we’re currently at in the planning process and to have the opportunity to visit with those who have a finished product. From all we’ve learned at the conference, our institutions do seem to be moving in the right direction.”
As a result of contacts made at the conference, members of the local Internationalization Task Force plan to visit two other institutions, Illinois Central College and Northeast Community College in Nebraska, this spring.
“Both institutions are very eager to share their best practices with us,” adds Jennings. “Illinois Central’s campus has been internationalized for many years and was awarded CCID’s Dr. Werner Kubsch Award for Outstanding Achievement in International Education for their innovative study abroad program with China. Northeast Community College is just a few years ahead of us in their internationalization efforts. One of our takeaways from the conference is that there are a variety of ways to internationalize our campuses, so it’s important that we continue to explore what might be the best fit for our institutions to meet the needs of our students.”