A study of innovation in community college global education
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U.S. higher education is increasingly called upon to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in an era of globalization. However, many community colleges have been slow to respond to the effects of globalization, and those efforts are often fragmented and peripheral innovations. This study serves as an additional reference for community colleges seeking to initiate, redesign or improve a global education program. The purpose of this case study, focusing on a Texas community college, was to (a) identify the degree of international experience of college faculty and administrators and their perceptions of and attitudes towards globalization, (b) to identify the signs and symbols of global education at this college, (c) identify the factors that produced global education innovations, and to (d) determine whether the global education program in question was an institutionalized or peripheral innovation. The researcher incorporated multiple data collection methods, including a survey distributed to 210 faculty and administrative personnel, 15 individual interviews, participant observation, and document and records analysis. The following themes were identified as contributing to the success of an institutionalized global education program: (1) president’s leadership style, (2) accountability, (3) professional development, (4) listening to others, (5) personal sense of mission, (6) hiring for fit, (7) risk taking and employee empowerment, (8) protection against burnout, (9) playfulness and joy and (10) mutual respect within a family dynamic. The themes work within a framework of attitudes and characteristics revealed by survey data: faculty and administrators are generally well-traveled, perceive world events as impacting their lives, support the development of global education competencies for student learning and have a correspondingly positive view of global education at their campus.