Yunaida Mohamed Mohand
INTERNATIONALIZING THE CURRICULUM:
IMPROVING LEARNING THROUGH INTERNATIONAL
EDUCATION: PREPARING STUDENTS FOR SUCCESS
IN A GLOBAL SOCIETY
Stephen H. Guerin
In the expanded and updated version of The World is Flat: A Brief History of theTwenty-first Century( Friedman, 2006), Thomas Friedman congently describes the promise and peril of and economic and geopolitical future shaped by the forces of globalitazion wrought by technologically driven global connectivity, international commerce, and cross-cultural competition. A related development is a sharp increase in the degree and intensity of contact and, at times, misunderstanding andconfict between peoples of diverse cultures.
Perhaps more than at any other time in history, the challenge to educate community college students has emerged not only in the academic disciplines supporting their chosen profesions. The challenge also exist in the overarching cross-cultural and international aspects and ramifications of their future employment and personal lives.
Recent eventshave shown unequivocally the pressing need for American students to comprehend adecuately the peoples of other cultures. Isolation is no longer an option. In response to this need to produce a citizenry that is culturally literate and globally competent, the field of international education, including education at the community college level, has taken on a new urgency and importance.
Inrecognition of these developments, and in response to the objectives contained in the strategic plan of the Tennessee Board of Regents, Molow state Community College(MSCC) chose the topic of international education as the topic for its Quality Enhancement Plan(QEP). Specifically, the topic dealt with internationalizing the curriculum to prepare students to compete successfully in the global societyFriedman described.
A review of the literature revealed the existence of policy and precedent regarding the importance of international education in American higher education. While four-year institutions and some community colleges have developed and implemented a variety of international education initiatives, most community colleges appear to have done relatively less in this regard, though thereare some notable excepcions. Within the variety of international educational opportunities available to students, study abroad is clearly the most recognizable international education initiative. Indeed, for many the notion of international education is synonymous whit study abroad. even so, studies show that the vast majority of college students never study abroad. This is particulary true of thetypical community college studenThus, relying on study abroad as the chief vehicle of international education, however appealing it may be, will ultimately fail to appreciably impact the lives and learning of the large majority of students.ts due to their employement and family responsibilities and financial limitations.
As a result, the Motlow College QEP focuses on the internationalizationof the existing curriculum, since the curriculum is the point where the great majority of students will learn about other cultures.
A survey of current MSCC course syllabi revealed that 76% of courses contain little to no indication of international content, 19% contain moderate international content, and only 6% indicate a significant degree of international content. A separate survey of facultyand staff internationalization experience and interest revealed little overall internationalization experience or foreign language proficiency. However, the survey found significant general interest and receptivity to the integration of more international curricular content and cocurricular learning experiences.
The question was how to best internationalize the curriculum.
A review of the...