Reporter’s notebook

Nursing and dental hygiene students at Sahmyook Health University College in South Korea recently visited Northern Virginia Community College’s Medical Education Campus.

Educational, cultural exchange

Two dozen students pursuing degrees in nursing and dental hygiene at Sahmyook Health University College in South Korea recently toured Northern Virginia Community College’s Medical Education Campus (MEC) to explore the cultural similarities and variations among Korean and American healthcare academic programs.

As the first specialized community college campus in Virginia, the visiting students toured the MEC’s state-of-the-art facilities and met with faculty and staff to learn about the 10 associate in applied science degrees and certifications the campus offers. The third-year students toured the 32-chair dental clinic and clinical simulators lab and used the Anatomage Table, a high-resolution anatomy visualization system available to students in health fields.

Based on a partnership with Columbia College — which invited 36 Korean students to visit U.S. colleges, universities and other institutions — the students attended the campus for two weeks.

Ohio college offers chemical
operator program online, abroad

For more than a decade, Washington State Community College (WSCC) has offered an online chemical operator program. Until recently, enrollment was limited to the U.S., but a local company’s need for additional operator training has stretched the college’s virtual classroom across the ocean and around the globe.

When Orion Engineered Carbons, a leading global supplier of carbon black with more than 1,500 employees worldwide, needed to upgrade the technical and critical-thinking skills of its workers in order to use new equipment and processing methods, it reached out to WSCC. The college was able to meet its needs by establishing an online non-credit course. Orion was so impressed by the program that it began using it to train operators at some of its other U.S. plants.

Last fall, opportunity once again presented itself to WSCC: Orion needed additional training with a customized carbon black course for employees in China, South Korea, Germany and South Africa.

“This was a really exciting venture,” said Brenda Kornmiller dean of business, engineering, industrial technologies and workforce development. “We had never been in the realm of teaching international students before, but we were able to establish a seamless system. Not only did we do it, we did it well.”

Kornmiller added that WSCC is finalizing a training agreement with another leading global chemical supply company with locations in 188 countries.

Exploring local career options

Florida SouthWestern State College recently launched Career Coach, an online tool for students and members of the community who want to explore local and state job listings, wage and salary information, and degrees for chosen careers.

The tool features a short and long career assessment that suggests potential career fields and goes even further by allowing visitors to explore job descriptions, salary projections, growth rates, potential employers, the amount of education required for a specific position and even offering real-time local and state job listings from

“Our mission is to prepare students for successful and productive lives. Career Coach not only helps them set goals and stay on track while taking classes, it also assists them after graduation by suggesting options for advanced degrees or leading them directly to local job listings in their field,” said Laura Antczak, assistant vice president for enrollment management and student success.

Illinois college to eliminate its wind turbine program

Highland Community College in Illinois is nixing its wind turbine technician program — which includes an associate of applied science degree and certificates — citing low student enrollment.

The program has seen a decline in enrollment in recent years, according to college officials. This past fall, there was insufficient registration to run the introductory course, and there are currently no new students registered for first-year wind technology courses.

“When the new degree was announced in the spring of 2008, there was a substantial wind farm being developed in the college district, which led to a great deal of local and regional interest, particularly among nontraditional students looking to retool their skills to enter a new and growing field,” said Dean of Business and Technology Scott Anderson. “We have seen that interest wane in recent years.”

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