Reporter’s notebook

Rockland Community College Professor Catherine Roche poses with a student after speaking at Mohammed I University in Morocco. (Photo: RCC)

Connecting students from different countries

Without a passport or a plane ticket, some Rockland Community College (RCC) students will engage in international dialogue this fall. Participants in a class taught by RCC Professor Catherine Roche will work cooperatively online on class assignments with students from a university in Morocco.

The opportunity is a part of a State University of New York program known as COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning). Roche is one of 15 professors from the SUNY system selected to take part in the exchange with universities in the Middle East region for the fall semester.

In preparation for this fall, Roche went through eight weeks of online training and attended the COIL Academy workshop, held in Byblos, Lebanon, from June 30 to July 3. After completing the workshop, Roche traveled to Morocco to visit Mohammed I University, one of that country’s most-prestigious colleges and the school where her partner in the COIL exchange works.

“Students in Morocco are very curious about the United States,” Roche says. “They have a certain image and stereotypes that they see through the media.”

Vincennes invest $5.9M in aircraft for courses

Indiana’s Vincennes University (VU) will purchase $5.85 million in new aircraft for its aviation flight program in Indianapolis.

Cirrus Aircraft will provide eight aircraft and Piper Aircraft will provide three aircraft. The school expects to receive the planes in about a year.

“We currently have about 60 students in our aviation flight program,” said Michael Gehrich, director of the VU Aviation Technology Center. “With this new fleet we will be able to start a new group of students twice a year, rather than just once now, so we believe the flight program will grow to about 100 students.”

Serving early childhood ed students

Santa Monica College (SMC) has become the first community college in Southern California — and only the second in the state — to receive national accreditation for its associate of science degrees in early childhood education/career, as well as its associate in science for transfer degree in early childhood education, which satisfies most of the California State University (CSU) lower-division requirements and offers students priority admissions consideration at select CSU campuses.

After a rigorous process of self-review and site visits by out-of-state experts that began about a year ago, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has awarded the college full accreditation. SMC is one of 195 two- and four-year institutions nationwide that are accredited.

Demand for professionally trained employees in the child development field is on the rise, and research studies by RAND and the Brookings Institution have found that early education, particularly before age 5, has long-term benefits, especially for economically disadvantaged students and dual-language learners.

Preparing students for local Navy jobs

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) last month signed an agreement with several community partners to better prepare local business students for contracting work at the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), located at Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

St. Mary’s County Public Schools, University of Maryland University College and NAVAIR will be working with CSM to tailor business education to ensure that local business students are trained and ready for NAVAIR internships and jobs.

“It’s all about workforce development,” said Brad Gottfried, who retired as CSM president on June 30. “These are people who want to live in Southern Maryland. This is where their ties are. This agreement provides a pathway that will have a tangible impact on Southern Maryland.”

Through the agreement, students starting in the St. Mary’s County Public Schools Academy of Finance will have an educational pathway they can follow to CSM to UMUC. Upon graduation, they will have earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration or management with a minor in contract management and acquisition, and they will be uniquely trained for NAVAIR’s needs.

The agreement also assures the efficient transfer of students between colleges, including transfer of credit, admissions and financial aid and scholarships.

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