Reporter’s notebook

Internationalizing the campus

Harper College (Illinois) has received the Institute of International Education’s 2020 Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in the community college category.

The awards recognize colleges that are leaders in developing new models for international partnerships, internationalizing campuses and promoting study abroad.

In 2014, Harper created its international education office to serve as a resource for the college and help educate students in leadership in a complex world. It also established the Global Region of Focus Initiative (GRF), a three-year cycle that focuses students on an area of the world and develops goals and themes for each year. The program leverages existing college resources, connects to the campus’ educational mission and invests strategically in its internationalization programming.

In the first cycle, which focused on East Africa, Harper developed relationships with regional universities in Uganda and Rwanda, hosted a Fulbright Scholar from Uganda, and ran study abroad programs in Zimbabwe and Uganda. In the second cycle which focuses on Latin America, a faculty group traveled in Central America and hosted a Fulbright Scholar from the National University of Costa Rica.

Last year, Broward College in Florida was the first community college to win the Heiskell Award in this category.

Showcasing economic impact

More community colleges are the focus of economic impact studies. South Puget Sound Community College in Washington state is among the most recent.

The Thurston County Economic Development Council has reported that the college’s total economic impact on the county is $930 million and 6.9 percent of the gross regional product.

“We take our 6,000 students and move them into the community where they help us produce an almost $1 billion impact,” said SPSCC President Timothy Stokes.

The report examined economic activities of SPSCC based on three important elements and their impact on the local economy: SPSCC’s operations spending, spending by students and additional productivity provided to the county by SPSCC alumni.

Using data compiled from the 2017-2018 school year, the report found that daily operation and SPSCC’s 371 full-time employees create a $43 million impact, while an additional $5.1 million comes from current student spending. After completing their education, most SPSCC graduates stay in the Thurston County area and contribute to the economy. The alumni sustain 5,300 jobs and account for $340.5 million in labor income, with an added $795 million in production of goods and services.

California college pilots program at women’s prison

Las Positas College (LPC) is bringing college to the women of Dublin’s Women’s Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) this spring.

As part of the outreach of LPC’s Adult Education Project, the college will offer seven, nine-hour courses over 16 weeks to incarcerated women at FCI. The non-credit courses will be completed as a cohort and will allow participants to potentially receive two career certificates in the fall in customer service and small business management.

“These courses complement and expand their existing educational program, since many of the inmates/students will leave FCI and work in the service industry,” said Kristina Whalen, LPC’s vice president of academic services.“Through our partnership, they will also leave with important skills and a credential that will increase employability.”

The idea for the program originated when LPC’s adult education project manager reached out to the FCI’s educational director, Whalen said. LPC and FCI then met several times to discuss how to implement the project, explored the LPC catalog for courses that could help the inmates and had faculty interested in teaching tour the facility.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.