International Education at Community Colleges: Themes, Practices, and Case Studies

reviewed by Pixita del Prado Hill - March 08, 2018

coverTitle: International Education at Community Colleges: Themes, Practices, and Case Studies
Author(s): Rosalind Latiner Raby & Edward J. Valeau (Eds.)
Publisher: Palgrave/MacMillan, New York
ISBN: 1137533358, Pages: 351, Year: 2016
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As promised by the title, this book fully explores the intersection of international education and community colleges. Set in the context of the tension between the community college mission to serve local interests and the demographic, social, and economic changes encouraging internationalization, this edited volume provides a comprehensive examination of the history, practices, and studies of international efforts on community college campuses. Through a review of the literature as well as quantitative and qualitative study, the chapters offer insights about U.S.-born faculty and students who travel outside the country as well as foreign-born faculty and students who come to U.S. community colleges. Discussions of curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and the needs of special populations are included from the perspectives of a wide range of community colleges across the United States.


Noting that less than 25% of the 1,200 community colleges in the United States had an international plan in 2011 (ACE 2012), this important book seeks to influence the national agenda, offering evidence to advocate for increasing the quantity and quality of internationalized community colleges. In doing so, editors Latiner Raby and Valeau continue the work of King and Fersh (1983) by “exploring the trajectory of a changing construct that is moving international education from optional to integral” (p. 2).


Following the introductory chapter, the book is divided into two parts. Part One, “Exploring the Field,” examines theoretical constructs to explain the change process necessary for advocacy, to ground best practices, and to show that purposefully directed practices can enhance overall student learning. Part Two, “Cases Studies and Research Studies,” describes academic and case studies that identify how specific changes inform practice. These chapters are grouped into categories that focus on (a) systemic college change, (b) CEO-directed change, (c) specific programmatic change, and (d) learning from student stories.


Editors Latiner Raby and Valeu open Part One with “Global Is Not the Opposite of Local: Advocacy for Community College International Education.” This chapter sets the framework for all chapters to come through a helpful examination of the tension between local and global within the community college context. They argue that community college international education efforts continue to be considered optional to the general educational reform movement because of political, economic, humanistic, and academic rationales; a culture of individualization rather than institutional efforts at internationalization; programmatic insularity; and exclusion of explicit “global” or “international” concepts within national community college reform efforts. Instead, the authors advocate for internationalization as integral to the community college experience in order to improve student learning and outcomes, and ultimately to benefit the local community and beyond.


Part One continues by focusing on an expansive array of topics that affect faculty and students at community colleges. Chapter Three centers on U.S.-born and foreign-born faculty to better understand their perceptions regarding international experiences and campus internationalization. Chapter Four discusses the role of mentoring international faculty and administrators with the goal of developing quality international professional development opportunities in general and, more specifically, within the context of the U.S. community college. Chapter Five shifts focus to students by examining those international students whose struggles at a four-year institution in the United States lead them to seek assistance from a two-year community college. Chapter Six addresses a very specific topic for international students: the experience and understanding of Title IX rules on the U.S. community college campus given different cultural understandings of gender. Chapter Seven begins by noting the important contribution made by international students who bring a global perspective and additional revenue to U.S. higher education. The author notes, however, that these international students must be provided with support to address the barriers they may face and to maximize their learning outcomes. Suggested is the “Appreciative Advising” model which provides a five-step process that focuses on students’ strengths and potential. Chapter Eight explores the interconnections between study abroad, self-authorship, and college and career readiness for U.S.-born students of color. Chapter Nine continues the examination of the experience of an underrepresented student group by discussing microagressions and intersectionality in the experiences of black women studying abroad. Part One ends with a call for accountability to measure the impact of internationalization at community colleges and guide programmatic decision-making. The authors also offer suggestions for how to build the pipeline of college international education leadership.


Part Two provides numerous examples and comparisons of internationalization efforts by individual community college campuses. Study One documents the challenges and successes faced by Pima Community College in light of the local-global tension discussed by the editors. Study Two examines internationalization efforts in Oregon and Washington through the lens of three important environmental factors: setting, student demographics (in terms of ethnic diversity), and primary industry in the college’s service area. Study Three reports on a reciprocal exchange of faculty and students between Texas Community College and the Czech Republic. Study Four demonstrates how practices at three California community college districts are building evidence to counter prevailing myths about international students. Study Five explores the history, current practices, and impact of a global certificate program at Santa Fe College. Study Six reports innovative approaches to study abroad at Harper College and Fox Valley Technical College. Study Seven provides insight into collaborations between domestic and international institutions to support efforts to globalize the curriculum of both groups. Study Eight analyzes the challenges faced by community college ethnic minority students in participating in international opportunities. Study Nine compares community colleges in California and New Jersey to explore the impact of study abroad on student success. Study Ten provides a case study to determine the impact of a short-term (two-week) study away program at a community college. Study Eleven focuses on the social experiences of international students at Austin Community College, and Study Twelve explores the potential for international internship experiences at a community college as a vehicle for student global competence. Study Thirteen closes Part Two and the book by looking toward the future of internationalization at community colleges. Written by co-editor Valeau, the concluding chapter notes how each of the preceding chapters clearly provides evidence for the value and efficacy of internationalization at community colleges.


Seeking to move internationalization from optional to integral, the book’s central argument is: “A key awakening is the realization that reform is not based on chance, but on intentional design created to guide comprehensive reform efforts” (p. 5). This book serves as this guide and is recommended for community college policy makers, administrators, and faculty.




American Council on Education. (2012). Mapping internationalization on U.S. campuses. Retrieved from


King, M. & Fersh, S. (1983). International education and the U.S. community college: From optional to integral. ERIC Junior College Resource Review, Spring, ERIC Number: ED233780.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: March 08, 2018 ID Number: 22302, Date Accessed: 1/20/2022 12:23:01 PM

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