Congratulations to the editorial staff of NAFSA’s International Educator magazine for the insightful, thought provoking, and informative article in the March/April 2013 issue entitled "Local Goes Global" by Christopher Connell. Community Colleges have really grown dramatically over the past few years in terms of accepting larger numbers of international students and sending local students to study abroad. Also there is more and more emphasis on internationalizing the curriculum and, as this article well pointed out, additional opportunities for international development, and partnership with countries around the world.
I started my community college career as a counselor when we opened the doors of North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, in 1966, and I enjoyed it so much I stayed there for 35 years. We started with 400 students and now have 12,000, and I began working with international students in 1970. I was very fortunate to have progressed through many wonderful opportunities with NAFSA: Association of International Educators, Community Colleges for International Development, and the American Council for International Intercultural Education, which was a part of American Association of Community Colleges. I coordinated a Title VI grant to “internationalize the curriculum” for the six Twin Cities community colleges and 60 faculty members. This effort grew into forming a Minnesota Consortium entitled "Education for Global Learning" in which we organized student abroad programs in Costa Rica and England, established a student faculty exchange with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, and sent faculty on the CIIE Faculty Development Seminars around the world and many other international activities. The point is that community colleges of any size are in a position to do so many good things in international education.
It warms my heart to read this article and see all the developments that are currently taking place in community colleges as one of the negative responses I heard in the early days, as I made presentations to community colleges, was that "we are only a local college and have no need for anything international." Thank goodness we have overcome that obstacle and with the outstanding faculty and staff in the community colleges there is a really bright future for all international programs.
Keep up the good international work!
Thomas E. Carey, EdD (retired)
Carey has been very active in NAFSA serving as the community college representative and the chair of Region IV and also the national community college representative and the vice president for member relations 1995–98 (at the time the only community college person to serve in this role in the history of NAFSA) and is a life member. Carey was also awarded the very prestigious Werner Kubish Award by Community Colleges for International Development.