Critical success factors and the role of the board of trustees in the comprehensive internationalization of community colleges: a qualitative case study



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For over four decades, scholars and national community college associations have called upon community colleges to internationalize their institutions and produce students with a global competency - students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century in an era of globalization. Many community colleges have been slow to respond to the needs of their students in this globalized society. Efforts by college champions are often programmatic initiatives that do not result in long-term systemic change; when these champions are no longer at the institution, the programs falter. This study serves as an additional reference for community colleges seeking to initiate and institutionalize global education programs with a focus on the role of the governing body, the board of trustees. A qualitative methodology and case study design, this study analyzed the role of community college board of trustees in an urban college that has attempted to internationalize their institution. The factors, processes, and obstacles that community colleges face when creating global initiatives in their institutions were also examined. This study revealed ten major themes: (a) role of the board of trustees, (b) chancellor leadership, (c) programs, (d) faculty, (e) curriculum infusion, (f) partnerships, (g) college mission, (h) student success, (i) planning, structures, and systems, and (j) barriers. The findings reveal that the role of the board of trustees in the internationalization of a community college is important, but often limited by knowledge of initiatives and competing demands. The results also point to the importance of participation in the Salzburg Global Seminar as a means of garnering faculty support and course infusion, both critical factors to internationalization.