Community College Sustainable Development Network
2015 Heiskell Award Winner: Internationalizing the Community College
Nomination submitted by: Dr. Geoff Bradshaw, International Education Director
Madison Area Technical College’s Community College Sustainable Development Network (CCSDN) brings together faculty and programming from 24 U.S. community colleges, building a network of study abroad programs in the STEM disciplines. The Network is specifically aimed at internationalizing STEM education and expanding community college participation in study abroad through faculty-led programs that connect applied sciences with sustainable development needs in Central America and beyond.
Many community colleges lack the staff, knowledge base, and student population size to sustain study abroad programs. Through the CCSDN program, Madison Area Technical College (Madison College) addresses these challenges by providing training and support to enable faculty, especially in STEM fields, to develop new study abroad opportunities for students. This provides community college leaders with tools to support new faculty led-programs and foster collaborative programs that can be sustained by enrollments from multiple institutions in the network.
The CCSDN provides opportunities for community college faculty to shadow program leads on existing programs, offers training in best practices in study abroad, provides a framework for shared program development, and coordinates jointly run programs abroad. To date, network members have developed nineteen new study abroad opportunities in areas such as engineering, renewable energy, sustainable architecture, sustainable construction, sustainable agriculture, tropical ecology, statistics, education, nursing, and dental service.
“The CCSDN program has allowed Madison College to grow new study abroad programs that give students meaning and purpose through compelling service learning experiences in developing world communities,” says Madison College President, Jack E. Daniels. “Students who participate in such programs go forward with an affirmation of their role as global citizens, and with practical critical thinking and employment skills gained by applying their technical knowledge to sustainable development solutions.”
The network provides a model through which colleges can collaborate with other schools to create faculty-led programs with the training and support to address health, safety, and liability issues that might preclude colleges from considering programs abroad. The CCSDN program provides a model and framework to reach students and faculty at institutions and in disciplines that were previously not connected to international programs.