SFCC International Education Initiative
2005 Heiskell Award Winner: Internationalizing the Campus
Nomination submitted by: Jackson N. Sasser, President
Santa Fe Community College adopted institution-wide international programming in the brief period of three years through a series of clear, replicable steps. Santa Fe's systematic efforts to internationalize its campus make this an excellent model for institutions with limited international programming and an interest in making international education a priority on their campuses. SFCC initiatives have impacted all aspects of the college, and particularly the curriculum, with far-reaching effects.
International education first became a priority at SFCC when President Jackson Sasser began his tenure there shortly after September 11, 2001. Sasser began by establishing an International Education Steering Committee composed of faculty and administrators from across the campus. The committee identified and adopted definitions of "global competency" and "global perspectives" formulated by the American Council on International and Intercultural Education (ACIIE) in cooperation with the Stanley Foundation, and then surveyed faculty, students, and staff to determine what types of global practices were already in place and what new practices could be developed.
Sasser cites funding as the greatest challenge faced by the college in pursuit of international education initiatives at SFCC. Emphasizing this, he encourages other college presidents to view international education as a fundamental component of higher education, and to make college budgets reflect this. "College presidents," says Sasser, "must begin by providing college resources to stimulate new initiatives, then supplement with private, state, and public funds."
Following two years of research and an official Report to the College, a team of faculty and administrators sought and received Title VI-A and Title VI-B grants sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education for international education initiatives. Using these grants, Santa Fe instituted a series of measures with clear and far-reaching objectives that have, among other achievements, significantly altered the curriculum by adding more than 6 courses and revising over 16 courses in the Associate of Arts program. Additionally, they have introduced a Global Studies Certificate and launched programs to internationalize business faculty and curriculum while engaging the local business community and local K-12 instructors.
Outreach to the local business community has yielded collaboration with a local research center for biotechnology. In a new program that includes study abroad in China, students and faculty will convey the interests of local businesses to counterparts in China in an effort to generate new business relationships. "When students are learning not just the fundamentals, but also how they are applied in practice, that's powerful learning," says Pat Grunder, SFCC's Vice-President for Innovation and College Advancement.