February 28, 2013
Though I’d been to Atlanta before on business, this was my first time attending the CCID (Community Colleges for International Development) https://programs.ccid.cc/cci/ Conference. The Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead (known as the Beverly Hills of the South) served as the venue for the conference. After the hubbub of the French Quarter in New Orleans, where the AIEA conference was held, arriving to the serenity of Buckhead was a much needed relief. And, as much as I intended to make it to the Martin Luther King Jr. Museum, except to a visit to the Office Depot (2 miles from the hotel) for the printing of handouts, a slice of pizza at a pizzeria nearby and a celebratory dinner at Kyma, a Greek Restaurant in Buckhead, majority of my time was committed to meetings.
At the invitation of Zepur Solakian, Executive Director of CGACC http://www.cgacc.org , I served on a pre-conference workshop panel (chaired by Ms. Solakian) on how community colleges can optimize their recruitment strategy by elevating the global branding of their college through 2+2 university pathways and partnerships. The other presenters serving on the panel included: Ross Jennings, Vice President of International Programs and Extended Learning at Green River Community College (WA) http://www.greenriver.edu/ , Dr. Jing Luan, Vice Chancellor, Educational Services and Planning at San Mateo Community College District (CA) http://www.smccd.edu/accounts/smccd/ , and Vilma Tafawa, Executive Director of the International Center at Bunker Hill Community College (MA) http://www.bhcc.mass.edu/ .
The 2+2 model, though not a new concept, can be a popular choice for international students whereby they can take their general requirements at a community college and then transfer to a four-year university to complete their bachelor’s degree. As the global middle class continues to grow so is the global demand for International Higher Education. It is projected that student mobility will grow 70% by the year 2025. However, as more countries enter into the global arena to recruit students, the U.S. is losing its global market shares due to the perception of high education costs, and the budget cuts effecting all institutions of higher education as well as issues concerning the issuance student of visas.
The workshop set out to determine how U.S. community colleges were doing and what they can do to remain globally competitive? While each presenter discussed the steps their respective community colleges have taken to optimize their recruiting strategy they unanimously agreed that success lies in enhancing, articulating and marketing of 2+2 jointly by four-year institutions and community colleges. The 2+2 process provides huge savings to students and all institutions of higher education. As the global middle class grows the 2+2 can bring affordability of a U.S. degree to these families who would have otherwise looked at other countries. Panelists discussed existing articulation agreements, joint marketing strategies and success models giving credibility to 2+2 globally and eliminate myths about 2+2.
But no amount of recruiting to attract international students is effective if their academic documents have not been properly vetted and evaluated. I spoke of the reasons why accurate credentials evaluations are important for international admissions. Accurate academic credential evaluations allow the admissions decision makers to properly assess and integrate the international students into their scholastic environment while ensuring due diligence in international admissions has been satisfied.
The benefits of the credential evaluation to institutions are twofold: 1) they are protected against credential fraud and misrepresentation and 2) enhance their global competitiveness while nurturing development of international partnerships. Students also benefit by receiving a clear understanding of their academic achievements and enjoying an obstacle-free pathway to further education, professional development and employment opportunities in the future.
Finally, Zepur shared with the audience the initiatives which CGACC has undertaken in its efforts to make the U.S. community colleges and the 2+2 model an attractive and cost effective feature to international students. The CGACC ‘s global initiatives include:
2+2 Guide (New)
2+2 Workshop around the world
2+2 Educational Tours
2+2 Pavilions at Fairs
2+2 Examples with Testimonials
CGACC will continue with its efforts to meet with universities at NAFSA and regional conferences to establish strategic MOUs and continue blogging on the 2+2 model. Through its global partnerships with ACEI and other select organizations, CGACC aims to provide its member institutions the tools needed to optimize their recruitment strategies by enhancing their position in the global education market.
Stay tuned for dispatches from my upcoming trip to Hong Kong next month where I’ll be attending the APIEA http://www.apaie.org/ Conference and presenting on a panel addressing the 2+2 program alongside partnerships and collaborations with EducationUSA https://www.educationusa.info/ , higher education communities in the U.S. and the East Asia Pacific.
Jasmin S. Kuehnert
President & CEO ACEI