February 27th, 2014
This year’s CCID (Community Colleges for International Development) annual conference was at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV. Settled at the outskirts of the city; a half hour away from the hubbub of the Strip, the conference site proved to be a serene environment conducive for meetings and networking. A large percentage of ACEI’s institutional clients are U.S. community colleges which refer their international students as well as newly-arrived immigrants to the U.S. for help with the evaluation of their transcripts, certificates and degrees for U.S. academic equivalence. It is only appropriate that we attended this year’s CCID annual Conference.
CCID is a non-profit international membership organization and “for nearly 40 years, CCID has provided an international network for community colleges to further their internationalization initiatives and to enhance the development of a globally competent workforce for the communities they serve.”
Community Colleges are an American invention intended to make publicly funded higher education available and accessible to everyone. They are seen as a gateway to higher education in the U.S. because of their lower costs, excellent opportunities to transfer to universities, variety of courses offered and many other benefits as noted in one of our previous blogs. There are 1,655 community colleges across the US. The States with the largest number of public community colleges are California, Texas, North Carolina, Illinois, and New York. (Source: US Department of Education).
Last year, I attended the CCID Conference in Atlanta, GA and co-presented a workshop on how to “ Optimize your recruitment strategy by elevating the global branding of your colleges through 2+2 university pathways and partnerships.” This year, ACEI, represented by myself and our Assistant Director, Yolinisse Moreno, exhibited at the conference for the first time. ACEI also co-hosted the post-banquet dinner dance party with ITEP (International Test for English Proficiency) which proved to be a great hit amongst the attendees. After a long day of attending workshops, presentations and meetings, the dance party was a great way for everyone to loosen up and have fun.
At our exhibit booth, we had the opportunity to meet several representatives from the community colleges and discovered while some had no international students a few were exploring the opportunities available to them to increase their international student population and looking at the 2+2 or 1+1 models, a topic worth revisiting in one of our previous blogs written by Zepur Solakian, the Executive Director of CGACC (Center for Global Advancement of Community Colleges). In response to our question concerning international credential evaluation, it was interesting to hear many say that they did not have any international students so they didn’t have any need for credential evaluations. Yet, when we reminded them that international credential evaluation also applies to those individuals who are already here in the U.S. as immigrants/residents and have academic documents from their source countries, they were able to realize the significance of our service regardless of the student’s status: international vs. domestic. The simple fact is that credential evaluation applies to anyone who has studied outside the U.S. and needs a statement of U.S. academic equivalence in order to seek admission to a school, college or university, or qualify for a job or a professional license in this country.
Both Yolinisse and I were so busy meeting conference attendees at the ACEI booth that neither one of us had the opportunity to attend any of the several sessions on the program with such topics on how to leverage university transfer in community college recruitment abroad to developing associate degree programs in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, we had a very fruitful two days at the conference and were able to connect with many new and old contacts.
Our thanks to the CCID leadership, Carol Stax Brown, President and Terri Burchell, Director of Advancement for inviting ACEI to the conference. We look forward to attending next year’s conference in Newport Beach, CA.
Jasmin S. Kuehnert
President & CEO ACEI