Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad
• Melissa Whatley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of International and Global Education, SIT Graduate Institute • Rosalind Latiner Raby, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, California State University Northridge
• Sora H. Friedman, Ph.D., Professor of International and Global Education, SIT Graduate Institute
Community college education abroad has existed for over sixty years and, while the number of U.S. community colleges that offer education abroad is low compared to universities, it is clear that international programming thrives in this context. Despite this history and recent growth in student participation, investigation into the role that community colleges, and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions globally, play in the broader realm of the education abroad field remains limited. Indeed, Frontiers has only published three articles about the community college context (Norris & Dwyer, 2005; Whatley & Raby, 2020; Willis, 2011). It is time for community college research to claim its role in advancing researchers’ and practitioners’ understandings of the field. This special issue aims to include articles that counter stereotypes about community colleges and the students they serve, use critical theoretical lenses and approaches to see community college education abroad in different perspectives, build an understanding of education abroad in community college/TVET institutions worldwide, and offer solid empirical context for understanding assessment and evaluation practices at these institutions.
Much of education abroad research adopts a deficit perspective of the community college/TVET context. Research on the broader field of internationalization of higher education suggests that only universities can advance internationalization through omission of the community college/TVET sector (Altbach et al., 2009; Brandenburg, et al. 2019; Douglas & Switkes, 2016). Research on U.S. community college education abroad extends this narrative, with research on lack of inclusion in college mission and strategic plans (Raby, 2008), lack of executive leadership support (Eddy, 2014; Opp & Gosetti, 2014), lack of full-time positions and professionalization of those supporting these programs (Zhang, 2011), and a lack of a national database to confirm how many community colleges support education abroad (Copeland, 2016). Similar research applies this narrative to TVET institutions (de Wit et al., 2019). This deficit lens assumes low expectations for student enrollment in education abroad and ignores systemic institutional inequities that marginalize and discriminate against non-traditional student populations (Raby, 2018).
Despite its small footprint in the broader education abroad literature, significant advances have been made in our understanding of community college education abroad, especially in the United States. Similarly, research shows diverse internationalization practices worldwide (Gao, 2019; Raby & Valeau, 2021; Unger & Zaussinger, 2018), including education abroad in Australian TVET institutions (Nyland & Tran, 2020), Austrian Universities of Applied Sciences (Gaisch & Aichinger, 2018), Brazilian Federal Institutes (Camilo & Shallenberger, 2018), Japanese KOSENs (Shimoda & Maki, 2018), Portuguese Polytechnics (Mesquita & Castilho, 2018), and Vietnamese community colleges (Viet Nam Association of Community Colleges, 2020). Counter-deficit or equity narratives in this growing literature suggest that non-traditional students possess multiple forms of social and cultural capital, some of which are unique to specific racial, ethnic, or gendered groups (Fischer, 2022), to adults (Raby, 2019), and to rural students (Wood & Raby, 2022). Research showcases general student profiles (e.g., Baer, 2019; Bégin-Caouette et al., 2014; Whatley, 2018), institutional case studies (e.g. Bartzis et al., 2016; Fell & Wright, 2019; Oberstein-Delvalle, 1999), comparative studies on institutional context (e.g., Wood & Whatley, 2020), and studies that focus on specific student populations, including low-income students (e.g., Wood, 2022b), students of color (e.g., Barone, 2021; Fischer, 2021); African-American men (e.g., Bush & Bush, 2021; Zamani-Gallaher, 2016), African-American women (e.g., Willis, 2016); students in career and technical education (e.g., McKee, 2019; Wood & Raby, 2022a); rural students (Thomas, 2019; Wood & Raby, 2022b); and first-generation students (Wood, 2022). Other recent studies use students’ stories, a focus on social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion, and decolonial perspectives to counter commonly held stereotypes about historically marginalized students and challenge university-focused research on education abroad (Raby, 2018; Viggiano, 2019; Whatley & Raby, 2020).
Although recent literature contributes considerably to countering the stereotype that non-traditional students who attend community colleges and TVET institutions do not study abroad or that they cannot benefit from this experience, limited research explores student outcomes. The literature that does exist includes qualitative survey, interview, and pre/post-design studies (Arden-Ogle, 2009; Brenner, 2016; Drexler & Campbell, 2011; Fischer, 2021; Wood & Raby, 2022b). Less research uses quantitative analysis to assess, evaluate, and explore student outcomes (Raby et al., 2014; Rhodes et al., 2016; Wood, 2019; Whatley & González Canché, 2022). Additional under-researched topics include student transformative learning (Barone, 2021) and career development (Thomas, 2016). Clearly, much work remains to unpack education abroad assessment and evaluation in the community college and TVET context and the impact of programs on students, on faculty and administrators who support them, and on local communities (both at home and abroad). Such work is also needed to address the current lack of inclusion of community colleges and community college students in the growing connections being made between the fields of international education and diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. This special issue aims to remedy this situation.
Key questions that this special issue aims to address:
(1) What types of need assessment are conducted for education abroad programming by those who lead community college education abroad?
(2) What is the role of leadership in the needs assessment process?
(3) Is education abroad included in Guided Pathway policies, college mission, vision, values, or other college policies? How does its inclusion or exclusion influence needs assessment research?
(4) Who makes the decisions about the types of education abroad to offer and what is the process of choosing these programs?
(5) What critical considerations are given when developing education abroad programs and curricula?
(6) How is institutional racism addressed in developing programs and curricula and in program marketing materials?
(7) Are student needs considered in the development of education abroad programming and, if so, how?
Internal Program Evaluations
(1) How are programs evaluated? Who evaluates them?
(2) Are faculty experiences evaluated and, if so, how? What programmatic components are the focus of this evaluation? What follow-up is done based on these evaluations?
(3) How are students evaluated? Are student experiences evaluated and, if so, what programmatic components are the focus of the evaluation? What follow-up is done based on these evaluations?
(4) How does college leadership conduct evaluation of education abroad programs? How does this inform needs assessment practices?
(5) What are the outcomes of program evaluation for students who participate in and/or faculty and other support staff who lead education abroad?
External Program Evaluation
(1) What are student learning outcomes that result from education abroad (change in life experiences, employability, transfer, completion, well-being)?
(2) What is the impact of education abroad on communities (both local and abroad)?
(3) How and why do community members (non-students) participate in community college education abroad programs?
(4) How do other stakeholders, e.g., employers, community organizations, community college partner organizations, view education abroad?
Submitting a Proposal:
Interested authors should first submit a 500-word abstract that clearly identify one or more of the aforementioned questions as the focus of their proposed article. Please include an overview of as many of the following as applicable: objectives or purposes of the article; methods, techniques, or modes of inquiry; data sources or evidence (if applicable); and results, conclusions, or point of view.
Please send the abstract for consideration to Guest Editor Melissa Whatley, firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line “Frontiers CC/TVET Proposal” by December 16, 2022 for full consideration.
Guest Editors will invite full-length submissions on the basis of the abstract, with manuscripts due in March 2023. Article submissions will be subjected to blind review organized by the guest editors, and multiple rounds of revisions may be requested. Publication decisions subject to final approval by the Frontiers Editor.
Please note: Submission of an article for consideration for this special issue represents a commitment by all authors of the submission to serve as peer reviewers of other articles, if called upon at the discretion of the Guest Editors.
December 16, 2022: Proposals due
December 2022: Proposal decisions confirmed
March 15, 2023: Manuscripts due
March 15 – May 15, 2023: Peer review
May 30, 2023: Revision requests received
July 30, 2023: Revisions due
August 15, 2023: Second revision request received (if needed)
September 30, 2023: Final manuscripts due
October 1– November 1, 2023: Copyediting
February 2024: Publication