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A Thematic Analysis of Study Abroad Programs in Community College Institutions in the U.S.

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Loyola University Chicago Loyola ecommons Master's Theses Theses and Dissertations 2015 A Thematic Analysis of Study Abroad Programs in Community College Institutions in the U.S. Christina Parker Loyola
Loyola University Chicago Loyola ecommons Master's Theses Theses and Dissertations 2015 A Thematic Analysis of Study Abroad Programs in Community College Institutions in the U.S. Christina Parker Loyola University Chicago Recommended Citation Parker, Christina, A Thematic Analysis of Study Abroad Programs in Community College Institutions in the U.S. (2015). Master's Theses. Paper This Thesis is brought to you for free and open access by the Theses and Dissertations at Loyola ecommons. It has been accepted for inclusion in Master's Theses by an authorized administrator of Loyola ecommons. For more information, please contact This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. Copyright 2015 Christina Parker LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO A THEMATIC ANALYSIS OF STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS IN COMMUNITY COLLEGE INSTITUTIONS IN THE U.S. A THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF THE GRADUATE SCHOOL IN CANDIDACY FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS PROGRAM IN CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL POLICY STUDIES BY CHRISTINA PARKER CHICAGO, IL MAY 2015 Copyright by Christina Parker, 2015 All rights reserved. TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ABSTRACT iv v vi CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND 1 Introduction 1 Background 2 CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW 5 Globalization 5 Internationalization 7 Study Abroad 11 CHAPTER THREE: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 16 CHAPTER FOUR: METHODOLOGY 23 CHAPTER FIVE: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 25 Bunker Hill Community College 25 Howard Community College 28 Green River Community College 32 Maricopa Community Colleges 36 Eastern Iowa Community Colleges 39 Central Piedmont Community College 42 CHAPTER SIX: COMPARISON, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 46 Institutional Comparison 46 Conclusion 47 Recommendations 50 APPENDIX A 53 REFERENCE LIST 55 VITA 58 iii LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Coding Numbers 25 iv LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS American Association of Community Colleges Bunker Hill Community College Howard Community College Maricopa Community Colleges Eastern Iowa Community Colleges Central Piedmont Community College AACC BHCC HCC MCCD EICC CPCC v ABSTRACT The following study focuses on community colleges and the textual website materials they present regarding study abroad programs in order to illuminate the the congruence between the overall community college mission of accessibility and the information presented on their study abroad websites. The text was evaluated by utilizing a thematic analysis coupled with multiple case studies and then further examined through the theoretical lenses of academic capitalism, institutional isomorphism, and universalism. The analysis of the text indicated that institutions are offering these programs for a combination of reasons, including institutional legitimacy, institutional revenue, and attempted student accessibility. The most significant deduction made from analysis was the lack of congruence between the overall community college mission of accessibility and information institutions present on their study abroad websites as it relates to scholarships, financial aid, diversity, and inclusion. These findings provide significant implication for further studies regarding how community colleges can seek to increase accessibility for students to study abroad programs as related to diversity and inclusion. vi CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND Introduction According to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), there are currently 1,132 community college institutions in United States serving a total of 12.8 million students. This accounts for 45% of all undergraduate students in the United States, and also represents 56% of the Hispanic population, and 48% of the African- American population (American Association of Community Colleges, 2014). With this significant statistic in mind, it is clear that those students who attend community colleges are an immensely important component of higher education in the United States. While there has been some research carried out regarding internationalization and study abroad at the community college level, most notably by Rosalind Latiner Raby, John Levin, and Edward Valeau, there is still a considerable need for more research to be conducted. This study was undertaken in an attempt to address a portion of the research gap in the field of study abroad and community colleges by conducting a thematic analysis of the publicly available information presented by community college institutions on the study abroad sections of their websites. This study will also allow for a critical look to be taken at the specific nature, structure, and details of study abroad programs and how they are administered at the community college level. Through a thematic analysis of textual materials produced by community colleges coupled with multiple case studies the study attempted to elucidate the congruence between the overall community college mission of 1 2 accessibility and the information institutions present on their study abroad websites. The study includes a background section regarding community colleges, a literature review containing relevant information on the topic, a methods section explaining how the study was carried out, a results and discussion section explaining the information that was found through analysis and a comparison, conclusion, and recommendation section which will give final thoughts regarding the study. Background In order to provide a comprehensive context for this research study, the thesis will begin with a brief overview of the community college as an institution of higher education, along with a brief history of the institution chiefly concentrating on its time in the United States. Rosalind Raby (2009) provides a clear definition of the community college model, stating that these institutions exist as a unique form of postsecondary education that offers short-term semi- and professional terminal courses as well as an academic curriculum that results in an associate in arts or sciences, and in some cases the means to transfer to 4-year universities (p. 3). When community colleges were first developed at the beginning of the 20 th century, they were termed junior colleges, as their chief mission was to prepare students to transfer to a four year university. They had their beginnings in local school districts as extensions of high schools. The institutions gradually began to evolve to include vocational training, in addition to their transfer preparation focus (Bragg, 2001). The 1947 Truman Commission Report is credited with the first use of the term community college and promoted the mission of these institutions that one can see infused in the 3 system today, which entails providing and expanding educational access for all, rather than simply serving as institutions that prepare students for transfer (Boggs, 2010; Bragg, 2001). The largest expansion of community college institutions took place between 1960 and During this decade more than 450 new institutions were opened in order to accommodate the needs of the baby boom generation (Boggs, Elsner, Irwin, 2008). The community college model in the present day United States includes seven salient characteristics, according to Raby (2009). The first being fairly obvious is that all community colleges are post-secondary institutions, or institutions that provide education after completion of a secondary education. The second characteristic, also widely known, is that community colleges in the U.S. operate on a binary university system, with a clear distinction between the community college model and the traditional university model. This binary feature also allows for students to transfer from community college institutions to four-year institutions (Raby, 2009). The third characteristic, which will be particularly salient for this study, deals with the mission of community colleges to serve those students who would not traditionally attend a four-year university. Students who attend these institutions are more likely to include women, racial minority groups, individuals with families, and those who are the first in their family to attend college (Bragg, 2001; Raby, 2009). The fourth characteristic deals with having a distinct length of study for community college programs, which traditionally last two years, however length does vary according to the program in which a student is enrolled. The fifth characteristic given by Raby (2009) entails community colleges being seen a less than due to the fact that students often enroll at these institutions over four- 4 year universities due to lack of funds or necessary grades. The bevy of course offerings in vocational studies and the continuing lack of funding perpetuate this status as less than. The sixth characteristic, and one of the most salient according to Raby (2009), involves community colleges offering a curriculum that is designed to adapt and quickly change to the ever evolving needs of the particular community in which they are based. This flexibility is of particular importance, as no other division of higher education can respond more aptly and quickly to its community. The last characteristic, which details the open access philosophy, is arguably the most important concept to the mission of community colleges as a whole. The notion of open access in community colleges predicates itself on charging little to no tuition to students and admitting students regardless of factors such as race, income, or academic preparedness (Raby, 2009; Abelman & Dalessandro, 2008). CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW This review will focus on the topics of globalization, internationalization, and study abroad as they pertain to community colleges. A brief section regarding globalization and how it has manifested in the community college institution will be included. For the topic of internationalization, a broad definition of the concept will be provided, a brief history as it has been realized in community colleges will be given, current statistics regarding the state of the internationalization in these institutions will be discussed, and finally barriers to its growth and proposed solutions to these barriers will be related. For the field of study abroad, a broad definition will be provided along with the various types, a brief history in the community colleges will be given, the advantages and benefits of study abroad will be discussed, current statistics of study abroad in community colleges will be related, and finally challenges as well as possible solutions will be overviewed. The review will also elucidate gaps in the field, highlight areas that merit further inquiry, create warrant for this study, and identify the contribution that this study will make to the field. Globalization Globalization is often considered a particularly difficult concept to pin down and has been defined in a myriad of different ways by a number of various scholars. This piece will utilize globalization as Levin choses to define it, as he is a leading scholar on 5 6 the topic of higher education concerning community colleges and globalization. Levin (1999) proposes that globalization is a multi-dimensional concept, as it suggests condition, process, economic connection, and is used in the form of the term global, to characterize political systems, multiple economics, and cultures. Levin (2002) also defines globalization as a process that entails intensification of social and political relationships [which] heighten economic competition (p. 51). To provide another perspective, Raby (2009) states that globalization is a vigorous force that perpetuates a borderless world where practices and ideas are shared across space and time aided by technology, mobility, communication, socioeconomic relationships, and environmental interdependence (p. 21). Globalization as process permeates a number of institutional types, including political, military, cultural, economic, and legal. As higher education is involved in cultural, social, and economic realms, it is undoubtedly affected by the forces of globalization from all sides (Levin, 2002). One major way in which globalization has affected higher education and community colleges in return, is through economic globalization. The theory of academic capitalism, which will be detailed later in this study, explains how the new economy which can be seen manifesting worldwide, has affected institutions of higher education to move into a more business-like orientation and become propelled by the marketplace (Levin, 2002). Levin (2002) stresses that while these new economic behaviors play a large role in globalization and how it affects institution of higher education, there are many other aspects of globalization that also have an impact on these institutions. The 7 three aspects of economics, technology, and immigration patterns have had a substantial effect on community colleges as a whole (Levin, 2002). Internationalization Raby and Valeau (2007) provide an apt distinction between the concepts of internationalization and globalization and relate in essence, globalization is the phenomenon that exists and that we cannot control, while internationalization is the response that education is making (p. 6). Levin (2002) provides further explanation and defines internationalization as a certain set of behaviors such as the recruitment of students from other countries, the delivery of college curriculum in other nations, and the inculcation of others cultural values, including the promotion and display of international images, symbols, and practices (p.52). According to Raby and Valeau (2007), the idea of international education also seems to be related to this and they state that international education is a set of programs and curricula that institutions can employ to globalize students, faculty, and the surrounding communities (p.5). However, Raby and Valeau (2007) also define international education as the need to understand a variety of perspectives (geographic, ethnic, cultural, and gender) by acknowledging similarities, and by respecting and protecting differences among multi-country diversities (p.6). Raby and Valeau (2007) perhaps would differentiate between the two definitions by pointing out that international education is the set of actions while internationalization is the act of carrying out the actions themselves. They do use the terms interchangeably throughout the piece, and for the purposes of this study, the concept will be referred to as internationalization. 8 Raby (2012) states that since the late 1960s, various scholarship has emphasized the importance of internationalization for community colleges. The Truman Commission spoke to its important in the 1940s; however it was not until the 1960s that officials began to realize that the community college should become an integral part of internationalization efforts in higher education. The mission was promulgated throughout various institutions by the AACC and other community college organizations in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. Finally, in 2007 the AACC challenged all community college institutions to strive to make internationalization a fundamental aspect of their mission as bodies of higher education (Raby, 2012). While there has been some success in the realm of internationalization, and the majority of institutions have made a concentrated effort to include internationalization in their mission, efforts usually only entail including one form of internationalization. Raby (2012) relates that today, internationalization has not become an integral part of mission, of leadership transition, nor a component of visionary change (p. 84). It is evident that internationalization has become increasingly marginalized. Raby (2012) states that there is also a lack of statistics on this topic, however, this review will incorporate the minimal amount of statistics that were found regarding internationalization in community colleges, to give a partial sense of its current state in these institutions. A report published on behalf of the American Council of Education by Green and Siaya (2005) summarizes information from a national institutional survey given to a number of community colleges that was meant to measure their internationalization on campus. Green and Siaya (2005) examined this survey and created 9 an internationalization index to better understand the survey and to help determine the amount of internationalization in which campuses were engaged. Using this index, Green and Siaya (2005) found that the majority of community colleges scored low, and none of the institutions surveyed scored high. While this was published a number of years ago, it is still a fairly accurate portrayal of internationalization efforts in community college institutions. This is supported by Raby (2012) as she iterates that internationalization programs have seen no significant growth in the past few decades. This is further supported by data analyzed in the Expanding Education Abroad at U.S. Community Colleges piece written by Raby (2008) and based on IIE s Open Doors Report. As internationalization efforts have remained a low priority for community colleges, scholars have identified a number of barriers to implementing internationalization. As articulated by Madeleine Green (2007) barriers to internationalization occur on both the institutional and individual level. The barriers include institutional leaders not viewing internationalization as relevant, lack of an institutional strategy, fragmentation of international programs and activities, a lack of funding, global learning being seen as solely happening outside of the classroom, individual attitudes against internationalization, a lack of personal knowledge and academic expertise, and finally a lack of internationalized mind-set (Green, 2007). Floyd, Walker, and Farnsworth (2003) stress that internationalization can allow for community colleges to become leaders in global education and allow for students and faculty to have a greater understanding of world issues. The benefits of 10 internationalization go beyond these factors as well, and scholars have also suggested a number of ways in which barriers to internationalization in community colleges can be remedied and provide for an overall increase in internationalization efforts in community colleges across the United States. Green iterates that these barriers can be overcome by ensuring active leadership, creating a strategic framework for action, using available assets, ensuring faculty development and engagement, committing to meet student needs, and providing supporting structures and resources (Green, 2012). Raby and Valeau (2007) also offer their own set of approaches to overcome barriers to internationalization that are a bit more detailed than what Green presents. They state that institutions should clearly include internationalization in college documents, ensure organizational leadership at all levels, create connections between internationalization and other programs, create international committees on campus, create a line item for internationalization in the college budget, secure visible office space and staff, provide counseling services and student advising, and create coalitions with regional and national advocacy groups. Raby (2012) states that community colleges overall have a strong impetus to make a concentrated effort to fight these barriers, as community colleges serve nearly half of the undergraduate population in the United States. If internationalization is not implemented, a majority of students will not have the chance to expand their understanding of the global world or change their perceptions and attitudes about global relationships (Raby, 2012, p. 93). Consequently, new models of internationalization must strive to produce an environment in which programs can be maintained and 11 con
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