Date Awarded

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Pamela L. Eddy

Committee Member

James P. Barber

Committee Member

Rosalind L. Raby


Community colleges enroll nearly half of the total U.S. undergraduates, have the most diverse student population, and serve as the only contact with postsecondary education for many students. Community colleges have engaged in internationalization efforts for decades. Most rely on study abroad and international students as the only methods to internationalize their campuses. A focus on study abroad is not an effective method to internationalize the campus and provide all students with the global awareness and skills necessary to be successful in today’s society. The American Council on Education Model for Comprehensive Internationalization (2012a), Knight’s (1997) rationales framework, and Knight’s (2004) approaches framework to form the conceptual model to analyze the what (meanings), why (rationales/motivations), and how (strategies and models) of community colleges’ internationalization efforts. College sites for the study included Montgomery College, Tidewater Community College, and Orange Coast College. All site colleges participated in one of the American Council on Education’s (ACE) comprehensive internationalization projects. This qualitative collective case study sought to describe the experience and process of comprehensive internationalization in the community college sector, to identify the perceived rationales and motivations to internationalize, to determine the successes and challenges of the comprehensive internationalization process, and to identify the priority placed on intercultural learning and global awareness across the curriculum. The findings revealed several themes on how comprehensive internationalization is being operationalized on the three college campuses. Three frames emerged, global humanities; intercultural learning; and multicultural and international. The interviews also revealed changes to becoming more comprehensive in their approach, both multiple motivations/rationales, programmatic and sustainability challenges and success, and revealed evidence of student learning as a priority for internationalizing the campus. The findings also showed the influence of domestic international diversity, governance, continuity, start and stops on the internationalization process.



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