Student and faculty in China

Internationalization at Chattanooga State

Global/Cultural Awareness: Students, as citizens and educated members of their communities, need to know and appreciate their own human cultural heritage and its development in a historical and global context. Through the study of other cultures, students develop an understanding, which they otherwise would not have, of the present as informed by the past. Students develop skills that allow them to understand and interact with peoples of various cultures through a study of the social and cultural institutions, the arts and cultural artifacts, and the history and values of their own societies and other societies and cultures in the world. Students further develop an understanding of the interdependent nature of the individual, family, society, history, art and cultural artifacts that both shape and define human behavior and quality of life. – From Student Learning Outcomes, Chattanooga State Community College, Fall 2013

Students, faculty and professional staff are constantly wondering what it means to be a global citizen? We wonder why we cross borders in campus activities, why we internationalize the curriculum and why we teach and study abroad? For some the answer is because we can, for others the answer is because we should. For me the answer is because we must.

Why must we internationalize the Chattanooga State campus? The easy answer is that the State is requiring us to do so, that the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) has mandated it. The equally easy answer is that the College itself has mandated it. But for me the answer resides in the realities of living in Eastern Tennessee in 2014. Since the establishment of the VW plant in 2008, my students and my colleagues at Chattanooga State have acted differently. We talk all the time about international businesses locating in Chattanooga, about foreign languages being spoken on our favorite hiking trails and about new ethic restaurants popping up around town. In other words, the world is coming to us whether we want it to or not.

As an educator I think there is another deeper answer to why we must internationalize Chattanooga State. For the majority of college students in the region, we are the best place to change their lives, the best place to earn a degree that will help them participate in a global economy. When I was a college age student at the University of Florida I had the luxury of spending 7 years in Gainesville (BA and JD) away from my home being exposed to a liberal education full of strange ideas and different people. The typical student at Chattanooga State does not have the same luxury I did; the majority are are raising families, taking care of parents and working full and part-time jobs while enrolled at ChattState. Our challenge is to bring liberal arts education to these students while actively helping to achieve their career goals and family responsibilities. Internationalization in the form in international activities, programs and classes forms the basis of a 21st century education. This is why we continue to work to internationalize Chattanooga State Community College.

Dr. Kenneth Goldsmith is Professor of Legal Studies and Vice President of the Faculty Senate at Chattanooga State. He is also Paralegal Program Director and Commissioner-Elect of the American Bar Association (ABA) Approval Commission for Paralegal Education. He has numerous international teaching experiences, most recently in China where he was a Visiting Scholar in Law with Delaware State University [photo above]. Last year, he received with Professor Donna Seagle, a research grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents to study internationalization of community colleges in Tennessee. Recently Professors Goldsmith and Seagle presented their preliminary research findings at the 21st Annual Conference of the Midwest Institute of International and Intercultural Education.

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