Engagement and Global Citizenship: Local Roots and Global Reach


Engagement and Global Citizenship: Local Roots and Global Reach

Theme: Global Citizenship

Leon Richards
Kapi’olani Community College, HI
Constituent Group:
Robert Franco
Professor of Anthropology, Director of Planning
Kapi’olani Community College, HI
Constituent Group:

Sustaining Institutional Focus

In 1988, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) published a report entitled, Building Community which identified new imperatives, including the accelerated development of international education, for America’s two-year colleges. The report provided a powerful, sustainable definition of “community as both a region to be served and a climate to be created.” In 1990, AACC received substantial funding from the Kellogg Foundation to support “Beacon Colleges” which would lead multi-campus consortia in advancing the identified imperatives.

Kapi’olani was selected as a Beacon College in international education, collaborated with nine other 2-year colleges in Wisconsin, Michigan, California, Hawai’i, and the Northern Marianas, and produced a four volume series entitled, Beyond the Classrom: International Education and the Community College (Franco and Shimabukuro:1992). The four volumes focused on the integration of intercultural and international content into the curriculum and campus environment, international institutional partnerships, and international business in continuing education programs. These volumes served a major bridge-building function for the College. Of the 500 sets of volumes produced, half of were disseminated nationally and half were shared with Asian and Pacific international institutional partners.

In spring 1995, the College initiated its Service-Learning program with funding from the Corporation for National Service, AACC, and the Campus Compact National Center for Community Colleges. In that summer, a two-week Service-Learning faculty institute attracted many of the same College faculty who were advancing intercultural and international learning on the campus. We debated what would make Service-Learning distinctive at Kapi’olani and agreed that we should use Service-Learning to understand and celebrate the diverse traditions of service represented in our community, and in the ancestral Hawaiian, Pacific, and Asian cultures of our students and faculty. Thirty key faculty reached consensus that Service-Learning should enhance students’ understanding of their social and civic responsibilities, while at the same time enhancing skills valued in the local workplace, skills such as reliability, willingness to learn, communication in all forms, sensitivity to diverse clients, and teamwork.

A decade of innovation, program assessment, evaluation, commitment to improvement, and tactical budgeting, has resulted in the institutionalization of both International Education and Service-Learning as cross-curricular Emphases at the College. Each Emphasis engages dozens of faculty across the Liberal Arts and Careers curriculum, and many faculty are engaged in both Emphases.

National Recognition and Enhancement of Engagement

In the 2001-2005 period, the College was selected to participate in the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Greater Expectations initiative which featured our Service-Learning Emphasis, and the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Promising Practices initiative which featured our institutionalizing of international education. Participation in both initiatives inspired greater campus attention to the focal question of “what do we want our students to be and become”? Our response was that we wanted our students to be socially responsible and economically productive members of their communities, locally, nationally, and globally.” Service-Learning, Community Engagement and Integrated International Education are now woven to produce these kinds of students for our local community, nation, and world.

Strategic Planning, 2003-2010

The College engaged in institutional strategic planning from fall 2001 to spring 2003.
The College’s Vision which is inspired by the legacy of Queen Julia Kapi’olani and drives both mission and strategic plan goals states that Kapi’olani Community College “prepares students for lives of critical inquiry, active participation and leadership in careers which strengthen the health, well-being, and vitality of

  • the individuals, families, and communities that support all of us
  • the cultural traditions that shape and guide all of us
  • the land and sea that sustains all of us.

The peunultimate draft of this Vision statement was reviewed by Dr. Edgar Beckham, a leading expert on cultural diversity learning, at an AAC&U Greater Expectations Summer Institute. He and others who reviewed this draft strongly urged the inclusion of the two words “all of” in the final draft, which we did. These two words result in an assertion of absolute inclusion, and though subtle, set the foundation for further development of global citizenship as a learning outcome, not just an abstraction.

Two mission statements also drive Global Engagement strategic plan goals. The first mission statement asserts that the College “prepares students for lives of ethical, responsible community involvement by offering opportunities for increased civic engagement.” This mission statement directly aligns with regional accreditation requirements for general education. The second mission statement emphasizes that the College will continue to “lead locally, nationally, and globally in the development of integrated international education through global collaborations.”

Goal 4 of the strategic plan is “To Champion Diversity in Local, Regional, and Global Learning” and is unique within the ten-campus University of Hawaii system. The goal has three objectives which result in an integrated approach to indigenous, intercultural, and international learning. The first objective recognizes the College’s responsibility to honor and strengthen Hawaiian language, culture and community. The second objective serves and respects the diverse peoples and cultures of our communities. Under this objective, Service-Learning is identified as a central strategy to promote intercultural and intergenerational learning in these communities. The third objective strengthens the College’s role as a bridge between “Asia, the Pacific, the Americas, and the world.” With the completion of the strategic plan that the College began to reframe its focus around “island roots” and “global reach.” Island roots are celebrated and implemented through Goal 4, objectives one and two, and “Global reach” is celebrated and implemented through Goal 4, objective 3.

National Work and Enhancement of Global Engagement

While institutional strategic planning was underway, the world of higher education was continuing to spin in the direction of greater accountability to student learning and stronger campus-community engagement. In 2004, the College was recognized as an Exemplar of Civic Engagement in the Campus Compact publication, The Community’s College: Indicators of Engagement at Two-Year Institutions. The College also participated in a yearlong AAC&U Greater Expectations working group focused on “Civic Engagement in a Diverse Democracy.”

At the College, major new work is underway in collaboration with an ACE-FIPSE funded consortium focusing on international learning outcomes assessment. In the earlier ACE project on institutionalizing international education, ACE external reviewers were impressed with the College’s competency-based curriculum, and specific learning outcomes delineated in our General Education program as well as in our Asian Studies and Hawaiian-Pacific Islands Studies Certificates. In the General Education program, Standard Six is entitled, “Understanding Self and Community” and states that the College “emphasizes an understanding of one’s self and one’s relationship to the community, the region, and the world” and has a specific learning outcome “to demonstrate an understanding of ethical, civic and social issues relevant to Hawaii and the world” (KCC General Education Standards are available at www.compact.org, Senior Faculty Fellow).

ACE gathered the intercultural and international learning outcomes from documents at the six colleges and universities participating in the FIPSE consortium, categorized them into knowledge, skills, and attitudes, and sent them to 60 international subject matter experts for priority ranking. Fifteen Kapi’olani faculty were identified as international subject matter experts and their priority rankings exactly matched the rankings of the larger sample of 60.

ACE collaborating faculty then developed a comprehensive and detailed set of intercultural and international learning outcomes. These outcomes represent the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of “the globally competent student.” The ACE collaborating faculty also developed an assessment rubric, a rubric rater training handbook, and eportfolio instructions to students. Participating campuses are now piloting these outcomes and products.

A large number of these outcomes can be achieved through service-learning pedagogy and civic engagement commitment. Selected outcomes are listed below:

Knowledge Outcomes
  1. Demonstrates knowledge of global issues, processes, trends and systems
    1. Basic concepts (e.g., political events, major world organizations, major trends such as globalization, the role of non-governmental organizations.)
  2. Demonstrates knowledge of other cultures
    1. Cultural practices (e.g., religious, secular, political, governmental, educational, family structures.)
  3. Understands his/her culture in a global and comparative context
    1. Self in cultural context (e.g., aware of one’s own origins, history, ethnic identity, communities, etc.).
    2. The history of his or her own culture.
    3. The history of his or her own culture in relation to the history of other cultures.
    4. Understands his/her historical space and place in a global and comparative context (e.g., geography, migration, diasporas, exploration, regional identity, etc.).
Skill Outcomes
  1. Uses knowledge, diverse cultural frames of reference, and alternate perspectives to think critically and solve problems.
    1. Recognizing the importance and validity of others’ perspectives
    2. Providing culturally-grounded evidence to make points (e.g., recognizes the cultural underpinning of evidence, opinion, and arguments).
    3. Identifying solutions to social issues and/or global challenges that take cultural considerations into account.
  2. Uses foreign language skills and/or knowledge of other cultures to extend his/her access to information, experiences, and understanding.
    1. Using foreign language skills to locate and use resources (e.g., foreign language texts) in various disciplines.
    2. Using foreign language and cultural knowledge gathered from a fluent/native speaker.
    3. Using foreign language skills and knowledge of other cultures in experiential learning (e.g., service-learning, internships, study abroad).
Attitude Outcomes
  1. Demonstrates a willingness to seek out international or intercultural opportunities.
    1. his or her experiences with individuals from different cultures.
    2. the desire to participate in international or intercultural experiences in the future.
    3. the ways in which his or her thinking has changed as a result of exposure to different cultures.
    4. feelings or emotions that he or she experienced as a result of an international and/or intercultural learning experience(s).
  2. Appreciates different cultures (e.g., language, art, music, religion, political structures, philosophy, and material culture).
    1. the language(s) and/or literature(s) of the culture(s).
    2. the arts and performing arts of the culture(s).
    3. the systems or structures (e.g., political, social, economic, etc.) of the culture(s).
  3. Accepts cultural differences and tolerates cultural ambiguity.
    1. the similarities and/or differences among cultures.
    2. the nuance and complexity evident among various cultural perspectives.
    3. the potential legitimacy of both majority culture and minority culture beliefs and values.
    4. the importance of providing comprehensive and balanced support for his or her conclusions regarding cultural differences and similarities.
    5. the importance of interpreting cultural events and experiences “through the eyes of” individuals from different cultures.
    6. cultural experiences that are different from what could be experienced in one’s “home” culture.
    7. the process of reflecting upon his or her own thoughts and feelings toward different cultures.
    8. the specific ways in which he or she has been changed and/or transformed as a result of cross-cultural experiences.
    9. his or her own biases, prejudices, or stereotypes in relation to a different culture.

The Bridge Ahead: Island and Global Solutions

As the College pilots the ACE outcomes and products, we are focusing attention on our Freeman Scholars, a group of 30 UH community college students who, with complete financial support from the Freeman Foundation, have completed a semester of intensive language learning in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, and then studied and service-learned for a semester in one of these East Asian countries. Some of these students are completing eportfolios of their intensive learning experience and then continuing to take international studies courses. We will be tracking six student cohorts in the ACE FIPSE project.

A second and more difficult assessment task is to follow students who are taking international courses integrated into the General Education program. We are intending to use the international Service-Learning pathway to help identify these students and encourage them to create eportfolios which will include their Service-Learning reflections and other learning artifacts for assessment.

Currently International Students can take Japanese, Chinese, or Korean 298 to meet their second language requirement. Dozens of these “298” students serve in our International Cafe helping local students learn East Asian languages, while local students help East Asian students learn English as well as adapt to Hawaii and American culture.

With new Corporation for National and Community Service funding, Hawaii-Pacific Islands Campus Compact (HIPICC) , which support Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, is moving to a new emphasis on intergenerational solutions in island societies. Annually, an “Island Solutions” project and conference will bring one faculty member and two students from each of the Hawaii-Pacific institutions to Honolulu where they will complete service-learning projects on a shared civic issue (egs, environmental sustainability, literacy, health) and then discuss this issue in its global context.

HIPICC is also taking the lead in developing a national initiative to enhance Service-Learning in indigenous communities, locally, regionally, and nationally. Also, in spring 2006, the Hawaii legislature provided more than $215,000 for the development of a new Long-Term Care Resource Initiative at Kapi’olani that will, in part, engage older Hawaii residents in active aging, service-learning collaborations. Project RESPECT (Respected Elders Serving in Partnerships for Educational and Community Transformation) is integral to our new CNCS-funded program, and will enable our respected elders to share their traditions of service with our students, creating an intergenerational bridge for intercultural learning, and improving the quality of life for all.

With an ACE mini-grant, the College helped establish a small consortium of colleges and universities to initiate a “Global Solutions” project in Honolulu in May, 2006. For seven days, five institutions, Park University (MO), St. Mary’s University (TX), the University of Kansas, the University of Hawaii, and Kapiolani Community College, each had one faculty and two students working on service-learning projects in health, education, and bridging the digital divide in Palolo Valley, a low income, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual valley near both UHM and KCC. After this week of service-learning, and collaboration with community partners and experts, the students, faculty, and community partners participated in a three day “Global Solutions” conference at Tokai University’s Honolulu campus. At the conference students unveiled a Healthy Community website that provides important preventive health information and educational materials for children, teens, adults, and the elderly. Students also were led through guided reflection sessions to help them make explicit links between the problems and solutions in Palolo Valley and in developing countries around the world. Global Solutions students made future commitments to maintaining the website and to writing grants that would support a community health center in Palolo Valley public housing.

Our objective was and is, as we intend to sustain and grow the consortium, to use local problems as a link to global solutions that address the 8 UN Millenium Development Goals which are to:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS malaria and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development


Simply stated, hundreds of American communities are confronting one or more of the issues that also severely impact a community or nation in the developing world. American college students who service-learn on a local problem can reduce the severity of that problem and reflect upon it as a local, national, and global concern. Local solutions, such as web-based environmental and health information, can simultaneously contribute to reducing the severity of the problem locally, nationally and globally. Students from developing countries on our campuses can be engaged to translate web content into their native languages, languages spoken in the home country and in a community, like Palolo Valley, only miles away. Integrating solutions-focused local and global service-learning can bring new intentionality to study abroad and its learning outcomes.

Preparing students for citizenship in a globalizing age requires a significant transformation in how we answer the question, “what do we want our students to be and become?” Surely we still want them to be socially responsible and economically productive members of their communities, locally, nationally and globally.

But the way ahead is filled with risk and danger and one senses a growing despair in America’s youth. We need to talk of American college students who are better prepared to act and think, learn and lead locally, nationally, and globally. It is simply not enough to produce problem solvers always responding to some new escalating threat. Our colleges and universities, locally and globally, must produce students and citizens that can assess the pluses and minuses of this globalizing age, and engage other citizens in productive action on the pluses and halting actions on the minuses. A new generation of “problem avoiders” must create a global community that is inspiring and meeting the hopes and dreams of all in a new millennium. Colleges and universities around the world can collaborate to create this global community, while at the same time playing a greater role in creating stronger civil sectors in their own nations and local communities.

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