Central Lakes College reported it is moving forward in its relationship with educators from other countries and has stepped up efforts to become internationalized.
The college in Brainerd and Staples currently has students from China, Germany, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Brazil, Bulgaria and Honduras. In addition to establishing relationships with schools in Thailand, CLC has embarked on a mission to work with institutions in Finland and Haiti.
The result of recent visits to those countries could provide travel study opportunities for students enrolled in natural resources and nursing. In November, Larry Lundblad, CLC president, led delegations of CLC instructors to Finland and Haiti.
The Finland excursion included two natural resources instructors - Bill Faber and Gary Carson - as well as English instructor Donna Salli and Staples-Motley High School instructor Gene Mattila, who teaches College in the Schools courses for CLC.
Gary Carson, a natural resources instructor at Central Lakes College, checked out a tree in Finland that is common under various names across continents and known to him as pinus sylvestris, or scots pine.
The Haiti trip was in association with Project Haiti, a local medical mission group that is well-established as a humanitarian presence in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Lundblad's entourage included Rebecca Best, dean of educational services, and three nursing instructors - Connie Frisch, Darci Goeden and Nancy Meyer.
The Finland trip involved the world premiere staging of Salli's ethnic heritage play, "The Rock Farm." Her play, about growing up in the Finnish-American Upper Peninsula of Michigan, was performed by a Finnish troupe, Theater Fiasko. This group had performed at CLC last year, with friendships established among Brainerd hosts such as Salli.
The natural resources instructors from CLC met with Finnish forestry and wildlife experts about potential internships and exchanges for both Finnish and American students. Math instructor Mattila and Lundblad toured secondary schools to observe how math is taught in Finland. Finnish students consistently lead the world in math and reading scores on international tests. Mattila said he gained insight into mechanisms that have put Finland at the top among students learning mathematics.
The Haitian trip was taken with Dr. Paul Severson, a local surgeon, and Project Haiti coordinator Patty Nelson, a nurse. The delegation met with government officials and nursing school administrators in the capital city, Port-au-Prince, and with personnel in Pignon to develop agreements.
Lundblad said the partnership between CLC, a Haitian nursing school (yet-to-be determined), and the mission at Pignon will provide joint learning opportunities for Haitian and CLC nursing students. CLC faculty will accompany the students and provide instruction and clinical supervision.
"The director of the Pignon hospital is hopeful that the nursing standards at the hospital and beyond will be improved as a result of the partnership," Lundblad said.
In other international education news, Community College for International Development Inc. has selected CLC to be a host college for international students next fall.
"The program provides resources to support international students who will enroll in our programs," Lundblad said. He said CLC may host from six to 20 students, who will be from one country and would enroll as a group in a CLC program.
A Fulbright Scholar in Residence is expected to visit CLC next year as a result of a grant award to support a two-week residency. The Islamic specialist will visit classes, be involved in community activities and visit homes in the area. This is a joint project with St. Cloud State University.
There also may be national travel study initiatives for faculty to consider. One suggestion among those supporting a globalized curriculum is to offer themed trips such as jazz in New Orleans, American Indian studies on reservations and theater in New York.
CLC is seeking other funding sources to facilitate partnerships with other institutions, to offer support services and to help internationalize its curriculum. Among issues related to increasing the number of international students on campus are tutoring and counseling, assistance for those speaking English as a second language and other aspects related to integration into campus life.
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