Skip to main content

Susan O'Rourke | May 24, 2022

UNC World View and Scholar of Global Distinction campus partners recently conducted a study to “explore the extent to which the Scholar of Global Distinction program provides access to global learning opportunities for students at participating community colleges.” The study focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion and surveyed past and current students to learn more about their “global learning experiences.” The researchers studied trends in students’ global learning, from the global experiences students selected (such as study abroad, virtual exchanges, volunteering, and/or on-campus programming) to the world regions they chose to study through programming or study abroad visits.

The study found that community colleges play an essential role in expanding access to global education, especially among students who would otherwise face financial or knowledge barriers. The Scholar of Global Distinction program provides students with opportunities to meaningfully study global topics in their classes and the support needed to navigate the study abroad process. The program also provides a framework to help students explore the diverse cultures and global traditions that make up the local fabric of their communities. These experiences often influence students beyond the classroom. One student who participated in a focus group reflected on just how impactful the program was on their learning and professional goals. They shared:

When I did the Scholar of Global Distinction Program, I studied abroad in England, Ireland, and Scotland, and I currently live and work in the United Kingdom. After the Scholar of Global Distinction program afforded me the opportunity to study abroad in England, I knew I wanted to live abroad. I definitely attribute my preparation to live and study abroad to the Scholar of Global Distinction program.

We encourage educators to read through the report to learn more about the far-ranging impacts of the program and about opportunities to deepen and diversify students’ global learning experiences.

Full Report: The Scholar of Global Distinction Program: An Exploration of Access to Global Experiences at North Carolina Community Colleges

UNC World View thanks the Scholar of Global Distinction liaisons who made this study possible and the authors who thoughtfully conducted this important research:

  • Hazael Andrew, PhD, Associate Director, UNC World View
  • Melissa Whatley, PhD, Assistant Professor of International and Global Education, School for International Training
  • Nadine Russell, Director of Global Learning, Central Piedmont Community College
  • Suzanne LaVenture, Director of International Education, Davidson-Davie Community College