IB Training at Hispanic-Serving Institutions
In a February 2008 report, the Pew Research Center forecast the proportion of the United States' Hispanic-heritage population to more than double between 2005 and 2050, rising from 14% to 29%. Sustained competitiveness of U.S. firms in global markets requires that the International Business potential of this demographic subgroup be fully realized. A large proportion of Hispanic-serving institutions are community colleges (48%), and, according to the Census Bureau, 33% of Latinos ages 18 to 24 are enrolled in postsecondary education. Excelencia in Education reports in 2008 that nearly 60% of Hispanics in higher education enroll in community colleges, a rate disproportionate to all other groups. While research indicates that achievement rates are improving, other factors challenge Hispanic students, such as language, cultural, and socioeconomic barriers, according a National Education Association report.
To address these challenges, UF-CIBER and Valencia Community College (VCC), a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, have partnered to create programs to enhance International Business education at the community-college level. Valencia is uniquely positioned to lead this development since Hispanics account for almost 27% of the 50,000 degree-seeking students enrolled, and it ranks third among the nation's two-year institutions for the number of associate degrees awarded to Hispanics (up from fifth in 2008). VCC is located in Orlando, the fourth-largest metropolitan area for Puerto Ricans in the United States; nearly one third of Central Floridians are young adults between the ages of 25 and 44. Valencia is a large, nationally recognized community college with a long history of commitment to student success, paying particular attention to the potential of students historically underserved by higher education.
The initiative will unfold in two phases. Phase I (2009-2010) develops IB modules for basic business courses and pilots a faculty development training program with focus on the Latin American influence. Phase II (2010-2014) evaluates and disseminates Phase I pilots and adds further IB modules in non-business-related career programs such as hospitality management and building construction technology, as well as elective or special-topics courses. Phase II will also include industry-specific continuing-education Spanish courses and establish "transfer plans" in cooperation with major state four-year institutions to provide a "road map" for Hispanic-heritage students as they complete their four-year degrees and continue to expand their dual cultural experiences into global cultural competency.