The Education Partnership for Internationalizing Curriculum: Reflections on Collaborating with Community College Educators

Stanford EPIC Fellowship for community college instructors
2019–2020 EPIC Fellows visit the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, August 2019. Stefanie Pietkiewicz

A primary goal of SPICE is to support educators who wish to infuse their teaching with global perspectives. One of the most important ways in which we strive to do this is through our collaboration with Stanford Global Studies (SGS) on the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI-funded Education Partnership for Internationalizing Curriculum, also known as EPIC. EPIC is coordinated by Denise Geraci, SGS’s Outreach and Academic Coordinator.

Each year, EPIC accepts up to ten community college instructors to participate in a one-year fellowship program aimed at internationalizing the community college curriculum. The program commences with a three-day institute at Stanford University that includes lectures, workshops, presentations, and meetings with faculty and staff from multiple disciplines and organizations at Stanford. Following the institute, the fellows return to their home institutions to work on their EPIC projects alongside their regular teaching duties. Over the following months, the Stanford-based EPIC staff meets regularly with the fellows online to discuss their projects, offer feedback, and facilitate collaboration. At year’s end, the fellowship program culminates in an all-day symposium for community college instructors during which the fellows present their work to their colleagues and peers.

Working with community college instructors is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. As a former public high school teacher, I am familiar with the challenges and rewards of teaching students of diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds, which often typifies the community college classroom. Add to that a significant proportion of international students—many of whom are learning English for the first time—and you start to get a sense of the true diversity of student experiences, needs, and goals that community college instructors have to take into account in their teaching.

Over the years of working with EPIC fellows, I consistently find myself in awe of their pedagogical expertise and dedication to their students, and this year is no different. For the 2019–2020 EPIC fellowship program, I have had the pleasure of working with the following five exceptional community college instructors and their unique EPIC projects: Lauren Arenson, Professor of Anthropology and Humanities, Pasadena City College, and her project on environmental justice and social equity from a global perspective; Dana Grisby, Professor of African American Studies, Laney College, and her project on internationalizing her African American Studies course with diaspora dialogues; Humberto Merino-Hernandez, Adjunct Economics Instructor, Cerritos College, and his project on global financial crises; Soraya Renteria, Art History Instructor, Las Positas College, and her project on creating a global introduction to Art History; and Citali Sosa-Riddell, History Instructor, Pierce College, and her project on connecting American myths with global myths.

The 2020 EPIC Symposium will take place on May 16th at Stanford University. The symposium is an opportunity for community college faculty and administrators from across California to discuss strategies for preparing students for a globalized world. In addition to the EPIC fellows’ presentations of their projects, there will also be presentations from Stanford faculty and roundtable discussions for participants. If you are a community college instructor interested in internationalizing the curriculum, I hope to see you there.

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