A teacher’s travels: Clackamas Community College’s Global Learning Committee Chair talks trips

Ida Flippo teaches criminal justice at Clackamas Community College and is the chair of the Global Learning Committee. The Clackamas Print sat down with her to discuss study abroad opportunities for students and the work she has done internationally.

The Clackamas Print: What is your background with study abroad?

Flippo: When I first started we had a very robust kind of national thing going on. We had some full-ride exchanges where some of our faculty and staff would go to England and some of their staff would come over here and work. That went by the wayside when budget cuts came around and the administration wasn’t real supportive of internationalization efforts.

I was a Fulbright scholar which means that I was chosen to go abroad during my first sabbatical. I went to the Caribbean to a little island called Saint Lucia and I set up a program at a community college that’s really similar to what we have here. As a Fulbright scholar I had to commit to promoting international education and so I take that seriously.

TCP: What is happening with study abroad at CCC?

Flippo: One of the reasons we revamped the Global Learning Committee is because we would have somebody who’s teaching Japanese and they wanted to take students to Japan. They would just say they wanted to take students next month and go, but we had no policies and no procedures in place and that’s really dangerous, especially for the college’s liability. We’ve kind of taken a step back and put a moratorium on everything. There’s a whole bunch of hoops to jump through. It’s not an easy thing to plan.

TCP: What would you say to students who are considering going abroad?

Flippo: There have been some recent studies on community college students and studying abroad; students who study abroad are more likely to finish on time. They’re more likely to transfer, if they are planning to transfer. Their GPA is higher, usually. New research is coming out which has to do with employability and study abroad.

TCP: How much does it cost per trip?

Flippo: It depends on the country. Costa Rica for two weeks would be $3,200 and our students would pay $1,600. Short term study abroad is very expensive.

I have a proposal ready to go for criminal justice students, and that is in Ireland and England because that’s what our entire criminal justice system is based on. So we’ll see if that will be approved. We have plans to visit the Tower of London. For the Ireland portion I think we have a court visit, a lecture from one of the law professors over there. Oh and Jack the Ripper, of course.

TCP:How is study abroad different at a two-year student than a four-year student?

Flippo: When we think study abroad a lot of people my age think you go and spend a semester in Florence. The model that CCC is using is a short term faculty-lead model where students are in a class, they go with the faculty for 1 week, 10 days, two weeks, if you get much longer than that then students can’t really fit that into their lives.

TCP: Why should students go abroad?

Flippo: It’s a great experience. I think the intercultural interaction is really important for students. I’m on a diversity subcommittee that’s looking at how we’re going to measure students cultural competencies. So this is one way to gain some intercultural communication skills and things like that.

TCP: Do you think the college will allow more funding for the study abroad programs?

Flippo: Yes. Just forming the global learning committee and getting that charge where we’re focusing on it, I think is a good thing. And there’s a lot of interest in there, faculty is really interested in it. A lot of stuff at CCC is faculty driven. So if faculty says something is important than usually we can push it through. We’re going to include a list of preferred providers so for example the Institute for Study Abroad is on our list, Cross Cultural Solutions. Faculty will be able to reach out and see who has a program that might fit in with their idea for what they want to accomplish. So I think that will grow, and once we get the web page up.

TCP: Is the college trying to develop regularly scheduled trips?

Flippo: We discussed maybe having one set time per year for two weeks. We’re thinking the first two weeks in December.

TCP: Are there any popular locations?

Flippo: A few years ago we did a study abroad survey. We asked where would you like to go, the No.1 answer was Ireland. Costa Rica was up there.