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Riverside Community College District to reevaluate study abroad program’s educational learning outcomes

A cardboard display located within the Salvatore Rotella Digital Library advertises the study abroad program. (Daniel Hernandez | Viewpoints)

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By Jennipher Vasquez 

Riverside Community College District’s Riverside City College Academic Senate discussed reinstating the study abroad program at a meeting Sept. 27, which resulted in the senate voting against reinstating the program. 

The senate decided against reinstatement until communication improved between the Academic Senate and the study abroad committee to further discuss plans for reinstating the program. 

Academic Senate members Mark Sellick and Virgil Lee motioned to discuss reinstating the study abroad program in a Senate meeting Oct. 25. 

Chancellor Wolde-Ab Isaac said the program may need to be reenvisioned. He also raised concerns about the curriculum and if it meets the necessary learning outcomes and financial equity of the program.

“If I look at general education learning outcomes,” Isaac said. “One of those outcomes is to increase global awareness in our students, to create global citizens, to have a cultural dimension expanded in our students.” 

The senate appointed Jeff Rhyne, English instructor at Moreno Valley College, and Fabian Biancardi, political science instructor at Moreno Valley College and RCC, to represent the program.

“One of the primary qualifications that faculty have to demonstrate when applying is how they’re adapting the course to the location that the program is going,” Rhyne said. “In other words, what content is being changed to make sure that the course is being taught in a way that helps students understand something about the local culture and the history of the area where we’re going.” 

He said that it is not accurate to say that there is no evidence that the courses do not help students increase their global awareness.

“There’s a lot of money that’s raised, these students overwhelmingly couldn’t afford to go to Florence,” Biancardi said. “None of them are self financed, they’re all jacked up with financial aid and if there’s one aspect of it that we need to strengthen immediately going forward, it is the financial aid component.” 

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