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Celebrating the Legacy of President Carole A. Cowan
"International education at Middlesex went through
different stages over the years," explained Cowan. "It had
its ebbs and flows, but we ultimately looked for funding oppor-
tunities, interested faculty, and the ways a potential program
could benefit the college long-term."
In 1989, MCC welcomed two Institute of International
Education Fellows to the college. In 1990, the first
international exchange professor arrived from Budapest,
Hungary, to teach at MCC, while a Middlesex professor
taught at Budapest Technical University. Also in 1990, through
preliminary work Cowan did with the East-West Center and
the University of Hawaii's Asian Studies Development
Program, MCC established the first Asian Studies
Development Program (ASDP) Regional Center.
"That was a milestone for Middlesex," said Cowan.
"The East-West Center allowed our faculty the opportunity to
participate in summer seminars that taught them how to
integrate Asian studies into the undergraduate curriculum.
It helped us better serve our population base."
Establishing international partnerships was difficult but
rewarding work, recalled Cowan. "We tackled the hard
countries first," she said. "When we were just starting
to build our international partnerships, we were always
traveling to far away places in underdeveloped countries."
The first international trip Cowan took on behalf
of the college was in 1989, before she became
president. "I traveled to Russia when it was still the
Soviet Union," she explained. "We were there as a study
group with the American Association of Community Colleges.
MCC's program in Russia evolved out of that trip."
Over the years, Middlesex has established partnerships
and international faculty, staff and student exchanges with
countries across the globe, including South Africa, Ukraine,
Russia, Morocco, Cambodia, Ireland, China, Armenia, the
Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Georgia, and Ethiopia.
Since there was no state funding to support international
education, most of MCC's global initiatives were supported
through a very robust grant development program and other
outside sources, said Cowan including MCC's International
Education Fellowship program.
Founded in 1992, International Education Fellowships are
academic opportunities for Middlesex students to visit a
country and study its history and culture. More than 387
students and 83 staff members have participated in these
programs over the years. Fellowships are supported by the
Middlesex Community College Foundation and have been
offered to countries such as China, Russia, Costa Rica, Spain,
Ireland, Europe, Belize and Peru. Fellowships vary from year to
year, and the choice of country depends on travel restrictions
and availability.
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"We knew our graduates were going to
be getting jobs in companies that were
doing business all over the world. It
would disadvantage them if they didn't
have a good understanding of the
economies of the world and experience
different world cultures."
~ Dr. Carole A. Cowan,
Middlesex President