In recent years government and businesses have stressed the need of increasing the number of workers in the U.S. who can effectively interact with interests on an international level. As a result, various actions have been taken toward advancing international education in higher education in California. As stated by the California Education Code, established in 1999 ("California Community Colleges," n.d.), one of the primary missions of community colleges is to advance California's economic growth and global competitiveness through education. International education contributes to the state's economy and to a diverse college environment, and enhances both academic and curricular programs. However, California community colleges have many competing priorities, and for international education to take a prominent place on the agenda of community colleges they need to secure support by the college stakeholders, have favorable legislation, most importantly on-going advocacy by their CEOs. CEOs are largely responsible in providing the leadership for their institution creating a vision to achieve their goals. This study focuses on the role international education plays within California community colleges, according to strategies suggested by their CEOs. Accordingly, the purpose of this study is (a) to determine perceptions of CEOs on the role of international education in community colleges, (b) to determine the current state of practice of international education and the perceived degree of importance of international education by various constituents in the community, (c) to determine the impact of various legislative policies on international education in community colleges, and (d) determine how can CEOs advance international education initiatives at their colleges. Through semi-structured interviews, this qualitative study used content analysis to capture the essence of the perspectives of 10 California community college CEOs. 16 themes emerged from the participants' responses that fulfill the purpose of this study. 2 major findings indicate that (a) international education is emerging and has yet to be consolidated and considered beneficial to educational programs in California, and (b) leadership is a key factor in advancing international education. Findings of this study can be applied to educational policy related to community colleges, leadership, and advocacy in favor of international education in the U.S.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; International education; Community colleges

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Madjidi, Farzin;