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Home Projects Completed Projects The International Executive Service Corps
The International Executive Service Corps
The goal of that project is to adapt the workforce education model used in technical curricula by member colleges of Community Colleges for International Development, Inc. (CCID), to the needs of the new higher education system being put in place in Georgia. The reasons why Georgia business and industry need well-educated technical specialists with up-to-date workforce knowledge and skills are the same as in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and other emerging democracies i.e., to compete in a global economy.

 

Higher education programs addressing economic development needs of Georgia’s regions also assist students to build careers in their home regions, strengthen small and medium enterprise development, support sustainable regional economic development, and contribute to civic engagement. Because the Georgian government has higher education reform as a priority, CCID’s work in Georgia needs to be set in the context of the higher professional education, i.e., workforce education initiatives underway in the country. The main partners in the HED project, which continues until September 2009, are Muscatine Community College (Iowa), the Georgian Ministry of Education and Science (MES), Georgian Technical University (GTU), and CCID. The project also receives active support from Moraine Valley Community College (Illinois), Waukesha County Technical College (Wisconsin), Selkirk College (British Columbia), and several European CCID member colleges.

How the HED community college project works

In April 2006 a memorandum of agreement was signed by CCID president John Halder and Minister Alexander Lomaia calling for CCID to provide technical assistance to the Ministry to establish a network of higher professional education colleges around Georgia. As the term “higher professional education” is used in Georgia, it conveys the same meaning that work toward a Associate of Applied Sciences or Associate of Arts degree has in the U.S., i.e., a recognized degree beyond graduation from high school. Other forms of professional education are more like such non-degree technical and vocational education and training, such as certificates, apprenticeships, etc. (During the first year of the HED grant the groundwork was laid for a transfer option – such as exists in the U.S. – to a higher education institution offering a bachelor’s degree and discussions were started with universities to which students could apply with this kind of degree.)

In the same meeting in 2006, Minister Lomaia also announced, in the presence of Ambassador Tefft and CCID’s John Halder, that the first college would open its doors to students from the Shida Kartli region at a location in Gori during fall semester, 2007. Lomaia’s plan was for the college’s program of study to be three years, not two as in the U.S. Students will be admitted based on successful completion of Georgia’s national university entrance exam. GTU would work as the Ministry’s agent and CCID’s partner to train teachers, develop curricula and course materials, and organize business and community training programs. Before leaving Tbilisi,

Halder signed a second memorandum of agreement with GTU’s rector, Ramaz Khurodze, naming Prof. Lali Ghogheliani, then coordinator of higher educational reforms at GTU and director of the university’s teaching center, as the main person responsible for GTU’s higher professional education (or community college) programs.

Ghogheliani previous collaboration with CCID, the colleges that became part of the HED consortium, and Iowa State University made it possible for Muscatine Community College to quickly pull together a winning proposal for a HED competition announced later in the spring of 2006 on behalf of CCID. During the first year of Muscatine’s HED project (academic year 2006-07), the technical approach which will be elaborated later in this proposal was developed and refined. General direction and specific project goals are set jointly by Ghogheliani, CCID’s Ardith Maney, and Muscatine’s Jeff Armstrong.

Ghogheliani supervises the work of the project office and training staff and is the project’s main liaison with MES. Maney goes to members of the college consortium and, when necessary, through the CCID office to the general membership to find colleges with the needed curriculum and training expertise to accomplish activities identified in the work plan and budget. The same approach will be taken in academic year 2007-08 when both the HED and IESC projects will be running simultaneously. CCID will be the grant-holder for the IESC project and with its Georgian partners prepare all reports to IESC. Muscatine will continue to have responsibility for project coordination, financial recordkeeping, and preparing project reports to be sent to HED.

Achievements of the HED grant during 2006-07

After extensive renovations to the building that formerly housed GTU’s branch campus in Gori, the college will enroll 75-85 students for the first classes in October 2007. Each successive year will see the same number of students added. That number will allow approximately 25-30 students take each of the three specialties we are planning. Keeping on schedule in 2006-07 to get the first courses reading to be offered in October 2007, the Georgian-American project team:

• developed a common set of first year courses (see attachment) to be offered to new students each year beginning in October 2007;

• selected twelve Gori-based teachers for the new college based on a competition and organized them into teams with two Tbilisi-based specialists;

• developed training materials and organized trainings for these teachers in new pedagogical methods;

• prepared, edited, corrected, and formatted syllabi, course materials, textbooks, and lab materials for the twelve courses to be distributed in electronic format, and

• agreed on the college’s first three specialties: construction management, entrepreneurism/small and medium business (SME), and hotel, hospitality, and special event management and on the courses to be offered during 2007-08 and 2008-09 (see list of courses in the specialties).

Maney and Ghogheliani also participated in meetings with business groups interested in adding new specialties at the Gori campus and establishing additional community college sites, e.g., Chiatura.

However, active work in setting up advisory committees in the specialties and marketing the college to other stakeholders in Gori region, including employers and community groups, administrators and students in Gori city’s 19 schools and the region’s 55 schools had to be postponed until 2007-08. In addition, Ghogheliani spends considerable time discussing various policy decisions about the college with senior officials at the Ministry. Subjects include organizing the college’s legal status, determining the terms of its accreditation, funding, and choosing a director for the college.

Linked IESC-HED activities for 2007-08

The main activities for the twelve months of this IESC grant will be

• Offering the first twelve courses to students, assessing teachers, and updating materials for the common courses beginning in October 2007;

• Hiring and training teachers who will start teaching courses in 2007-08 in the three specialties;

• Launching outreach and training activities for employers and other community groups;

• Establishing a student career center and linking career services to internships, jobs, and workforce development, and

• Institutional strengthening and capacity-building, linking the Shida Kartli college to local employers, other regional stakeholders, GTU’s Teaching Center, and other MES vocational education programs, through strategic planning.

See table in the appendix materials showing the budget totals for the work forseen under the HED, Waukesha, and IESC proposals.