Centering Equity in Community College Virtual International Exchange

An Exploration of Program Typology and Participant Demographics


  • Melissa Whatley Graduate Institute at the School for International Training
  • Suzanne LaVenture Davidson-Davie Community College
  • Nadine Russell Central Piedmont Community College



community college, virtual exchange, program typology, access, equity


Using data from two community colleges in the US southeast, this study uses an equity-focused research lens to address two complementary purposes. First, it situates community college virtual exchange programs within a pre-existing program typology to explore how well these programs are represented. Second, it examines demographic characteristics of community college students who participate in virtual exchange and compares them to students who study abroad to provide insight into the extent to which community college virtual exchange programs improve access to international education. Results indicate that while community college virtual exchange programs often fit well within the typology, broad, open-access exchanges were not as well-described, nor were programs that were not explicitly connected to a cost. Regarding access, findings suggested that some demographic groups, particularly Black students, were less likely to access virtual exchange. Institutional structures related to a student’s degree program offer a potential explanation for this finding.

Author Biographies

Melissa Whatley, Graduate Institute at the School for International Training

MELISSA WHATLEY, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of International and Global Education in the Graduate Institute at the School for International Training. Her major research interests lie in the areas of community college international education, marginalized student populations in international education, and international education policy and practice. Email:

Suzanne LaVenture, Davidson-Davie Community College

SUZANNE LAVENTURE, MA, is the Director of International Education in the Teaching, Learning, and Global Engagement Division at Davidson-Davie Community College. Her major research interest lies in the area of international education at community colleges. Email:

Nadine Russell, Central Piedmont Community College

NADINE RUSSELL, MAC, is the Director of the Global Learning Office at Central Piedmont Community College. Her research interests like in the area of international education and accounting. Email:


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How to Cite

Whatley, M., LaVenture, S., & Russell, N. (2022). Centering Equity in Community College Virtual International Exchange: An Exploration of Program Typology and Participant Demographics. Journal of International Students, 12(S3), 17–37.