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An editorial in The News on Sept. 14 implied that international education has no place in the community college. The editorial was written as if Erie Community College was still Erie County Technical Institute, but that era ended over 30 years ago. Most of our students are not enrolled in narrow technical programs, although these remain a significant part of our mission, but in curricula from which they plan to transfer into upper-division programs.

ECC is an integral part of the state university system, and international education is as important to its mission as to that of any other campus in the system. For this reason, the college has been a recipient of numerous competitive grant awards to promote international initiatives among its faculty and students. These grants have funded much of the foreign travel to which The News has given so much attention.

ECC must now go beyond these initiatives to articulate and implement a coherent philosophy of international education. The bottom line is the same for ECC as for any institution of higher education -- to give its students, and this region, an upper hand in the competitive global economy.

While constructive criticism is always useful, the college deserves and needs the support of community leaders in this important endeavor.

Wayne M. O'Sullivan Professor of History
Erie Community College

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