Mid Michigan Community College (MMCC) serves nearly 100 students from across the world each year as they pursue American college degrees.

“We value diverse classroom and learning experiences for all of our students,” noted Martin Stack, Director of International Programs at MMCC.

Recently, Martin Stack, Director of International Programs at MMCC, and President Christine Hammond traveled to Japan in September to meet colleagues at the University of Shiga-Prefecture. MMCC has an affiliation agreement with the University of Shiga Prefecture through which students can participate in exchange programs. Mid's affiliation agreement with the University of Shiga Prefecture has brought 10 students from Japan to Mid so far.

During this recent trip MMCC representatives also visited and met officials at Ryukoku University, the University of Fukuchiyama, and the Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU). MMCC traveled with the Governor's Goodwill Mission and joined those delegates in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Shiga-Michigan sister-state relationship.

This trip was made possible by the TeamUp Grant awarded to Mid in 2016. The Grant is from the U.S. Embassy and the United States - Japan Bridging Foundation and seeks to increase student exchanges and other mutually beneficial activities between our two countries. The TeamUp Grant gives Mid the opportunity to underscore the College's continued commitment to global citizenship and international diversity.

MMCC and Ryukoku University have entered into an agreement to expand MMCC’s connections in Japan. The agreement is the culmination of two years of discussion and was finalized during the recent visit to Japan last September. The agreement establishes a base for the relationship between the organizations that includes support of visiting scholars and the potential development of other programs such as student exchange, joint research projects and teaching, and administrative staff exchange.

Ryukoku University, founded in 1639, is a comprehensive, 4-year private university with three campuses - two in Kyoto and one Otsu, the capital of Shiga Prefecture, Michigan's sister-state Japan. RyuDai, as it is nicknamed in Japanese, has a combined undergraduate and graduate enrollment of over 20,000 students and 549 faculty. Over 600 RyuDai students study abroad every year, and the institution hosts more than 400 international students every semester.

Ryukoku University was attracted to this partnership because of MMCC’s innovative and unique approach to supporting international students through the LUCES Academy (Learning and Understanding Content to Empower Success) and excellent campus safety record. MMCC’s LUCES Academy is an initiative that immerses non-English speaking students in learning through alternative methods such as hands-on activities, cooperative learning with English speaking students, and dynamic visuals. Initial results from LUCES demonstrated a GPA (grade point average) average increase of 0.82 and students continued their education 11.7% more often.

“As an alumnus of and former instructor at Ryukoku University, it is my great honor to have played a part in forming this partnership. I hope that this relationship can provide some of the same life-changing opportunities I experienced while studying abroad in Japan to both Ryukoku University and MMCC students, faculty, and staff during their own international education endeavors,” shared Stack.

For more information about MMCC’s International Programs, visit midmich.edu/international or contact Martin Stack at mstack1@midmich.edu or (989) 773-6622, Ext, 234. For more information about Ryukoku University visit http://www.ryukoku.ac.jp/english2/.

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