President Roberts signs agreement with mayors in Okinawa

Shoreline Community College President Cheryl Roberts (at right) signs a memorandum of understanding with a group of mayors in Okinawa, Japan, that could bring more Okinawan students to Shoreline. Photo gallery

Shoreline Community College President Cheryl Roberts (at right) signs a memorandum of understanding with a group of mayors in Okinawa, Japan, that could bring more Okinawan students to Shoreline. Photo gallery

In an effort to further strengthen Shoreline Community College’s long-standing relationship with Japan, President Cheryl Roberts recently visited Okinawa Prefecture in southern Japan to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with several local prefecture mayors.  The mayors have banded together in an initiative to encourage local Okinawan students to study abroad and participate in an increasingly interdependent world.

The agreement signed by Dr. Roberts paves the way for students from Okinawa to participate in education exchange programs at Shoreline Community College.  The actual signing ceremony was attended by well over a hundred local residents, including prefectural mayors, education superintendents, and members of the local community that were interested in sending their students to Shoreline.  In addition to signing the agreement, Dr. Roberts also spoke to those in attendance about the profound relationship between the U.S. and Japan, and especially the role that Okinawan students will play in the internationalization of Japan.

The session concluded with a panel discussion, where Dr. Roberts and Executive Director of International Education Diana Sampson answered questions from local officials and parents about community colleges, and education in the United States.

Shoreline Community College is currently home to over 1,000 international students from some 45 countries.  Although the number of Japanese students studying in the United States has decreased in the past several years, many members of the local Okinawan community expressed optimism that Shoreline’s reputation for quality education will continue to attract top Japanese students.  The visit from the Shoreline delegation also included visits to local schools, and will conclude with a visit to Meiji University in Tokyo.

A Shoreline student translates powerful lessons from South Africa into traditional Chinese art

south africa

Shoreline Community College students studying in South Africa with Dr. Ernest Johnson (bottom row, second from left) during the summer of 2015.

This past summer, Shoreline professor Dr. Ernest Johnson took a group of students to South Africa for four weeks as part of a study abroad program designed to examine the social and cultural history of South Africa and the current efforts to create a democratic, multicultural nation. One student, Xiaoxue (Amy) Hu, a native of China, was inspired to channel her takeaway from the experience into art.   

“Being a Han Chinese and growing up in China,” Hu explained, “I had almost never heard people talking about the term ‘apartheid.’ Before I went on this trip to South Africa, I had a fairly shallow understanding about what apartheid meant and how that would influence millions of people’s lives.”

Apartheid was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation by the governing party, the National Party, from 1948-94. Students learned that during the apartheid era, South Africa divided its population into just four categories: Black, White, Colored and Asian. In addition, Black South African languages lacked recognition during this period.

The study abroad experience included numerous visits to sites of cultural significance relating to apartheid, including homestays inside “Black” townships, a visit to Robben Island, the prison where Mandela was detained, and a tour of the Steve Biko Foundation, a community development organization inspired by and named after the late anti-apartheid activist.    

“After spending a whole day in the Steve Biko Foundation and getting to know who Steve Biko is a little bit more,” said Hu, “I decided to write down how I felt and what I have learned. However, I failed. I could not find the most accurate words to express my feelings and thoughts.”

So Hu decided to employ her skills in traditional Chinese paper-cutting, which she refers to as “the most special way for me,” to convey the significance of what she’d learned. What resulted is the creation below titled “The Calling.”

"The Calling," a traditional Chinese paper cutting by Xiaoxue (Amy) Hu.

“The Calling,” a traditional Chinese paper cutting by Xiaoxue (Amy) Hu.

According to Hu, she used a lamb, or “yang” in Mandarin, as the centerpiece of her art because “they are the symbols of kindness, gentleness, fortune and peace” in Chinese culture.

“For me,” she said, “they also represent self control, integrity and love. This is how I felt about Steve Biko’s effect on younger generations who are still fighting for racial equality.

I was particularly moved by his slogan ‘Black is Beautiful.’ Accept yourself as who you are. Love yourself as who you are. Be proud of your identity. Steve Biko and many other anti-apartheid activists sacrificed their lives to fight for equal rights for Black South Africans. The most significant point I get from their stories is how deeply they love their identities and their fellow people who deserve to be treated with integrity and respect.

The lamb doesn’t specifically represent Steve Biko or any other activist, instead it expresses the spirit and beliefs that they were fighting for. Moreover, I have found that many of the anti-apartheid activists were influenced by Christianity. From my point of view, the religion probably served as an important power for them. Therefore, the cross on the chest of the lamb is a symbol of their religion.”

But as the students learned, though progress has been made the effects of apartheid still linger. Hu conveys this through the flowers at the lamb’s feet. “Some of them are still trying to entangle the lamb,” said Hu. “However, they won’t win. The lamb is looking upon the sky and her head will never be lowered by apartheid.”

During the study abroad experience, Shoreline students had many opportunities to interact with South Africans of different races, religions, ethnicities and classes including attending lectures by community leaders and visiting high school and elementary school classes.

The immersiveness of the experience is intended to help students broaden their understanding of today’s global community and their own place in the world. Through her art, Hu did just that.

Shoreline’s quarter-long study abroad destinations include Florence, London, Tokyo, Australia & New Zealand and Barcelona. During summer quarter, unique destinations have included Honduras, Thailand, Greece & Turkey, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Bolivia, England, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and China. For more information about Shoreline’s study abroad program, click here.

Shoreline’s President Roberts Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Delegates from China’s Hainan Open University

President Cheryl Roberts shakes hands with Vice President of Hainan Open University, Mr. Yuehua Xie, after signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the two schools.

President Cheryl Roberts shakes hands with Vice President of Hainan Open University, Mr. Yuehua Xie, after signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the two schools.

Four delegates from China’s Hainan Open University visited Shoreline’s campus Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two colleges. President Cheryl Roberts signed for Shoreline with Yuehua Xie, Vice President of Hainan Open University, signing for Hainan.

The MOU establishes a partnership between the two institutions that will result in cooperation in “academic and non-academic exchange, short-term technical and professional training and other international education programs.”

The document states that, “depending on their level of English proficiency, students (from Hainan University) will have the option of enrolling in a 1+1 or 1+2 joint cooperation program” with Shoreline.

Participating students can complete their first year of academic coursework at Hainan Open University with a focus on English and general education. They can then transfer to Shoreline to complete intensive English, general education core and distribution and academic major requirements.

Each student’s level of English proficiency will determine whether they study at Shoreline for one year or two. At the completion of their studies at Shoreline, students will have the option to either transfer back to Hainan Open University with an Associate of Arts degree or apply for transfer to a U.S. university to pursue an undergraduate degree.

President Cheryl Roberts (center) and members of the delegations from Shoreline and Hainan Open University.

President Cheryl Roberts (center left) and members of the delegations from Shoreline and Hainan Open University.

Bob Francis, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs for Shoreline, opened the signing ceremony by remarking that the two schools may exist in different cultures but that their goal and mission of helping their students achieve their dreams are the same.

President Roberts said that this new partnership with Hainan will benefit students of both institutions.

“Shoreline Community College recognizes the importance of preparing all of our students for success in an increasingly globalized world,” Roberts said. “One of the ways we do this is by creating an international experience right here on our campus. This understanding and exchange with our esteemed colleagues at Hainan Open University aligns with the college’s vision of being a world-class leader in student success and community engagement.”

During the visit, Shoreline’s Ann Garnsey-Harter, Executive Director of the Virtual Campus, eLearning & Instructional Technology, presented on Shoreline’s online learning program including several of the college’s fully online degree-granting programs that are available to students from Hainan.

Cathy Otto, Dean of Health Occupations, Physical Education and Business, also presented on the various transfer degrees international students may want to study here, including business and entrepreneurship.

Hainan Open University is located along the coast of the South China Sea on Hainan Island of Haikou, the capital city of Hainan Province. Along with Vice President Yuehua Xie, the Hainan delegation included Shiqi Shang, Dean of Enrollment; Changqing Deng, Deputy Director of Hainan Provincial Bureau of Education, and Qian Ma, Vice Dean of Continuing Education.

U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Blake Visits Shoreline, Greets New Student Families



From left to right: Student Body President, Ashley Cowan; Executive Director of International Education, Diana Sampson; Shoreline Community College President, Cheryl Roberts; SCC Board of Trustees Vice Chair, Catherine D’Ambrosio; U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, Robert Blake; SCC Board of Trustees Chair, Tom Lux; and Director of International Admissions and Student Services, Samira Pardanani.

Indonesian students in attendance at Shoreline’s international student orientation for spring quarter got a surprise Mon., March 23 when U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Blake made an appearance at the college.

Ambassador Blake stopped by Shoreline as part of an outreach tour and spent over an hour meeting with Indonesian students and their families, as well as with Shoreline President Cheryl Roberts and members of the Board of Trustees.

Ambassador Blake praised Shoreline’s reputation within Indonesia and revealed that his visit to the campus came recommended by his staffers, who noted Shoreline’s significant population of students from the island nation.

The Ambassador also revealed that community colleges hold a special place in his heart. His wife came to the United States from Bulgaria at the age of 18 and attended community college in New York before transferring to Brown University.


U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Blake takes a group selfie with Indonesian students at a welcome reception.

“I firmly believe her experience in community college gave her the confident start she needed to get her where she is today,” Ambassador Blake said. “The role community colleges play in student success and learning simply cannot be overstated.”

“It’s little known,” he continued, “but students stand a better chance of getting into their dream college if they transfer in from a community college with a great reputation such as Shoreline, than if they apply straight out.”

President Roberts noted the historical ties Shoreline has with recruiting students from Indonesia, and said “We couldn’t be more honored that Ambassador Blake chose to visit with us today. It’s a reflection on our commitment to fostering rich relationships with our Indonesian students and their families.”

After opening remarks by Diana Sampson, Executive Director of International Education, and brief addresses by President Roberts and Ambassador Blake, current Shoreline students from Indonesia sang the Indonesian national anthem, “Indonesia Raya.”


U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Blake poses with new students from Indonesia and their families.

Around 8,000 students from Indonesia attend college in the U.S., and of those about 2,500 attend community colleges. Shoreline currently enrolls about 130 students from Indonesia.

Asia trip strengthens relationships, partnerships

Qingdao photo

Shoreline Community College Executive Director of International Education Diana Sampson, President Cheryl Roberts and official from Qingdao University (from left) meet at Qingdao University, Qingdao, China, in December, 2014. Photo gallery

While leadership may have changed this past summer at Shoreline Community College, the commitment to international education is as strong as ever.

In December, college President Cheryl Roberts, International Education Executive Director Diana Sampson and Associate Director of Outreach Bo Fu visited China, Cambodia and Indonesia.

“We fully accomplished our mission to strengthen Shoreline’s relationships and cooperation with international partners and laid a foundation for future global engagement and exchange,” Sampson said. “The trip was very successful.”

Shoreline is ranked in the top 20 of colleges and universities across the U.S. welcoming students from around the globe. Shoreline now has more than 1,000 students from 34 countries attending the college. Bringing international students to the campus is part of the college’s overall efforts to help all students be successful in an increasingly globalized world.

Washington is one of the most trade-dependent states in the country with more than two-thirds of all jobs impacted by international trade, Roberts noted.

“This was a terrific trip,” said Roberts, who came to Shoreline in August, 2014 after seven years as president at Chemeketa Community College, in Salem, Ore. She has previously held positions at South Seattle College, the University of Washington and other colleges. “I was able to see and participate in this important global outreach effort. International education is important to all our students and the communities we serve.”

Some of the December trip highlights include:


Dec. 9 – Meeting with Zong Wa, Deputy Secretary General of China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) and Li Yang, Director of CEAIE, which is directly under the Ministry of Education in China.  Zong Wa has been actively helping to promote Shoreline in China, including assistance with the Chinese government grant Shoreline has received for automotive technician training.

Dec. 10 – Visited Beijing Limai International School. Limai is one of Shoreline’s partner high schools in China. The Shoreline group met with Principal Liu and other school officials, faculty members and students. Roberts and Sampson spoke to the students at an assembly. A group of students from Limai is expected at Shoreline this month.

Dec. 11-12 – Visited Qingdao University. Qingdao University is one of Shoreline’s main university partners.  Over the past two years, they have sent more than 25 students to Shoreline and continue to discuss opportunities for more student and faculty exchange.  The meeting included Vice President Shao Fengjing, Dean Jin Kaixian, Assistant President Zhou Xiaoli and other university officials. Shoreline will continue to work with Qingdao University to strengthen and expand the cooperation between the two institutions.

Dec. 13 – Visited Shanghai Qiyi High School Affiliated to Tongji University. The meeting included Principal Zhou Jun and Ms. Daili from Shanghai Municipal Education Bureau. The meeting was very productive and will strengthen Shoreline’s presence in Shanghai.


Dec. 15 – Visited BELTEI University to follow up on an earlier memorandum of understanding signed last year. Shoreline is the only U.S. higher education institution to partner with this university.   The meetings included President Ly, Vice President Ly other university officials.   BELTEI would like to establish scholarships for Cambodian students to study at Shoreline and also develop short-term study abroad programs for Shoreline students to travel to Cambodia and learn about Cambodia history, life and culture.

Dec. 16 -17 – Visited the University of Cambodia; met with University of Cambodia officials and American faculty members who were teaching at the university.  The meetings included students attending the University. Also visited Northbridge International School, a private international school in Cambodia.   Shoreline officials met with the Vice Principal and Counselor John Nash and toured of the school and met teachers and students in classrooms.  Northbridge is known as one of the most progressive high schools in Phnom Penh and will be a valuable partner. Next was a visit to Keystone Language School with owner and agent, Chenng How Pay. Pay is primary contact in Cambodia for Shoreline. And the visit strengthened already strong partners and networks in Cambodia.


Dec. 18 – Shoreline met with key partners, including Marta Legowo from Interlink; Evi Sitorus from Syscom; Vonny Agustine from Sun Education Group, and Djohan Fadjar from PIL Overseas Education Consultants.  Shoreline officials presented a seminar with several parents and students.

Dec. 19 – Visited Bakrie University in Jakarta, one of the fastest growing universities in Indonesia and an institution that Roberts had an existing connection to.  Meetings included Rector Sofia Alisjahbana and Vice Rector Dr. Darminto, as well as deans and faculty from Bakrie University to discuss potential areas of cooperation. Included was a tour of the Department of Communications and Media and meetings with department faculty to discuss possible collaborations with film program.

Dec. 20 – At the invitation of parents met by Roberts during fall quarter, met with the parents of current international students.