Santa Fe College hosted a delegation of sixteen South American higher education administrators from September 26-October 7, 2016 as part of a six week Community College Administrator Program (CCAP) funded by the United States Department of State. The CCAP with South America was administered by Florida State University with Santa Fe College as the lead community college partner. The participants represented technical vocational colleges in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

Although the participants came from different countries, they all shared a common challenge: to produce the skilled labor force their countries need to promote economic growth. The South American participants engaged in a rich multilateral conversation with each other and American counterparts during this CCAP as they compared the strengths and weaknesses of their respective systems. The video below captures some of what these South American visitors experienced and learned.

View transcript

Department of StateProgram Overview

The Community College Administrator Program will be a six-week program of study for officials with higher education planning responsibilities and administrators from post-secondary vocational and technical institutions from Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru. Three or four individuals from each country will be selected to participate in the program. Conducted by the Florida State University and Santa Fe College, the exchange will consist of a one-week Executive Dialogue and a five-week Community College Seminar.

Executive Dialogue

The Executive Dialogue is designed to provide an overview of the U.S. community college system for officials tasked with the development of new and/or existing institutions focused on improved access to higher vocational education. These officials and institutional administrators will meet with legislative leaders and senior policy-makers of the Florida Community College System to provide a comprehensive understanding of the development, organization and administration of a U.S. community college system integrally linked to secondary education, higher education and the workforce training needs of business and industry.

Five-week Community College Seminar

The Seminar is designed to train 12 administrators from post-secondary vocational and technical institutions or officials with higher education planning responsibilities in key elements of community college leadership, to provide direct exposure to the day-to-day administrative responsibilities and challenges of a U.S. community college, and investigate specific community college academic and vocational programs relevant to the needs of participants' home countries and institutions.


As a result of participating in this program, participants will

  • Demonstrate enhanced ability to effectively address governance and policy questions integral to the establishment of a community college system relevant to home country contexts;
  • Contribute to the present and future demands for policy formulation, continuous planning, program management decision making and day-to-day administration of community colleges in participants' respective countries;
  • Explore aspects the U.S. higher education system and provide a more comprehensive understanding of the U.S. community college administration;
  • Articulate the unique and important opportunities created through merging academic, business and management skills through the community college system; and
  • Encourage on-going collaboration between Latin American and U.S. counterparts involved in community college administration.

Topics of Study

  • Governance
  • Finance
  • Student Affairs/Student Services
  • Program Assessment
  • Leadership
  • Technology
  • Workforce Development
  • Community Engagement
  • Private Sector Partnerships
  • Distance Learning


  • Classroom Instruction. 20 hours per week of intensive instruction by graduate faculty of the Florida State University College of Education, former officers of the State of Florida Community College System, and current Santa Fe College administrators.
  • Job Shadowing/Mentoring. One-on-one interaction with current community college administrators whose day-to-day responsibilities most closely match those of participants.
  • Site Visits. Targeted site visits to Florida community colleges to investigate academic/vocational programs or administrative practices of relevance to participants and their home institutions.


  • The program will fund the participation of 1-2 senior-level officials from each country to participate in the one-week Executive Dialogue. The Executive Dialogue will be the first week of the Community College Administrator Program. Interpretation services will be made available for the Executive Dialogue if needed.
  • The program will also fund the participation of 1-2 senior-level administrators from post-secondary vocational and technical institutions in Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru to participate in the one-week Executive Dialogue and the five-week Seminar.


  • Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.A.
  • Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A.

Tentative dates

  • The program is tentatively scheduled to take place from mid-October to late November, 2016. Final program dates will be determined in discussions with relevant officials of the participating countries and the US Department of State..

Voice Narrator:

Santa Fe College hosted a delegation of South American community college administrators from Ecuador, Brazil, Peru and Colombia as part of a Community College Administrator Program (CCAP) funded by the US Department of State.

The goal of the visit was to learn best practices in the U.S. Community college system.

Cynthia Regina Fischer:

My expectation about this visit was to learn more about the ways the community college, say, do business. So the way they have their governance, their financial area, the organization environment...

Dr. Ricardo Jose Silva:

We are currently in the process of redesigning technical education in Ecuador. So our expectation was to learn from the system of the US the best practices so that we could see what we could take and replicate in our country.

Dr. Sasser:

When did you advance at the highest level possible? Maybe in a class... maybe in a family...maybe in a community? You advanced when you were totally free to exercise all of your intelligence, all of your experience, without any inhibitions. Totally free.

Susana Perez Alegia:

What I find really interesting is that everybody in Santa Fe looks like they love what they do. They want to develop people. They understand that they don't just have students, they don't have people here learning things...they have here people who want to change their life.

Franklin Amador Hawkins:

And the feeling, the love, the passion...you see every day in every minute in everyone.

I was very most impressed with the student government. I don't see that anywhere else. They work as a real government. They have eh, branches, the executive branch, the legislative branch, the judicial, and the programming branch.

Cynthia Regina Fischer:

Our visit was really interesting and profitable in terms of learning, eh with all the aspects so the governing, financial, students, programs, cultural programs, academic programs.So these are the things that really taught us that we can be much more creative and we have many things to learn.

Dr. Ricardo Jose Silva:

You have here a shared governance that is actually an informal structure. But that informal structure has actually a lot of power in making decisions. So informal is something that is good for us because it is something that we can implement.

Franklin Amador Hawkins:

The policy of inclusion and diversity are very outstanding.

Susana Perez Alegia:

I'd like to bring my teachers here so they can see what I saw, so they can experience the Santa Fe culture and they say "yeah..you can send your teachers here". I love the way that Santa Fe believes in people's potential to do new things because they understand that it is all about passion for education.

Dr. Ricardo Jose Silva:

It's not just about the United States or the Florida education system. We've been learning about Brazil, Peru, Colombia. We've been learning even amongst our own country of Ecuador- what are the things that our colleagues are doing. But the ideal thing is to actually establish a follow up program, not just for our country of Ecuador but for the five countries that have been involved in this program.

(music and singing)

Dr. Sasser:

You build relationships by spending time together. I'm just honored that we were the common denominator. I'm honored that the college was the place that you decided to meet because what we've learned from you is just immeasurable.


U.S. flag and U.S. Department of State logo

The Community College Administrator Program (CCAP) is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by Florida State University and Santa Fe College.