November 2009

Call for papers for PBD 24 anual conference. ” Phi Beta Delta, founded at California State University, Long Beach in 1986, was established as an organization in 1987 with 38 chartered chapters, many of which had existed for a considerable time previously at the local level.  It is the first honor society dedicated to recognizing scholarly achievement in international education. As of December of 2007, 168 chapters have been chartered” (PBD website).  Information on registration for the conference and on submission of papers here
Thanks to Mousumi Mukherjee for the link
From PBD website:
Message from President-Elect Edward K. Khiwa
2010 Phi Beta Delta Annual Conference
“Higher Education, Globalization, and Internationalization:
Collaborating in Economically Challenging Times”


Greetings, Phi Beta Delta Colleagues and welcome back to the new academic year! On behalf of Langston University’s Epsilon Epsilon chapter, the Pennsylvania Phi Beta Delta members, the Phi Beta Delta International President, Board of Directors, and the National Organizing Committee, I would like to invite you to attend the 24th Annual Conference: Higher Education, Globalization, and Internationalization: Collaborating in Economically Challenging Times, which will take place April 8th and 9th, 2010, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (Center City location), in Philadelphia, PA. To get the special rate, mention the name of Phi Beta Delta when making reservations.  We also invite colleagues to prepare abstracts for consideration on one of our panels.  Information for abstract submission can be found here:



The latest OECD report on Latin America, Latin American Economic Outlook 2009, points out something very obvious for any observer of the region: the need for greater public investment in health and education.  It is very difficult to assert the legitimacy of democracy and free markets on context of pervasive poverty. Especially if a state operating  as  a free market democracy does not seen to improve the quality of living of most of their population . The report focus on the fiscal policy of countries in the region. In other words, the economic benefits of growth, and tax revenues have not translated  in less inequality . This is not surprise, taxes  and fiscal policy is only a small part of the problem.

From OECD website:

Are Latin American governments maximising the potential of fiscal policy as a development tool? The 2009 edition of the annual OECD Latin American Economic Outlook analyses the progress governments in the region have achieved in the fiscal realm during the last decade.[…]

At present, surveys show, fewer than one in four Latin Americans believes that money from taxes is being well spent. With more than 200 million people – nearly 40 percent of the population – living in poverty, the region has the highest levels of inequality of any region in the world.  Stronger economic growth is likely to help raise fiscal revenues, but Latin American countries need to spend these revenues in a more effective and fairer manner, in order to reduce poverty and maintain citizens’ trust in democratic systems.

Link: Multimedia page

This is very interesting, the executive director of this new initiative for improving global educational assessments is one of the leading researchers on PISA, Barry McGaw.

Thanks to James Thayer for the link

From Cisco Website:

Three leading technology companies announced today a collaboration aimed at transforming global educational assessment and improving learning outcomes. At the Learning and Technology World Forum in London, Cisco, Intel and Microsoft unveiled plans to underwrite a multi-sector research project to develop new assessment approaches, methods and technologies for measuring the success of 21st-century teaching and learning in classrooms around the world. During the session, the three companies called upon educational leaders, governments and other corporations to join in the effort[…]

[…]The assessment research and development project spearheaded by Cisco, Intel and Microsoft has received the support of major international assessment organizations. Specifically, OECD and the International Association of the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) have expressed interest in using the evidence-based and verifiable output of the 21st-century skills assessment to inform the development of the next versions of PISA and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), their respective international benchmarks.

read full article here

A fascinating report to think on the possibilities of renewing traditional democratic practices through new technologies. As well as, to start to think  on the ways  of how information spreads (and evolves – i.e. gets distorted in the process).  The study itself was object of a politically motivate  controversy that serves as exemplar of the last point. The research was single out with displeasure by a prominent right wing politician and used as an example of the waste of  federal research grants given by the NSA. The series of events that followed shows how political motivate rhetoric attempts to disregards and distort, through propaganda, the information and  results  of valuable research endeavors (to read more about the controversy click  here).

From Congressional Management Foundation Website:

Online Town Hall Meetings: Exploring Democracy in the 21st Century is a report summarizing the findings and recommendations from an academic study of 21 online town hall meetings between Members of Congress and their constituents which were facilitated by the partners of the Connecting to Congress project. The report is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and contributions from Harvard’s Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

The report includes information and analysis on:

  • The impact participation in the meetings had on constituents’ views of their Members of Congress and on their participation in political activities, such as talking about politics and the Member and voting;
  • How to conduct effective online town hall meetings;
  • How the demographics of people attracted to the online town halls differed from those attracted by traditional means of political participation; and
  • Details of how we conducted our rigorous study.

    Tor read full report here

    The Institute of Higher Education policy released this month a new report by Clifford Adelman titled The Spaces Between Numbers: Getting International Data on Higher Education Straight (November 2009). In a recent post Kris Olds at the Global Higher Education Blog offers some comments on this and other recent reports on global higher education. As Olds points out, “the main target audience of this new report seems to be the OECD, though we (as users) of international higher ed data can all benefit from a good dig through the report. Adelman’s core objective is facilitating the creation of a new generation of indicators, indicators that are a lot more meaningful and policy-relevant than those that currently exist.”  Alderman is the author of a number of recent articles about the misleading use of quantitative data and research about higher education . Among those a very interesting article published at the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2006  the “Propaganda of Numbers” is worthwhile reading.

    From the IHEP website

    The research report, The Spaces Between Numbers: Getting International Data on Higher Education Straight, reveals that U.S. graduation rates remain comparable to those of other developed countries despite news stories about our nation losing its global competitiveness because of slipping college graduation rates. The only major difference—the data most commonly highlighted, but rarely understood—is the categorization of graduation rate data. The United States measures its attainment rates by “institution” while other developed nations measure their graduation rates by “system.”

    Read full report here


    The following article is very illustrative in light of the recent news  of the raises in tuition at California UCLA.   “Funding Public” by Jennifer Epstein presents the arguments discussed at the Association of Public Universities, as well as the proposal introduce in a paper by Mark G. Yudof, president of the University of California System, of creating a national strategy for higher education in the United States. Basically the discussion is on the possibility of a greater role of the federal government on funding public higher education, in light of the unwillingness or inability of states of financing public higher education institutions, and the federal government inaction. As Stanley Ikenberry point out the increasingly reduce state funding for public  higher education in the United States is a consistent trend of  more than three decades.  At a time in which there is an ever present discourse of a competitive and globalize knowledge economy United States is losing is hedge in a strategic sector for the future well being of its population.  All and all, as Ikenberry (2005) point out   “in the end, the issue is not just about the future of public higher education, but about what affordable education can provide.” (p.5)


    Ikenberry, Stanley. “Uncertain and Unplanned: The Future of Public Higher Education”. Policy Forum Vol. 17, No. 3, Institute of Government and Public Affairs,University of Illinois. Champaign: 2005

    From Inside of Higher Education:

    WASHINGTON — Recalibrating the puzzle pieces of support for public universities to include more financing from the federal government as state contributions wane might offer the best solutions for public universities’ economic woes, a panel of presidents concluded here Sunday.

    At “Financing Tomorrow’s Public Research Universities,” the opening session of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ (APLU) annual conference, four public university presidents — and one ex-president — came together to consider how to fund their institutions once the federal stimulus money runs out, the recession runs its course and the Obama administration’s efforts to expand access to higher education kick into high gear. (read full)

    The effects of the economic crisis and lengthily dry up of public funding for public higher education institutions are signaling a point of not return for forms of affordable access to quality university education in the United States. The drastic raise of tuition at UCLA, and the financial woes of higher education institution may become a national trend.

    From the Chronicle of Higher Education

    A University of California governing-board committee today approved a proposal that would increase undergraduate tuition by 32 percent over the next year, an unusually large jump that was met by student protests at campuses in Berkeley and Los Angeles.

    The tuition proposal, which is expected to receive final approval on Thursday by the system’s full Board of Regents, will help close a large budget gap, in part by raising undergraduate tuition at the system’s campuses by more than $2,500 by next fall. The committee’s approval came on the same day that California’s legislative analyst predicted the state would face a new $21-billion budget deficit, making it likely that struggling state colleges and universities would soon suffer additional cuts.

    Fourteen protesters were arrested at UCLA when they disrupted the meeting and refused to leave. Protesters then stopped the meeting several times, shouting “Whose university? Our university!” and chanting “We Shall Overcome.” Hundreds of students and staff members also gathered at Berkeley and UCLA to begin a three-day protest of the tuition increases and faculty and staff furloughs.

    University leaders have argued that the fee increases are necessary to compensate for severe cuts in state support. Mark G. Yudof, the system’s president, said three out of four students would be shielded from the effects of the tuition increase by additional financial aid.

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