Report on the 2009 Midwest CIES Conference
Current Research and Activism in Comparative and International Education:
Advancing the Legacy of Gerald H. Read
October 23-24, 2009 at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio
Submitted by Vilma Seeberg
The conference theme focused on activism and research and the place for both within the Society. Leading off on that theme, CIES President Gita Steiner-Khamsi’s keynote presentation “Compare to Survive: On Comparison as a Policy Tool in an Era of Globalization” challenged us to understand the use of comparative data in current policy formation.The plenary panel on Gerald H. Read of KSU, the founding and early history of CIES and its archival home at Kent State (which is celebrating its Centennial Anniversary this year), included CIES Past Presidents Don Adams and Bob Lawson, as well as Ken Cushner and Cara Gilgenbach of KSU. The conference ended with a plenary panel of Amita Chudgar and Vilma Seeberg on trends and issues within CIES today and in the future. This bookend conference format gave newer researchers a meaningful context for thinking about their contribution to the field. Over 65 participants and 40 presenters came from 14 different academic institutions representing 6 States, 2 identified by commercial institution, and 2 by country affiliation. KSU provided 25 volunteer students, 8 of whom served on the program committee, and the others served as hosts, and in logistical support such as publications, communications and special touches (posters, decorations, door prizes) guided by the CIIE. Each panel was provided with a chair and a discussant.Presenters: Kent State University – 5, Eastern Michigan U – 9, Loyola U Chicago- 5, Michigan State U – 3, U of Michigan – 2, Ohio State U – 2, Indiana U Bloomington – 2, Columbia Teachers College -2, U of Pittsburgh – 1, U of Akron – 1, U of Cincinnati – 1, U of Dayton – 1, Niagara U – 1, Cleveland State U – 1, Hiram College – 1, and Walmart of MI – 1, Blue Cross of MI – 2, Columbia – 1, Venezuela – 1., etc)!
Evaluation of the CIES Midwest Conference
The conference participants, overwhelmingly graduate students, noted on evaluation forms that the conference met their expectations, was well organized, but some were concerned about the cost of the conference ($40/student plus accommodation). Generally the students’ evaluations “strongly agreed” with statements on “learned something new,” “discussions with conference speakers and participants,” “number of sessions,””registration process,” and “felt welcomed by the host university. “ Comments included that one participant wished that there had been more in attendance, one felt papers should have been reviewed with higher standards, others commented on how well run the conference organization was.
Comment by the Co-chairs of the Conference, Linda Robertson and Vilma Seeberg
The key note by Gita Steiner Khamsi spoke to the political implications of comparative international studies, a very current issue in the state of Ohio. Such serious interpretation of data provided by TIMMS, PISA and PIRLS, etc., needs to be much more accessible to the public and to State Departments of Education in the U.S.
I took great pleasure in watching new scholars in comparative and international education interact with seasoned veterans. We heard presentations on basic scholarship, policy-related problems, and the eternal themes how education can contribute to a more equitable and peaceful future. There were presentations based on macro-quantitative data and rich case studies. Every major region of the world was represented in the papers. The conference papers demonstrated what Amita Chudgar and I summarized as the current and emerging trends in the comparative international scholarship in CIES. Clearly the conference was an enriching experience for me, particularly because the Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education, under Linda F. Robertson’s steady guidance took on the hard work of organizing what turned out to be a flawless, enjoyable conference. – Vilma Seeberg
I appreciated that the visit to the Kent State Library archives provided a meaningful opportunity to visit the archives of the Comparative and International Education Society’s and the World Council of Comparative Education Societies’ organizational record. In this era of rapid globalization, it was beneficial to those in attendance to learn about the early history of the organization—developing out of the Cold War by forward thinking academics. This historical session caused us to be reflective about the impact that the current generation will have on the future.
It was a pleasure and with pride that the Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education (CIIE) was able to reestablish close ties with CIES (Gerald would be proud), and that CIIE has new exposure among colleagues in the Midwest.
Thank you for the privilege of being part of the planning team. - Linda F. Robertson, Director, Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education, College and Graduate School of Education, Health, and Human Services.
This regional conference was partially supported by the Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education.
Steven J. Klees
Donna C. Tonini
Mariella I. Arredondo
Mary Mendenhall and Juleen Morford
William C. Brehm, and
OSI 2010 Travel Grant Recipient:
Dr. Subba Rao Ilapavuluri
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