CIE doctoral student Tashi Zangmo, who comes from Bhutan, is a recipient of a 2006 Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund grant which will finance a year of her studies. Tashi is one of only nine recipients selected from a large pool of applicants. In May Tashi will attend a number of events to be held in their honor in Washington DC, where she will be hosted by a World Bank family. Tashi's research interests focus on the application of the philosophy of Gross National Happiness to education in Bhutan.
The Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund was established in 1981 to honor the late Margaret McNamara and her commitment to the well-being of women and children in developing countries. The purpose of the grant is to support the education of women from developing countries who are committed to improving the lives of women and children in their home countries. The award is administered by Family Network of the World Bank group.
In mid-March, a small group of students and faculty represented CIE at the annual CIES conference in Honolulu. the conference marked the 50th anniversary of CIES with a variety of appropriate celebrations and remembrance of key figures from the history of the organization.
CIE in Amherst was represented by DRE, Paul Frisoli, Ash Hartwell, Frank McNerney, Jacqi Mosselson, Peter Tamas, and Xijie Zhou all of whom were on the program. CIE was also represented by a group of graduates including Flavia Ramos, Steve Anzalone(below left) . Several CIE folks got together with Ann Hartman (below right) who now lives in Honolulu and works at the East-West Center.
CIES attendees are practitioners and scholars, and thus we were able to discuss our recent research with scholars of international education from around the world and with representatives of IRC, World Bank, Unesco, AED among many others. It was a productive, if rainy, week in Hawaii.We look forward to having a larger contingent next year in Baltimore!
At a Tuesday meeting in November, CIE members took time out to honor BGW for her extraordinary service to CIE over the past twenty years. True to form, no such event could be entirely serious, so CIE gave itself the authority to award Barbara an Honorary Doctorate of Numbers, Nikes and Baking Soda. The degree award ceremony was, appropriately, interrupted three or four times by students rushing in to ask for help in solving problems like getting assistance in attaching two pages of a document together! BGW felt right at home with the interruptions and at first took them seriously, trying to help the student!. Finally, the citation, which was serious (see below) was read and BGW was hooded. The event ended with a cake, for once NOT made by BGW, and appropriate celebration.
Ash Hartwell Re-defends His Dissertation After 34 Years.
CIE celebrated Ash Hartwell’s 65th birthday with a review of his credentials for teaching a new course in Games and Simulations next semester. BGW unearthed Ash’s file from the early 1970s which provide a wealth of material for this event. [Note: Ash graduated in 1972 and went off to work in Africa and elsewhere in education policy for 30 years before returning to CIE three years ago as a lecturer]
The review began with a reading Ash had written from Kampala in 1973 about his success in using a simulation with Education officials. It then proceeded to look at his comprehensive exams and the questions he had been asked to answer in writing. Finally, his dissertation was reviewed with a surprise outcome – the chair’s signature was discovered to be suspect.
The only option then was to have Ash re-defend his dissertation 34 years after his first defense. Two of his original committee members (David’s Schimmel and Evans) were available for the redefense. George Urch and Bob Sinclair although around weren’t able to attend. Ash was called to the front of the Tuesday meeting and the redefense proceeded with a series of mock questions about his dissertation (which was about the use of simulations in education!). The questions were somewhat unusual and Ash struggled to make sense of them, but finally by a vote of all those present, he was deemed to have passed his redefense and his degree was returned to him.
The event ended with a BGW cake and general good cheer. Beware previous students, we never throw out any files!
Why is Adult Literacy Important?
CIE welcomed back John Comings (Ed.D. 1979) who spoke to CIE members at the Tuesday Center meeting about the value of adult literacy in economic and social development. John, who has spent 20 years working around the world in the field of adult literacy, is currently the director of the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL), and is a member of the Faculty of Harvard Graduate School of Education. His recent work at NCSALL has included developing a policy paper entitled Establishing an Evidence-based Adult Education System a monograph that seeks to establish a way for researchers to choose programs that offer an opportunity to employ the most appropriate research method for identifying and evaluating effective interventions.
Before joining NCSALL, he spent over a decade as vice president of World Education Inc in Boston. John has also served as the director of the State Literacy Resource Center in Massachusetts. In addition to the United States, this CIE alum has worked in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean.
In his presentation, John highlighted the instrumental role adult literacy programs play in improving the economic status, political participation, and family health of learners. Particularly among women, even small gains in literacy can have profound long-term effects on the success of their children and their children’s children. Literacy programs can “change the social trajectory” not just of one person, but also of that person’s family over generations. As such, participation in a literacy program can be viewed much more broadly than simply personal investment.
John also drew on research findings and his personal experience to describe some key components of successful adult literacy programs. He emphasized the importance of quality contextualized instructional materials that have ideally been developed through a process of formative evaluation and improvement. He also touched on the important roles teacher selection and supervision play in literacy programs. John ended his presentation by emphasizing the need to include what he called “supports to student persistence.” Unlike children under parental guidance, adults must make a conscious and often difficult choice to regularly attend an extended literacy program. The most effective supports to persistence, according to John, are family, teachers, and most importantly, classroom peers viewing themselves as members of a community of practice.
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