Three doctoral students from Georgia studying at UMass Amherst School of Education

Three students from the Republic of Georgia have begun their doctoral studies in Educational Policy & Leadership with specializations in International Education.  The students are: Lasha Kokilashvili, Tamara Lomiashvili and Natia Mzhavanadze.

They are sponsored by The Open Society Scholarship Programs Doctoral Fellows Program.  The Program is designed to provide the highest research and teaching qualification to individuals positioned to play an active role in the revitalization and reform of social sciences and humanities scholarship in their home countries.  The doctoral programs are designed on a flexible formatthat enables Fellows to study and conduct research both in the US and in Georgia, thereby maintaining professional engagement with their home institutions while completing the degree.

Educational Policy, Research & Administration Department Chair, professor Gretchen Rossman, who traveled to Georgia and Kyrgyzstan last February to conduct final selection interviews, noted that “all the applicants we interviewed in Georgia are dedicated, energetic, and creative educators who seek to make change in the education system in Georgia.  We are very pleased to have Lasha, Tamara, and Natia with us.”  At a recent reception for the College of Education’s Center for International Education, the Fellows met professor Alice Harris of the Linguistics Department who studies the Georgian language, and her colleague, Mariam Tsiskarishvili, who is a visiting scholar from Georgia with the Linguistics Department this year. 

Lasha“I am primarily interested in being exposed to the practices that are directly related to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) used in on-line, distance an immersive education, teacher training; and how emerging technologies can be used to positively influence education issues such as student achievement and teacher professional development; and how to bridge the gap between the attitudes of teachers and students towards technology.  I am interested in research that investigate teachers’ non-formal learning experiences, their nature, how this experiences affect teacher’s professional practices; how the knowledge about non-formal learning measures can be put in practice with policy recommendations on design and implementation of effective programs.” - Lasha

Tamara“For the past two years I have been working for the USAID funded Education Management Project. The mission of the project was to enhance educational leadership capacities in Georgia. During my doctoral degree I am going to conduct study (or series of studies) that will contribute to this specific filed in Georgia; namely, my research will be oriented on identifying those key principal leadership behaviors that directly or indirectly lead to higher student success. This study can serve as an eye opener for principals themselves to realize how important their everyday performance is for students achievements; as an additional meaningful information for decision-makers (when they decide on aspiring principals skills and qualifications); and as an orienteer for higher education principal preparation programs when planning and developing essential professional skills of their students.”– Tamara

Natia“I am lucky to be in the vibrant academic setting of CIE, supported again by the Open Society Foundations to pursue my doctoral studies in the field of international education together with two other Georgian colleagues. I strongly hope that the time I spend here will give me the knowledge and qualifications essential to pursue my research interests in post-soviet countries, trying to analyze and understand the educational policies and contribute to improving the body of knowledge about this less-studied but immensely interesting and unique part of the world. I look forward to rewarding, challenging and academically productive years, which seems to be accompanied by caring, friendly and highly professional community of educators, the unique feature of CIE I’m starting to enjoy immensely.” - Natia


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