As people, information, goods and services increasingly flow within and across national and regional boundaries, the two programs of the Department of International & Transcultural Studies — International & Comparative Education and Anthropology — explore individual and institutional identities reflecting diverse cultural values, globalization and education in developing countries. Among the department’s accomplishments this past year:

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Lambros Comitas Scholarship
Anthropologist Lambros Comitas helped develop the concept of occupational multiplicity, providing insights for government programs and international aid aimed at improving people's economic circumstances. Improve the economic circumstances of TC students by supporting the International & Transcultural Studies scholarship that reflects your interests!

International & Comparative Education Program

Carol Benson, Associate Professor, has been active in signing research collaboration agreements to examine language issues in education with partners in Cambodia and the Marshall Islands. A recent publication includes a commissioned background paper for the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report 2016 entitled “Addressing Language of Instruction Issues in Education: Recommendations for Documenting Progress.”

Regina Cortina became Vice President of the Comparative and International Education Society.

EDUCATION UNINTERRUPTED TC faculty members Mary Mendenhall and Garnett Russell study refugee education policies and practices in urban centers as more refugees move away from camp settings. (Photo: Dominique Spencer, M.A. Candidate)
EDUCATION UNINTERRUPTED TC faculty members Mary Mendenhall and Garnett Russell study refugee education policies and practices in urban centers as more refugees move away from camp settings. (Photo: Dominique Spencer, M.A. Candidate)

Mary Mendenhall and Susan Garnett Russell received a $193,295 research award from the U.S. State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration for their study, “Global, National and Local Intersections: Educational Policies and Schooling Practices for Urban Refugees.” The study entails a global survey of 16 countries and a comparative case study of Beirut, Nairobi and Quito. Mendenhall also won the 2016-17 IDEO Amplify Challenge Award ($170,382), plus additional in-kind design support ($150,000) for a new Teachers for Teachers initiative in the Kakuma refugee camp that entails teacher training, peer coaching and mobile mentoring of refugee teachers. Learn more about both projects.

Oren Pizmony-Levy, in collaboration with Nancy Green Saraisky, published “Who Opts Out and Why?” the first national independent survey of the movement by American parents and students to opt out of taking standardized tests. The survey reveals that opt-out supporters oppose the use of test scores to evaluate teachers and believe that high-stakes tests force teachers to “teach to the test” rather than employ strategies that promote deeper learning. It also identified concern among supporters about the growing role of corporations and privatization of schools.


[Also read: What's Driving the Opt-Out Movement? The belief that high-stakes testing promotes rote learning and is unfair to teachers, a TC survey finds]

Gita Steiner-Khamsi received a $1,543,494 grant from the Asian Development Bank (administered by two centers at Teachers College: the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools & Teaching, and the International Center for Restructuring Education, Schools & Teaching) for a four-year study, “Strengthening Education System Sector Development. Steiner-Khamsi also co-edited World Yearbook of Education 2016: The Global Education Industry (Routledge).

Felisa Tibbitts’ publications included “Women’s Human Rights Education Trainers in Turkey: Situated Empowerment for Social Change,” in the Journal of Peace Education, and the chapter “Building a Human Rights Education Movement in the United States,” in S. Katz and A. Spero (Eds.), Bringing Human Rights Education to U.S. Classrooms (Palgrave Macmillan). Tibbitts, who concluded her tenure as co-chair of the Citizenship and Democratic Education SIG of the Comparative and International Education Society, developed a curriculum development resource on education for democratic citizenship and human rights for UNESCO.

Anthropology & Education

The Programs in Anthropology welcomed Nicholas Limerick, Assistant Professor of Anthropology & Education, to the faculty. Limerick’s work focuses on linguistic anthropology of education, sociopolitical movements and state relations, indigenous language and culture revitalization, multilingualism, and multicultural citizenship.

Stanton Wortham joined the Programs in Anthropology as a Visiting Professor. Wortham is the Judy & Howard Berkowitz Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Graduate School of Education of the University of Pennsylvania. He has published extensively on the linguistic anthropology of education, discourse analysis, identity and narrative self-construction.

Alumna Gabrielle Oliveira (Ph.D. ’15) was named a finalist for the Outstanding Dissertation Award for her dissertation, “Transnational Care Constellations: Mexican Immigrant Mothers and their Children in Mexico and in New York City.”

Among students in the Programs in Anthropology, Amelia Herbert was awarded the Ford Foundation Fellowship; Shana Colburn received the V.K. Wellington Koo Fellowship; Sarah Brennan was awarded the Pre-Dissertation Research Fellowship; and Andrew Wortham and Michelle Zhang received FLAS Fellowships.