April 18-22, 2022 - Minneapolis

Steering Committee

Your CIES 2022 Steering Committee

Planning for CIES 2022 depends on a large team of people who generously provide advice, input and guidance on all aspects of the conference.  We draw from experts around the world, and in the case of this conference, a core group from the larger Minneapolis area, who we will depend on to help bring the city to the conference.  The CIES organizing team is grateful for the work of our Steering Committee members.  

Meet the committee:

Emily W. Anderson, PhD (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of International and Intercultural Education and affiliate faculty with the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at Florida International University. Dr. Anderson studies the cultural diffusion of gender in education policy discourses.  Her work is published widely in peer reviewed journals and juried collections including recent publications in Comparative Education Review and Gulf Education and Social Policy Review. She is a former Co-Chairperson of the Gender and Education Standing Committee of the Comparative and International Education Society, and a founding member of its Advisory Council. She is a member of REP.HER – a feminist consortia founded in 2020 – working to use resources differently to confront racialized and gender-based violence. Dr. Anderson lives and works in Miami, Florida, USA located on the traditional homeland of the Calusa and the Tequesta, and, today, the Miccosukee and the Seminole.

Peter Demerath is a Professor in the College of Education and Human Development, and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota.  His major research interests include the development of improvement culture in schools and other organizations; and student acquisition of psychological capital and other social and emotional learning factors.  He is the author of Producing success: The culture of personal advancement in an American high school, which was released in 2009 by the University of Chicago Press and is the Past President of the Council on Anthropology and Education, a section of the American Anthropological Association.  A former middle school social studies teacher, Peter now teaches courses in anthropology and education, school improvement, culture and leadership, and research methodology.

Sachi Edwards (she/her) is a Lecturer (tenure-track) in the Graduate School of International Peace Studies at Soka University in Tokyo, Japan. She has been a member of CIES for over ten years and is the co-founder and current co-chair of the Contemplative Inquiry and Holistic Education SIG. Her interests are at the intersection of internationalization/globalization, Christian supremacy and religious oppression, Indigenous knowledge systems and decoloniality, environmental and epistemic (in)justice, and contemplative and arts-based inquiry and practice. One of her current ongoing projects, for example, examines how globalized Christian supremacy manifests and is perpetuated by dominant approaches to higher education internationalization. With an MA in religion and a PhD in international education policy, she brings an interdisciplinary lens to her analysis. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors as much as possible. 

Halla B. Holmarsdottir is Professor at the Faculty of Education and International Studies, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway. Her research experience includes ethnographic fieldwork with children and young people, scientific coordination and collaboration in cross-national and interdisciplinary research teams, supervision of junior researchers, and co-editing and reviewing of scientific publications. Her research draws on interdisciplinary approaches and includes research on the role of technology in the ecosystems surrounding children, language issues, marginalization in education, social justice, gender, education and youth. This work has taken a central focus in looking at the way in which education and more specifically teacher education can contribute to providing competencies for democratic participation. She is currently the coordinator of a large-scale European Research project funded by Horizon 2020 (Grant Agreement no. 870548) entitled The Impact of Technological Transformations on the Digital Generation (DigiGen).

Christopher Johnstone is an Associate Professor of Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota. He also serves as Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Chris’ research focuses primarily on inclusive education and international higher education. He also has an interest in the intersection of inclusive development and education, evidenced by his 2020 book Considering Inclusive Development Across Global Education Contexts: How Critical and Progressive Movements can Inform Education. His current projects investigate the roles of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities in inclusive education policy development (India and Lesotho) and disability-inclusive higher education in Bhutan. Chris has contributed to or led projects supported by UNICEF, UN Population Fund, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and USAID. He currently lives in Minneapolis with his spouse Heather, children Acacia and Evan, and dog Pippa.

Peggy A. Kong is a clinical associate professor of education at Drexel University. Her research interests focus on family and school relationships in rural China and with immigrant families in the United States. She is the author of Parenting, education, and social mobility in China: Cultivating dragons and phoenixes, co-editor of Rural education in China’s social transition (with Emily Hannum and Gerard Postiglione), and author of numerous journal articles and chapters. She serves on the editorial board of Cogent EducationFrontiers in Education, and Chinese Education and Society. Currently, she serves on the CIES Publications committee and as vice-chair of the East Asia SIG. 

Vanessa R. Sperduti OCT, Ph.D. (she/her) completed her doctorate in Education at Western University in London, Canada. The university is situated on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak, and Attawandaron peoples, upon which she is grateful to work and to live. Sperduti’s work focuses broadly on international education, and specifically on better understanding host community perspectives through their engagement with service learning and experiential learning programs. 

Apart from her research and publication endeavors, she enjoys the collaboration and teamwork built through engagement in service activities. Her membership in the Comparative International Education Society (CIES) has included involvement as the former Editorial Assistant for its newsletter Perspectives. She has also been on the New Scholars Committee since 2016, holding the roles of Co-chair (2018-2021) and currently, as a member of the Review Subcommittee. She continues to teach as an elementary school teacher in Ontario.

Dr. Gilbert Valverde was appointed Interim Vice Provost of Global Strategy and Dean of International Education in January 2020 and accepted full appointment as Vice-Provost and Dean and the University’s Senior International Officer in April 2021. He previously was founding director of AEGIS (Albany Education Global InitiativeS), the global engagement center of the university’s School of Education. His research focusses on the cross-national study of curriculum governance policies: the architecture of policies in standards, testing, textbooks, and other areas that promote opportunities to learn – especially in Mathematics and Science. Dr. Valverde has secured more than 2 million US dollars in grants and contracts to pursue his research throughout the world, with special emphasis on Latin America. Dr. Valverde has been and continues to work as a senior advisor and policy analyst for NASA, the World Bank, the Interamerican Development Bank, the United States Agency for International Development, the United Nations Development Programme, and for universities, ministries of education, evaluation agencies, and think tanks around the globe.

Dr. Frances Vavrus is a Professor in the Program in Comparative and International Development Education and the Associate Chair of the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development at the University of Minnesota. She also serves on the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel. Her research explores how schools have served as sites for development interventions in sub-Saharan Africa with a particular focus on schooling for girls and teacher education. Her most recent books include Schooling as Uncertainty: An Ethnographic Memoir in Comparative Education (2021) and the co-edited volume Children and Youth as Subjects, Objects, Agents: Innovative Approaches Across Time and Space (2021).

Laura Wangsness Willemsen’s research, teaching and practice are aimed at ensuring schooling supports equity and wellbeing in both international and US contexts. She conducts ethnographic and critical qualitative research on education, teaching, equity, gender, and development. She has been engaged in teaching, research, and practice in Tanzanian schools intermittently over 25 years, and she is currently examining US teachers’ experiences during the global pandemic. Laura is Associate Professor in the Department of Doctoral Studies in Education at Concordia University, St. Paul, where she teaches courses on epistemologies, ethics, and research methods as well as leads the Ed.D. program’s dissertation related work.  

Alexander W. Wiseman is a Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy in the College of Education at Texas Tech University, USA. Dr. Wiseman holds a dual-degree PhD in Comparative & International Education and Educational Theory & Policy from Pennsylvania State University, a MA in International Comparative Education from Stanford University, a MA in Education from The University of Tulsa, and a BA in Letters from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Wiseman conducts comparative educational research on educational policy and practice using large-scale education datasets on math and science education, information and communication technology (ICT), teacher preparation, professional development and curriculum as well as school principal’s instructional leadership activity. He is the author of many research-to-practice articles and books, and serves as editor of the Annual Review of Comparative and International Education, senior editor of the online journal, FIRE: Forum for International Research in Education, and as series editor for the International Perspectives on Education and Society volume series (Emerald Publishing).