International

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International Initiatives

The study of comparative higher education is a logical extension of the multi-disciplinary strengths of the Institute's graduate programs. IHE seeks to ensure that the next generation of scholars, leaders, and policymakers understand the importance of thinking internationally, and have a grasp of the social, cultural, political, and governance issues facing higher education worldwide. 

  • The Institute is a partner in the new Higher Education Initiative for Southeastern Europe (HEISEE). This new regional initiative will operate as an independent entity serving the countries comprising its membership and offering opportunities for networking for regional consultations, communications, conferences and meetings. The IHE will pursue the overarching goal of enhancing postsecondary education throughout the region
  • In 2014 the curriculum for an advanced master’s degree program in management in higher education was developed within the HEISEE project with the assistance from IHE faculty. The program and modules were presented during a workshop at the University of Rijeka on February 10-13, 2015. The workshop was attended by several IHE faculty, fellows, and one PhD student as well as participants representing all Croatian universities – rectors, vice-rectors, deans as well as managers and administrative staff. The accreditation of the program as a life-long learning program is in process at the University of Rijeka. Members of the team representing IHE:Timothy Reese Cain, Associate Professor; Michael K. McLendon, Professor, Southern Methodist University and IHE Fellow; Edward G. Simpson, Jr, IHE Fellow; and Lucia Brajković, PhD doctoral candidate.
  • The IHE executive doctorate in higher education, based in Atlanta, has an international perspective that is embedded in the courses and activities. The program will also include sessions abroad each summer: one in Europe with CHEPS, the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies at the University of Twente; and during the second year the group travels to China, working with our partners at Peking University and Beijing Normal University.
  • The Institute has a relationship with the Higher Education European Masters (HEEM) program based at the University of Oslo. Faculty exchanges between the IHE and University of Oslo have been successful with visiting faculty teaching classes on comparative higher education and completing research.
  • Over the past several years, the Institute has hosted visiting scholars from around the world — including China, South Korea, West Indies, Turkey, and Finland — and continued its training work, including in Croatia with an annual workshop on higher education management funded by the U.S. Department of State.

Visiting Scholars

Recently, IHE welcomed visiting faculty and international scholars from Turkey and China.

The Institute of Higher Education welcomed back alumna Haixia Xu as a visiting scholar for spring semester 2017. Xu, who earned her Ph.D. from IHE in 2009, is now a Research Fellow at the National Center for Education Development Research of the Chinese Ministry of Education. NCEDR is charged with providing consultancy to the leadership of the ministry and its various departments on macro-level education policies in China. 

Xu returned to IHE on a government grant. Over the spring semester 2017, she completed an assigned study on the funding for humanities and social sciences in American higher education, continued working on a study on MOOCs—of which she is principle investigator—and explored critical issues in higher education in both China and the United States.

In addition, she helped plan the itinerary for the week-long visit to China by students in IHE’s executive Ed.D. program in higher education administration. “It is an honor to be part of the work in IHE,” said Xu, who traveled to Atlanta twice to help prepare Ed.D. students for the trip. “I wanted to make sure they would be well-received on their visit.” 

Xu he has dedicated time to the study of international higher education, especially trends and strategies of higher education in major countries. She has published, presented and consulted on open and distance education in China and was invited to serve on a national panel on China’s Open University Initiative, contributing to the launch of the first six open universities in China.

In the field of lifelong learning, Xu was a core member of a national project on establishing a learning society in China, and she was coordinator of Research Network 4 (National Strategies for Lifelong Learning) of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Education and Research Hub for Lifelong Learning.


Sedat Gumus, associate professor of Education at Necmettin Erbakan University, in Konya, Turkey will be in residence for academic year 2015-16. Before arriving at the IHE he worked as the director of international relations at the Council of Higher Education, Turkey’s national higher education planning and coordination body. His research interests include issues such as finance, coordination and governance of higher education. His primary research at UGA will focus on state-level higher education coordination and accreditation bodies in the U.S.

“The Institute is a good fit for me because there are many professors who are nationally known experts in higher education research, specifically in the governance of higher education,” he says. “Also, having graduate programs is very important, as I plan to visit classes to learn more about the U.S. higher education system and to share my knowledge on Turkish and European higher education systems with the students. Later in the year, I have been asked to give a presentation on Turkish higher education, which is a very centralized system compared to the U.S.”