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Higher Education Symposium a Fond Send-off to BC's Altbach

04/11/13
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Moman Professor Philip Altbach at last week's symposium. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

By Ed Hayward | Chronicle Staff

Published: Apr. 11, 2013

A who’s who of international higher education scholars and officials convened on campus last week to pay tribute to the career of retiring J. Donald Monan, SJ, Professor of Higher Education Philip G. Altbach, founding director of the Center for International Higher Education.

A daylong symposium, “At the Forefront of Higher Education,” included remarks by Fr. Monan — who is University chancellor and namesake of the chair held by Altbach — Provost and Dean of Faculties Cutberto Garza and Lynch School of Education Interim Dean Maureen Kenny.

Sessions examined the dramatic changes and future trends in global higher education and featured leading experts from the US, as well as China, India, the Netherlands, and Russia. Representatives from the World Bank, African Development Bank, the Association of International Education Administrators, the Council for Higher Education and the American Council on Education also attended.

The event focused on many of the issues Altbach has researched and written about during the course of a 50-plus year career that saw him author or edit nearly 50 books on topics ranging from higher education to India’s publishing industry to student activism. Altbach has taught at BC since 1994.

CIHE Associate Director and Lynch School Lecturer Laura E. Rumbley said Altbach had not only helped to define the discipline throughout the course of his career, but also to connect a global community of scholars, administrators, policy experts and government officials in order to bring best practices to higher education institutions throughout the world. Many in that network were in attendance last Friday.

“Not only are these individuals key players in research, policymaking and analysis in higher education around the world, they are all part of a global network of expertise that Philip Altbach has helped to cultivate and convene over many years, in a wide variety of contexts,” Rumbley said. All “feel a deep sense of friendship and affection for Phil, given his approachability, generosity, candor, and consistent presence as a colleague who can be counted on to produce timely, high-quality scholarship and commentary.”

Altbach, who will continue to be active at BC as a research professor and as a leader of CIHE, said he was honored by the event, but even more thrilled to see colleagues in his field assembled for a world-class academic conference.

“It was a great event and gratifying to see colleagues from around the world here at BC discussing the most pressing issues of the day, but also getting a chance to connect with one another. It was a great day for the field and a great day for BC and the Lynch School.”