Faculty Directory

Rebecca Schendel

Managing Director of the Center for International Higher Education

Associate Professor of the Practice


ELHE Educational Leadership & Higher Education


Rebecca Schendel studies the impact of higher education on human development in resource-poor contexts, with an emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. She is particularly interested in teaching and learning within universities, including the role of faculty development initiatives and the links between curricular and pedagogical choices and student success. Rebecca serves as Managing Director of the Center for International Higher Education.

Prior to her arrival at Boston College, Rebecca was Lecturer in Education and International Development at the UCL Institute of Education (UK). Rebecca has also worked at Orphans of Rwanda (a university scholarship program based in Kigali, Rwanda), in the Study Abroad Office at the University of Maryland-College Park and at the Institute of International Education in Washington, DC.

  • Advisor to Transforming Employability for Social Change in East Africa project
  • Advised UK Department for International Development on higher education strategy
  • Served as Lecturer in Education and International Development at the UCL Institute of Education (UK)
  • Served as Program Director of a university scholarship program in Rwanda

Select Publications

  • McCowan, T., Omingo, M., Schendel, R., Adu-Yeboah, C. and Tabulawa, R. (2022). Enablers of pedagogical change within universities: Evidence from Kenya, Ghana and Botswana. International Journal of Educational Development, 90. 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2022.102558
  • Schendel, R., McCowan, T., Rolleston, C., Adu-Yeboah, C., Omingo, M. & Tabulawa. R. (2020) Pedagogies for critical thinking at universities in Kenya, Ghana and Botswana: the importance of a collective ‘teaching culture', Teaching in Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2020.1852204
  • Rolleston, C., Schendel, R. and Grijalva Espinosa, A.M. (2019) ‘Assessing “approaches to learning” in Botswana, Ghana and Kenya.’ Research in Comparative and International Education, 14 (1): 118–140. 
  • Schendel, R. (2018) ‘Understanding the relationship between institutional cultures and pedagogical change.’ In Ashwin, P. and Case, J. (eds), Higher Education Pathways: South African Undergraduate Education and the Public Good. Cape Town: African Minds.
  • Schendel, R. and Tolmie, A. (2017) ‘Beyond Translation: Adapting a performance-task-based assessment of critical thinking ability for use in Rwanda.’ Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 42 (5): 673-689.
  •  Schendel, R. and Gantner, G. (2017) ‘Placing the curriculum at the heart of the process: Fostering student-centered pedagogy in Rwanda.’ In Smith, C. and Hudson, K.E. (eds), Faculty Development in Developing Countries: Improving Teaching Quality in Higher Education. New York: Routledge.
  • Schendel, R. (2016) ‘Constructing departmental culture to support pedagogical change: Evidence from a case study in Rwanda.’ Higher Education, 72 (4): 487-504.
  • Schendel, R. (2016) ‘Adapting, not adopting: Barriers affecting teaching for critical thinking at two Rwandan universities.’ Comparative Education Review, 60 (3): 549-570.
  • McCowan, T. and Schendel, R. (2016) ‘The impact of higher education on development.’ In Gu, Q. and McGrath, S. (eds.), The Routledge Handbook on International Education and Development. London: Routledge.
  • Schendel, R. (2015) ‘Critical thinking at Rwanda’s public universities: Emerging evidence of a crucial development priority.’ International Journal of Educational Development 42: 96-105.
  • Schendel, R. and McCowan, T. (2015) ‘Higher Education and Development: Critical Issues and Debates.’ In McCowan, T. and Unterhalter, E. (eds.), Education and International Development: An Introduction. London: Bloomsbury Press.