A delegation of scholars from the NIU College of Education will travel in November to Taiwan for APERA-TERA 2016, a biannual conference of the Asia-Pacific and Taiwan educational research associations.
NIU and the Mid-Western Educational Research Association (MWERA) are co-sponsors of the conference, which draws thousands of scholars eager for academic discussions and opportunities for collaboration.
Dean Laurie Elish-Piper and Associate Dean David Walker, who will deliver keynote addresses Friday, Nov. 11, lead the NIU contingent that also includes Wei-Chen Hung, chair of the Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment, and ETRA professors Laura Ruth Johnson, Isti Sanga and Tom Smith.
Scheduled from Wednesday, Nov. 9, through Saturday, Nov. 12, the conference takes place at National Sun Yat-sen University in Koahsiung.
Walker, a former president of MWERA, called for that organization to expand its international partnerships during his 2014 speech to the annual conference. In attendance that year were academic colleagues from China and Taiwan.
“Our relationship grew,” said Walker, who also is a professor of educational research.
Meanwhile, Hung enjoys a long camaraderie with National Sun Yat-sen University.
“I asked if we could co-sponsor the conference with them,” Hung said. “It’s a great opportunity for our faculty to engage in scholarship with them – they’re one of the Top 100 universities in the world, with a great amount of innovative research – and I do see a synergy between our two universities.”
Elish-Piper will speak on “Examining the Relationship Between Instructional Coaching for Teachers and Student Reading Gains in Grades K-3 in Elementary Schools in the U.S.” while Walker will speak on “Opportunities for International Education Advancement: Developments from the United States, Asia, and Oceania.”
Potential topics will include human mobility, learning hubs, joint programs, on-site extensions of universities and changes in technology, including modern methods of course delivery, such as Massive Open Online Courses.
Hung, Johnson, Sanga, Smith and Walker also will lead a conference symposium on “Diverse Research Methodologies for Diverse Settings” along with Fahad Al-Shahrani from Jubail Colleges & Institutes in Saudi Arabia.
They will address how distinct methodological approaches and strategies have been applied in research situations involving diverse populations and settings, offering their unique experiences conducting research in varied cultural contexts.
“Understanding that NIU is looking for different types of partnerships, I think that having faculty integrated in this type of collaboration might be able to bring this partnership further. We could engage in student research, professional development or faculty exchanges.” Hung said.
“That places NIU on a more international platform, and also could help us in terms of recruitment and retention,” he added. “Allowing researchers and educators from different regions to know about NIU, to know about our programs and to know about the research we’re doing broadens our presence in a global context.”
“ETRA has many international students, and we’re continuing that relationship when they go home,” he said.
“For MWERA,” he added, “it’s good to grow the organization and bring diversity to it through an international experience, such as study abroad, scholar exchanges, grants and research in international affairs, and it’s also good for the graduate students we’re mentoring.”