Global Higher Education Leaders Agree to Graduate Education Principles

At the first-ever global meeting on graduate education, held here earlier this month, higher education leaders from North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim agreed to a Statement of Principles.

Publié le 10 septembre 2007

The principles are intended to serve as a general guide to international collaboration and collective work to advance and improve graduate education across multiple countries and regions.

The statement emerged from a conference designed to initiate a global dialogue on the opportunities and challenges created by the globalization of graduate education. The “Strategic Leaders Global Summit on Graduate Education” was jointly convened and hosted by the U.S.-based Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and the Government of Alberta, Canada.

The European University Association (EUA) was among the participants that included deans and rectors of graduate schools, embassy officials, government ministers, and other scholars, representing the United States, Canada, Europe, China, and Australia.

“We are delighted that at this “Banff Summit” our five university associations from Europe, Australia, Canada, China and the United States have reached agreement on a set of principles that can guide us in the strengthening of international collaboration in graduate education,” says EUA Secretary General Lesley Wilson.

“EUA’s own work in the context of the Bologna reform process, in higher education and our recently published report on the state of play of doctoral education in Europe has shown that the graduate education environment is changing rapidly to reflect new demands for highly trained professionals in academic, business and governmental and non-governmental sector careers. We are confident this new agreement will enhance the international dimension of graduate education in Europe, through closer dialogue, the exchange of best practice and by encouraging further mobility of both staff and graduates.”

“In reaching consensus on a set of shared values, the Banff Principles for guiding and strengthening the sharing of best practices in graduate education globally, the Summit far exceeded even my highest expectations,” said Debra W. Stewart, CGS President. “Leadership of the graduate education community in each participating country and region now has a firm basis for acting, locally and globally, in order to improve and advance the graduate education enterprise.”

Meeting sessions focused on opportunities to work collectively on best practices in both master’s and doctoral education, as well as on joint and dual degrees and other international collaborations.

The conference also addressed challenges in graduate education, such as:

-The need for global dialogue
-Incorporating all stakeholders, such as employers and policymakers
-The flows of top international talent
-Graduate education as a regional and national economic driver

The conference grew out of discussions begun a year ago at a transatlantic meeting in Salzburg, Austria between CGS and the European University Association (EUA). Delegates at that meeting agreed that in an environment of growing competition in graduate education, there was a need for increased international dialogue and co-operation.

A report based upon the proceedings will be released in December.

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