Introducing Professor Alma Harris ICSEI President 2013 -2015

Occasionally, influential research findings find their moment in time, only to peak, trough and fade into oblivion. For the school effectiveness and school improvement research field, this has not been the case. Those researching and writing within this research tradition remain a formidable intellectual force.

Since the early 1980s, the work of a wide range of international scholars has focused upon the central question of how to make schools, and latterly systems, more effective. The depth and rigor of the academic work has provided a clear and powerful mandate for action and a clear message that school (and system) improvement is possible.

While some policy makers may have turned their attention elsewhere over the past few years, the international comparative assessments of performance such as PISA and TYMMS have sparked renewed interest in the research base on educational effectiveness and improvement. The evidence about effective schools, effective systems, effective pedagogy and effective classrooms is now of increasing interest to those seeking better educational outcomes and higher system performance.

As President of the ‘International Congress for School Effectiveness and School Improvement’ (ICSEI) I take great pride in the fact that the ICSEI symposium is a regular feature at the ‘American Educational Research Association Conference (AERA). This gives ICSEI a real opportunity to underline the quality of its scholarship and to outline the latest contributions to knowledge.

At the forthcoming AERA conference in Philadelphia, the ICSEI symposium will focus on the theme of ‘Connecting Policy, Research and Practice: Evaluating the International School Effectiveness and Improvement Research Base’. A summary of the symposium will be available on the ICSEI website and it is anticipated that the full papers will be added following the symposium.

So now let’s fast-forward eight months to ICSEI 2015, Cincinnati, USA. Not only is this a wonderful venue but also the theme of ‘Think Globally Act Locally, Educating All Children to Their Full Potential’ reminds us all of the moral purpose that drives our collective work.

Without question every ICSEI Congress involves the collective effort and energy of the many; it is distributed leadership in action. But it also requires the vision and commitment of an individual to see this possibility in the first place. So to Sam Stringfield, I say ‘thank you’ for making ICSEI 2015 both a possibility and a reality.

Professor Alma Harris
ICSEI President

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