Why School? International Perspectives on Education and Social Transformation

Various - see "Highlights"
Thursday, April 11th, 2019 5:30 PM to Saturday, April 13th, 2019 2:30 PM

In April, the University of Iowa will host scholars, experts, and researchers from around the world as part of the 2019 Provost’s Global Forum, Why School? International Perspectives on Education and Social Transformation. The goal of the Provost's Global Forum is to inspire discussions of global affairs and build relationships between the university and the state of Iowa.

Organizers David Bills, professor of sociology of education, Gavin Fulmer, assistant professor of science education, Gregory Hamot, professor of social studies education, Lia Plakans, associate professor of teaching and learning, and Amanda Thein, professor of language, literacy and culture, will host a three-day academic conference comprised of lectures, presentations, and panel discussions to facilitate conversations on, and increase awareness of, the purpose of schooling in society.

What is the purpose of schooling in society? What are the relationships among educational reform, globalization, and social change across local, national, and international scales? Every society can be characterized by norms, values, and assumptions that serve as core concepts that influence individuals and institutions in ways both obvious and subtle. Schools and educational systems provide a rich and telling view of the core concepts that affect society because they are both products of society and a process for effecting changes in society.

All events are free and open to the public. For a full schedule of conference events and people involved in the forum, visit: https://international.uiowa.edu/why-school.


  • April 11: A live production of WorldCanvass from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at MERGE. This televised discussion is hosted by Joan Kjaer and will feature many of the forum’s speakers and scholars.
  • April 12: Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, senior lecturer, co-director, International Education Development Program, University of Pennsylvania, will deliver the Joel Barkan Memorial Lecture at 7:00 p.m. at the Hyatt Place Hotel.
  • April 13: Expert-led panel discussions will take place from 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the University Capitol Centre. A special film screening of “Preschool in Three Cultures” will take place during lunch. Topics will range from social values and social models to lifelong learning and future society.

The forum is made possible through the generous support of the Stanley-UI Foundation Support Organization, with additional sponsorship from the The University of Iowa College of Education, and the University of Iowa Public Policy Center

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in these events, contact Sarolta Petersen in advance at sarolta-petersen@uiowa.edu or 319-335-3862.