Education researcher enriched by overseas experience

The time Louis Volante has spent abroad has helped to shape his work back at home.

For the past three years, the Brock University Faculty of Education professor has been working with United Nations University — Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT).

Based in the Netherlands, the research and training institute focuses on a range of social, political and economic factors that drive economic development in a global perspective.

Volante completed a stint as a visiting professor with UNU-MERIT in 2016 and said the experience has enriched both his research and teaching back at Brock.

Volante’s invitation for collaboration was due in part to his research on educational governance and policy.

Over the past three years he has worked with the institute first as an advisor and now as a teacher and supervisor.

When he first visited the institute in 2014, Volante was instantly inspired.

He met with key stakeholders, reviewed various presentations by Fellows in the dual PhD program in Governance and Policy Analysis (GPAC2) and hosted a seminar in his area of expertise — globalization, international testing and education governance.

The experience enhanced the appeal and enjoyment of his work in the Netherlands.

“My first impression of GPAC² was that UNU-MERIT and MGSoG (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance) was offering a truly unique program that brings together a diverse and eclectic array of international scholars and PhD Fellows,” Volante said.

His involvement with the GPAC² program continues and he routinely visits for the higher-year cohort workshops that run every June and November.

He also continues to supervise PhD students and is looking forward to his current GPAC² Fellow Brenda Yamba successfully completing her dissertation.

Volante’s work focuses on global governance of education, international achievement studies, migrant integration and student achievement, education policy analysis and large-scale reform and innovation.

It has been published in Policy Futures of Education and Education Canada, and is influenced and shaped through his work with UNU-MERIT colleagues.

Volante is planning a paper with UNU-MERIT’s Dr. Jo Ritzen related to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s influence on educational innovation.

“Given that I also teach a graduate course at Brock University titled Politics, Power and Policy in Education, I consider the discussions and advice I have received from Dr. Ritzen, who has extensive experience as a former Dutch Minister for Education and Science, invaluable in shaping my thinking,” he said.

In 2015 Volante was featured on UNU-MERIT’s video board discussing International Organisations and Global Education Governance, and in early 2016 he published a paper with Ritzen The European Union, education governance and international education surveys in Policy Futures in Education.

Volante is hopeful his research will continue to provide results that will help shape the global educational landscape.

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