Ford Grant Assists Levy in Studying Global Growth
Distinguished Professor Daniel Levy
(Department of Educational Administration and
Policy) has received a $300,000 award from the
Ford Foundation to extend work begun with a previous
$230,000 award from Ford. “Understanding Private
Higher Education: Global Roles and Patterns” explores
the explosive international growth of private
Long associated mostly with just
the U.S., private higher education has in recent
decades emerged or significantly grown on almost
every continent. Whereas the private share of
total U.S. enrollments hovers just over 20 percent,
private sectors account for the majority of enrollment
in several Asian and Latin American countries,
led by Japan and Brazil, respectively. Countries
like China have jumped quickly from zero to more
than 10 percent, with further private gains projected.
The recent sharp private growth,
combined with a view that new institutions are
not ‘real universities,’ helps explain the lack
of serious study to date. Yet most of the vital
dimensions of contemporary higher education change
(heightened access, rising tuition, institutional
differentiation, marketization, news forms of
accountability) cannot be understood without reference
to the private sector. Additionally, private higher
education is intimately tied to wider privatizing
trends in the broad political economy (a revamped
and often trimmed state, globalization and increased
competition). In both higher education and beyond,
the relative size of the public sector shrinks
while the nonprofit private sector expands and,
amid controversy, so does the for-profit sector.
Levy is the director of the Program
for Research on Private Higher Education (PROPHE).
The program collaborates with CIEPP (Comparative
& International Education Policy Program),
also housed in EAPS and recipient of a separate
$250,000 Ford Foundation grant. CIEPP’s principal
concerns are privatization and accountability.
Many activities jointly engage both PROPHE and
CIEPP, to the benefit of graduate students and
PROPHE aims to expand and improve
the human resource base in research. It includes
14 collaborative scholars and affiliates from
Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the U.S.
Its first regional center, in Eastern Europe,
has an additional 15 members. PROPHE Partner Centers
are located at Peking University, South Africa’s
University of the Western Cape, the World Bank,
and other institutions.
Almost all PROPHE members are junior.
Mentoring is a major part of PROPHE’s rationale,
as is the expansion of scholarly networks particularly
in the developing world.
Three UAlbany doctoral students
have received their assistantships through PROPHE
while several other UA students have also participated
in research and funding. Additional doctoral students
are part of PROPHE’s global network. Levy expects
at least five dissertations to emerge at Albany
through PROPHE. PROPHE-related dissertations are
under way in other countries as well.
Conferences at PROPHE have already
hosted visiting scholars or lecturers from Brazil,
Chile, China, India, Japan, Russia, and Uruguay.
Levy’s recent lecturing and policy advice includes
Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Hungary, and South
PROPHE now accounts for leadership
in scholarly production, ideas, and related policy
advice about private higher education. Accelerated
production for 2004-2007 will result from the
training and data building accomplished under
the first grant. Many working papers are expected
by 2007. Provocative “discussion papers” are also
in the works and PROPHE has a regular column in
the newsletter International Higher Education.
Books are in progress and PROPHE is soon co-publishing
the first international bibliography on private
PROPHE’s scholarship mission overlaps
its policy mission of improving the informational
base for policymakers and concerned citizenry.
PROPHE will continue gathering systematic and
cross-nationally comparable data. It will do likewise
with laws, as policymakers in much of the world
face choices in how and how extensively to develop
a legal framework for private higher education.
Under the new grant, PROPHE will retain its principles
of objective research yet will also venture a
bit more boldly toward policy debate. Stereotypes
abound on the anti-private and pro-private sides
and PROPHE will be keen to disseminate evidence
that contrasts to any unwarranted stereotype.
For more on PROPHE, see http://www.albany.edu/~prophe/