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19 Feb 2024

Gita Steiner-Khamsi Named as William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Comparative Education

Gita Steiner-Khamsi, Professor of Education, has been named the recipient of the William Heard Kilpatrick Professorship of Comparative Education beginning September 1, 2024.

Steiner-Khamsi, who joined TC in 1995, focuses her work on comparative policy studies, comparative methodology and global governance in education and has researched traveling reforms, also known as policy borrowing, policy transfer, and policy mobility research. Her recent research centered on policy brokerage in an era of information overload and information silos. Previous to joining TC, she worked on multicultural and anti-racist education policies at the Ministry of Education in the Canton of Zurich in Switzerland for ten years.

In 2023, Steiner-Khamsi was named the first-ever Chair in Comparative Education Policy for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This chair is hosted by the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Switzerland. She noted the critical importance of the role that was designed to “amplify, surface, and strengthen education policy expertise, specifically in low-income and aid-dependent countries of the Global South.”

As one of the foremost experts in the field of comparative and international education, Steiner-Khamsi has been the recipient of numerous honors and prestigious appointments, including having served as president of the U.S. Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), as well as academic director of NORRAG—a global network for international policies and cooperation in education and training. She cites the honorary doctoral degree she received from the Mongolia State University of Education as an award that makes her especially proud.

While on sabbatical leave for the 2023-24 academic year, Steiner-Khamsi is sharing her expertise as a visiting professor at multiple universities, including the University of Iceland, where she was on a Fulbright; Stanford University Graduate School of Education; and Kobe University in Japan.

Steiner-Khamsi has a long history in publication, having edited the book series The World Yearbook of Education, and co-edited a number of books, the most recent of which include: Evidence and Expertise in Nordic Education Policies: A Comparative Network Analysis from the Nordic Region (Palgrave, 2022) and Comparative Methodology in an Era of Big Data and Global Networks (Routledge, 2019). In 2006, she co-authored the book Educational Import in Mongolia: Local Encounters with Global Forces (Palgrave, Macmillan). The book was translated in Mongolian and was widely read.

During her three decades at Teachers College, Steiner-Khamsi has been the advisor on 68 dissertations; approximately half of her former doctoral students now hold academic appointments in various universities of the world, and as TC alumni, have greatly contributed to the exponential growth of the field of comparative and international education in the US and worldwide.

The Kilpatrick Professorship was established to “enable a prominent scholar to pursue the effort to understand the essential nature of the educational process via the methods of philosophical inquiry and to ascertain the role such inquiry might play in the improvement of educational theory and practice.”

Established at Teachers College in 1958, the professorship was named after William Heard Kilpatrick (1871-1965), who had become one of the nation’s leading educational philosophers during his tenure as professor at TC from 1911 to 1937. A prominent student and interpreter of John Dewey, Kilpatrick had a profound influence upon the character of teaching in American elementary and secondary schools. The professorship was most recently held by Henry Levin, William Heard Kilpatrick Professor Emeritus of Economics and Education.

​​“Dr. Steiner-Khamsi is a giant in her field, with an unwavering commitment to bettering education policy throughout the world,” said TC Provost KerryAnn O’Meara. “Dr. Steiner’s vital research and her guiding principles are in harmony with the spirit of the Kilpatrick Professorship,” she added.

Steiner-Khamsi’s colleague, Oren Pizmony-Levy, Associate Professor of International and Comparative Education, also reflected: “For over two decades, Gita Steiner-Khamsi has helped lead the field of International Comparative Education, transforming our understanding of globalization and policy processes,” Pizmony-Levy shared. “With a vibrant research agenda and wealth of expertise, she invigorates and enhances Teachers College, it is no wonder why she has been selected as the next chair.”

Asked to comment on receiving the professorship, Steiner-Khamsi said, “I am tremendously grateful to receive a chair named after one of the most respected and internationally renowned U.S. scholar in education. William Heard Kilpatrick’s legacy in philosophy of education but also in all foundational studies of education, including in comparative education, is monumental. I am deeply honored to carry this name forward.”


Gita Steiner-Khamsi

Professor Gita Steiner-Khamsi is the UNESCO Chair in Comparative Education Policy at the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. She was NORRAG’s Academic Director from 2017-2022, and greatly expanded NORRAG’s research capacities and outreach.

During that time, she was seconded by Columbia University, where she is a Professor of Comparative and International Education at Teachers College, to strengthen the field of comparative and international education at The Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. She held a dual academic affiliation as a full professor, splitting her time between the two institutions. A past president of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), she is actively engaged in the professionalization of international and comparative education. She published thirteen books and numerous journal articles in globalization studies, comparative policy studies (policy borrowing and lending), and international cooperation.

Starting in 2020, she serves as the Lead Researcher in the Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) hub for countries in the Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia, and Asia-Pacific regions.

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