March 23, 2009

Daily Report – Day 1 – Monday, March 23

“At Kassel, we move from analysis to action
—we’re going public.”

Sixty representatives from six continents met today in Kassel, Germany to position doctoral education as a more powerful force for addressing the world’s challenges.

Despite cold rain outside, warmth and collegiality characterized interactions between attendees, some of whom had not seen each other since the previous Forces and Forces (F+F) Worldwide Workshop, held in 2007.

Opening day was a time to regroup, review and renew. Highlights included opening remarks, introductions, and initial work by three task forces, each devoted to one of these issues:

  • Internationalization and inequality in doctoral education
  • Diversity of students in doctoral education in an international perspective
  • Promoting intellectual risk-taking under conditions of globalization

Highlights of opening remarks:

“This meeting is of the highest priority,” said Carol Stoel, of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), a workshop sponsor (via a videotaped greeting).

“We wholeheartedly support you,” added James Wyche, also of the NSF.

“Getting a doctorate is an opening to the world beyond the ‘ivory tower’” said Annette Schmidtmann of the DFG, the major German research funding organization

“Your work points us toward how we can improve relationships between corporations and academia,” said Andrea Frank of Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, a workshop sponsor and philanthropic umbrella organization of about 3,000 companies.

“We’re very happy about this (workshop),” said Markus Baumanns of ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, a German private foundation and workshop sponsor.

An overview of the two previous Forces and Forms Workshops, held in 2005 (Seattle, Washington, USA) and 2007 (Melbourne, Australia), reminded attendees how results from both provided the platform for the Kassel workshop.

Attendees agreed on workshop goals to reach by March 27 at the workshop conclusion:

  • Develop a set of policy recommendations
  • Develop a dissemination and action plan
  • Planning toward publication of a book
  • Development of a global agenda on research in doctoral education
  • Creation of regional research clusters led by network members
  • Agreement to a new workshop format to occur possibly in 2012

Work groups documented their motivations, concerns, and visions for workshop outcomes; here are highlights:

  • “use the network to train administrators”
  • “develop guidelines for immediate action”
  • “a Kassel declaration”
  • “What is ethnicity? Different countries tell us very different things.”
Random highlights of speakers’ comments:
  • “We need a closer look at the globalization of knowledge…and the migration of the highly educated, and how this affects society.”
  • “We are about understanding trends, tensions, and mechanisms; we’re learning to get the message across, networking, and planning…”
  • “Current funding structures (for doctoral education) are based on traditional models and do not support risk-taking. We’ll address that.”
  • “We have so much data we could go on analyzing it for five years!”

Preview for March 24, 2009: Wilhelm Krull, Secretary General of the Volkswagen Foundation, sets the tone for hopes and expectations for workshop results.

Video Interviews:
Beate Scholz gives and introduction and talks about the goals of the conference.

Maresi Nerad talks about the purpose and outcomes of the conference.

Wilhelm Krull talks about the hopes and aspirations of the conference.