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Chuck Carney
Director, communications and media relations, IU School of Education

Last modified: Monday, September 10, 2012

IU School of Education dean travels to Indonesia as part of higher education project

Sept. 10, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University School of Education Dean Gerardo Gonzalez is spending this week in the Republic of Indonesia, where he will help kick off a seminar that is part of a United States and Indonesia higher education project.

Gerardo Gonzalez

Gerardo Gonzalez

Print-Quality Photo

Gonzalez will address the rectors of 25 universities at the opening seminar of the Higher Education Leadership and Management program in Jakarta. HELM is a $19 million U.S. Agency for International Development program intended to assist the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture to improve the quality of the country's higher education system.

Gonzalez will speak about the role of supportive leaders at top performing universities. He will address the seminar alongside two prominent scholars of Indonesian higher education from the Universitas Gadjah Mada, one of Southeast Asia's top-ranked public higher education institutions.

"I am very much looking forward to participating in the HELM conference and assisting with the project," Gonzalez said. "Indonesia is one of the world's fast-growing economies, and the School of Education has had a long history of engagement with the country. Like developing countries throughout the globe, Indonesia is looking to improve education at all levels, and especially higher education, to fuel its international economic competitiveness."

The Indiana University School of Education is part of a consortium including The Ohio State University and the University of Illinois providing assistance toward developing graduate programs in higher education. IU associate professor of educational policy studies Margaret Sutton spent a month and a half in Indonesia this summer as the HELM project got under way.

"We're ending the first year, which was devoted to identifying needs and selecting 25 Indonesia universities to be participating institutions," Sutton said. She helped craft the criteria and process for selection during her time in the country and also collaborated on a background study of graduate programs in higher education. The HELM professional development seminars throughout the project will be for university rectors and deans, while a series of workshops will be aimed at mid-level and emerging university leadership.

Sutton, who has spent 20 years working with Indonesian education leaders on a variety of projects, said the HELM program will help Indonesia's public and private institutions handle growing needs.

"Like so many countries, Indonesia is undergoing a vast expansion of student population," Sutton said. "This project is about creating stronger leadership in higher education to improve quality."

The visit comes after IU President Michael A. McRobbie's trip to Indonesia in May. McRobbie spoke to the Indonesian Education Ministry about the HELM project and also signed a partnership agreement with Gadjah Mada. IU has longstanding ties to Indonesia, dating back to a visit from IU President Herman B Wells in the 1950s. The IU School of Education is a participant in the U.S./Indonesia Teacher Education Consortium, a binational higher education consortium -- composed of 16 member institutions -- established in 2006 to improve Indonesian education and teacher quality. Just over 80 students from Indonesia are currently enrolled at IU, and nearly 800 IU alumni are living in Indonesia.

Gonzalez will also visit with H.A.R. Tilaar, emeritus professor at the State University of Jakarta, a graduate of the IU School of Education and recipient of IU's Thomas Hart Benton Medal, presented by McRobbie in May. The Benton Medal is given to individuals who have achieved a level of distinction in public office or service and have exemplified the values of IU.

Tilaar spent 23 years as an educational specialist for BAPPENAS, the Indonesian government's central planning agency, serving as deputy director for education and culture and assistant minister for human resource development. He has authored more than 200 articles and 20 books on Indonesian education, including the most comprehensive historical study to date. In 2009, the School of Education presented Tilaar with the Distinguished Alumni Award. The Republic of Indonesia awarded him the Bintang Jasa Utama, or Highest Service Star, in 1998.

Tilaar is one of two Indonesian scholars honored with the IU School of Education's Distinguished Alumni Award. Adeng Chaedar Alwasilah, Ph.D. '91, M.S. '87, dean of the faculty of Languages and Fine Arts Education at the Indonesian University of Education, received the honor in 2001.

"I am very proud of the difference our alumni are making all over the world," Gonzalez said. "Indonesia is a shining example of IU's and the School of Education's global reach."