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Gerardo M. Gonzalez
Dean, IU School of Education

Tracy James
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Germany taps Indiana University's teacher training, research and science education expertise

IU Education Dean Gerardo M. Gonzalez visits German universities to promote global collaboration as part of research excellence initiative

July 25, 2006

Gerardo M. Gonzalez, university dean of the Indiana University School of Education

Print-Quality Photo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A recent visit to Europe has resulted in a global collaboration to boost research excellence and young scientists' training.

Gerardo M. Gonzalez, university dean of the Indiana University School of Education, recently was among a group of professors from around the world tapped by the German Science Council to evaluate proposals from major research universities in Germany for the country's Excellence Initiative.

This initiative aims to strengthen the research capabilities of German universities, improve their international competitiveness and raise the profile of the top performers in academia and research. Gonzalez reviewed proposals from the Technische Universität München and Freie Universität Berlin. His team provided evaluations of each university's proposal after group discussions and campus tours.

Gonzalez said that as a result of the visit, he is discussing opportunities for collaboration beyond the review of initial proposals. The German federal government and the States want universities to substantially develop their internationally renowned areas. Officials also are looking for partner schools, like IU, to collaborate in developing research training programs to support young researchers by actively involving them in international research collaborations. Gonzalez will be exploring opportunities for joint research and training focused on teacher preparation and exchange visits as well as virtual collaboration for enhancing pre-collegiate students' passion for science.

"The IU School of Education is recognized as an international leader in teacher education. The universities I visited understand that excellence in scientific research requires highly competent students and well-prepared teachers to teach them. We are now exchanging information and planning for further collaboration to strengthen research partnerships and teacher preparation, especially in the high need areas of math and science education," Gonzalez said.

The total budget of the Excellence Initiative will be €1.9 billion (around $2.4 billion) from 2006 to 2011, which will be split among three lines of funding to:

  • Establish 40 graduate schools in Germany to promote young researchers
  • Create 30 Clusters of Excellence to promote world-class research in Germany
  • Create 10 institutional strategies to develop and expand top-level university research in Germany, which will result in a significant contribution to strengthening science and research in Germany in the long term and increasing the visibility of current research excellence

"I was very impressed with the commitment of the German federal and state governments to promote top-level research and improve the overall quality of universities and science in Germany. They recognize that their future as an economic power depends on having internationally competitive research universities," Gonzalez said. "We have much to learn from each other."

Gonzalez can be reached at 812-856-8001 and