Furthering an ongoing, multifaceted partnership with France, AACRAO staff formed two members of a three-member U.S. delegation at the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) Ministerial Conference
With Peggy Blumenthal from IIE
, AACRAO delegates Melanie Gottlieb, Deputy Director, and Julia Funaki, Associate Director, AACRAO International, attended the conference
, which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Sorbonne Declaration, an agreement intended to harmonize European higher education architecture, including creating a common frame of reference within the EHEA and promoting mobility for students, graduates, and teachers. (The Sorbonne Declaration initiated the Bologna Process, leading ultimately to the formation of the EHEA. Learn more about the history of the Bologna agreement.
“It was important recognition for AACRAO EDGE
to be represented at this conference,” Gottlieb said. “The U.S. doesn’t have an education ministry and our Department of Education doesn’t manage foreign degree recognition or placement. EDGE and other credential evaluation agencies do that work instead.”
The U.S.’s decentralized higher education system leaves foreign credential assessment in the hands of individual institutions, and AACRAO EDGE is a primary support to that process. In addition, EDGE provides placement recommendations to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for the validation of of employment-based visas.
Read the “Paris Communique
,” a conference summary which reports on the Bologna Process progress, measures adopted, and future plans.
French connections: Study abroad, teaching, engineering, and business
During the May trip to Paris, Funaki and Gottlieb also met with the French Deputy Minister of Education and others to discuss ongoing reforms of teacher education in France. In general, information available in the U.S. on French teacher education is out-of-date due to the major shifts that have taken place in that area over the last 15 years.
“Our goal coming out of this meeting is to publish a comparative study about teacher education in the U.S. and France,” Gottlieb said. “That white paper will come out in 2019, and will be the foundation for a series of profiles of regulated professions in the U.S.”
This work builds on a long-term relationship between AACRAO, the French Embassy, and Campus France
to improve the understanding of the U.S. education system in France, and the French system in the U.S. This relationship is under the umbrella of the Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative
. AACRAO served as a significant resource for a comparative educational guide on French-U.S. higher education, expected to be published summer 2018, developed through this Friendship Initiative.
AACRAO EDGE has also researched the French paths to engineering degrees (the Grandes Écoles and diplome d'ingenieur) to help institutions clarify credential assessment. On the heels of the April Groningen Declaration meeting
in Paris, AACRAO staff were able to learn more about business and engineering degrees -- information which will be shared in soon-to-be-published white papers, as well as through more accurate profiles in AACRAO EDGE, which will be updated this summer.
“EDGE will be much more robust on France,” Funaki said. “Hopefully this relationship will open pathways for institutions to develop greater exchanges with France.”