Education research center to build global scholarly network

Author: Bill Schmitt

Mark Berends Mark Berends

The University of Notre Dame’s Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO) has been designated an “international research network” by the World Education Research Association (WERA). This recognition of CREO’s leadership in the sociology of education will open new doors for international scholarly collaborations in research on educational inequality.

CREO, directed by distinguished sociologist Mark Berends, will now have WERA support in building a global community of scholarship on educational equity issues as they relate to education policy.

As one of the newly established international research networks, called WERA-IRNs, CREO will examine the state of research, synthesize knowledge and stimulate collaborations, with a goal of identifying promising research directions in the field of educational inequality around the world.

“We’re privileged to accept this leading role from WERA in order to build an interactive, real-time, accessible platform for scholars to discuss contemporary issues in education research and data at the national, regional and global level,” said Berends, who is a faculty fellow of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI).

Heather Price, a Notre Dame sociologist who serves as assistant director for the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, will work closely with Berends and with Bill Carbonaro, associate professor and assistant director of CREO, representing the research synergy that already exists among units of the University.

“When its WERA-IRN status takes full effect during fall 2013, CREO will build upon its strong reputation with an ambitious agenda to be a world-class resource for education researchers,” Price said.

Plans include a global series of interactive lecture webcasts, a hosted blog space and discussion board for international participants, and archived videos and other materials, all to support research in CREO’s designated field: “sociology of education on educational inequality.”

These plans are meant to build an international network of scholars among graduate students, young scholars and globally recognized researchers alike — with CREO at the hub of the network.

Other WERA-IRN networks have been announced in this new initiative, designated to build global collaborations in such areas as “teacher education for the 21st century,” “global ethics in higher education” and “pedagogical design for learning in digital classrooms.”

WERA, based in Washington, D.C., is an organization of major national, regional and specialty education research associations dedicated to sharing scholarship, developing networks and mutually supporting capacity building.

CREO conducts basic and applied research on schools and the learning process. The research explores the formal and informal organization of schools, the curriculum, teacher practices and student social relationships to determine how these factors interact with student background and ability to affect student learning. Special attention is given to less privileged students and Catholic schools.

The IEI advances Notre Dame’s commitment to the future of children and schools. Directed by Rev. Timothy Scully, C.S.C., the institute supports interdisciplinary research, programs and projects involving more than 60 faculty fellows across the campus.

Contact: Bill Schmitt, communications and media specialist, 574-631-3893,