2012 Chair’s Report, Michele Schweisfurth

September 2012

Warm greetings to all members, longstanding, new and prospective.  This has been an exceptionally busy and productive year for BAICE, and I would like here to mention a few highlights and to point to some future initiatives and possibilities, most of which will be picked up in more detail during the meeting.

BAICE Executive Committee:  The BAICE Executive Committee has met three times since the last Annual General Meeting, to discuss BAICE business (of which there has been plenty).  Attendance and participation have been excellent and BAICE has moved forward substantially this year thanks to the dedication of this group of people.  A number of changes to the Executive will be announced for your approval at this meeting.  Caroline Dyer steps into the position of Chair from her Vice-Chair role.   Madeleine Arnot and Tanja Müller have completed their periods as ‘ordinary members’ and are standing down at this AGM.

A substantial number of nominations has meant that for the first time in many years, we held an election for the Vice-Chair position and for the ordinary members.  There were three candidates for Vice-Chair and six for ordinary membership:  a very positive sign, I’m sure, of interest in the Association.  This is substantiated by the excellent voting rate in the election (27%).   The contests were close but I am delighted to introduce our winning candidates:

Vice-Chair:                  Qing Gu, University of Nottingham (currently an ordinary member)

Ordinary Members:    Angeline Barrett, University of Bristol

Nidhi Singal, University of Cambridge

Robin Shields, University of Bath Spa


The BAICE Honorary Secretary, Brendan Bartram, has indicated that he would like to stand down soon after the AGM.  Lizzi Milligan, one of our current student representatives, has offered to take on this role at that point.  So – BAICE will be looking for a new student representative to join the committee in the near future.  If you are interested and would like to find out more, speak to Lizzi or to the other student rep, Sajjad Al-Hawsawi.


BAICE President:  Thank you to Jo Boyden, BAICE President for 2011-12.  It was a privilege to have, again, such a distinguished President, with an interdisciplinary perspective.  The Executive Committee invited Elaine Unterhalter of the Institute of Education to act as President for 2012-13 and I am very pleased to announce that she has accepted.  Elaine will give a plenary presentation at the UKFIET conference in 2013.


BAICE finances:  As the treasurer, Malcolm Mercer, will report, BAICE finances are in a very healthy state.  Royalties from the Association journal, Compare, have helped us to secure this excellent position, and our contractual arrangements with Routledge/Taylor and Francis  have been negotiated to levels which will help to sustain and grow BAICE’s financial health in the future.

CompareCompare has had a very successful year, and a report from the editing team will provide further details.  The journal continues to balance the publication of quality peer-reviewed articles in traditional formats, with focused special issues, discussion fora, and support for developing authors through the BAICE-funded Writers Programme.

BAICE website:  This has been another significant year for website development, and Terra Sprague and Michael Crossley should be congratulated again on how the website has improved in terms of technical specifications, ease of access to information, regular detailed updating, and overall appearance.

BAICE membership:  Despite the current economic situation, BAICE membership has grown in the past year, due in part to the efforts of recruiters at BAICE events.  There has been significant progress in setting up on-line membership application, which will be a great help both to members and to the Membership Secretary.  To reconcile some longstanding anomalies which have existed for years in the membership database, this summer BAICE employed help on a one-off basis in order to ensure that records are accurate.

BAICE-funded and –initiated activities:

In the past year, BAICE has funded a number of events and initiatives.  At the last AGM, it was requested that BAICE hold a meeting regarding the REF, given its importance to our constituency.  David Stephens and I organised a meeting in May, for which we were able to arrange the involvement of two members of the Education REF panel:  Julian Elliott, who was a BAICE nominee, and Andrew Pollard, the panel chair.  Twelve members were able to attend and evidently found the discussion very useful.

We have had two applications under the ‘BAICE thematic forum’ initiative; one on Insider/Outsider Perspectives, which included an open event, and one on Inclusion and Special Educational Needs in international perspective.  More information is available on the website.

BAICE also funded a dissertation workshop for students at institutions in the Bristol-Bath region, and a publication edited by Sheila Trahar, ‘Listening to Academic Voices’ has been sponsored by BAICE and is available on the website.  Student events were particularly popular this year, including the conference on ‘Emerging methodologies and methods from the field of International and Comparative Education’ (May 2012).

BAICE sponsored a number of people to attend the UKFIET conference in 2011 and this year’s BAICE conference.  The BAICE student prize for best paper presented at the UKFIET conference in 2011 was awarded to Sharon Tao – congratulations to Sharon.

While all of these events have been successful, given the current challenges of securing funding especially for small-scale initiatives, the committee has been a little surprised at the fact that there have not been more applications for BAICE funding.  We would encourage members to make the most of the opportunities on offer.  Equally, if you have suggestions for additional ways that BAICE might use its resources to support the membership and the field, please suggest them to the Executive Committee.

WCCES Glasgow 2016 Expression of Interest:  The University of Glasgow, in partnership with the City of Glasgow, is interested in hosting the 2016 World Congress of Comparative Education Societies Meeting.  Their interest was presented to the Executive Committee in February, who agreed to take it forward to the EoI stage at the WCCES meeting at CIES in April.  As BAICE representative on the World Council, I presented this proposal, and there were also EoIs from delegates representing China and Australia/New Zealand.  All of the EoIs were accepted for development into full proposals.

This is good news and potentially a major development for BAICE.  But it’s essential that the endorsement of the membership through the AGM is evident before taking this any further, and so this is an important agenda item for this meeting.  Mike Osborne, an Executive Committee Member and Professor at Glasgow will speak to this item before the discussion.

BAICE students:  Anupam Pachari stood down as student rep during this year, and was replaced by Sajjad Al-Hawsawi.  Sajjad and Lizzi have been hard at work promoting student participation in BAICE.  The website is increasingly reflective of the needs and interests of students, and BAICE-funded events have been organised by, with and for students.  I am pleased to remind all students participating in this conference that we will again be offering a prize for a full paper of high quality based on a presentation here.  Further details will be sent to all members in the coming weeks.

Good-bye!:  I have thoroughly enjoyed my two years as BAICE Chair, and the two years before that as Vice-Chair.  I know that I am leaving the organisation in robust financial and spiritual health, and in excellent hands.

BAICE is blessed to have such a hard-working and committed Executive Committee, particularly at a time when the pressures at universities are so intense.  So, as my parting shot, I would like to embarrass each of them individually.  Thank you to:

Sajjad Al-Hawsawi:  for engaging and helping to grow our student membership;

Madeleine Arnot:  for hard work and attention and to detail in conference arrangement;

Brendan Bartram:  for calm, cool and efficient management of our records;

Michael Crossley:  for sustained commitment to BAICE and to the field;

Caroline Dyer:  for chairing the Compare board above and beyond the call of duty;

Qing Gu:  for help with bursaries and awards, and for ongoing commitment to the committee;

Paul Lynch:  for finding space for humour and imagination in the graft of managing membership records;

Malcolm Mercer:  for tenacious and careful management of BAICE’s accounts;

LIzzi Milligan:  for inspiring students and for stepping into the Secretarial role in future;

Tanja Müller:  for help with bursaries and awards and contribution to WCCES 2013;

Mike Osborne:  for taking forward boldly the WCCES EoI;

Terra Sprague:  for digital wizardry and general can-do;

David Turner:  for keeping us outward-looking to WCCES and AcSS;

The Compare editors, Paul Morris, Nitya Rao and Yusuf Sayed:  for building a journal which is a major part of the Comparative and International Education landscape, and which is also the main reason for BAICE’s excellent financial position.

And thank you, members, for your continuing active support for the Association.

Michele Schweisfurth

University of Birmingham

September 2012