Skip to main content

| |   Follow Penn AHEAD on Facebook Follow Penn AHEAD on Twitter    Follow Penn AHEAD on LinkedIn


Convenings and Roundtables

Penn AHEAD brings together higher education researchers, policymakers, administrators, faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders who share a commitment to advancing the public purposes of higher education. Through convenings and roundtables, stakeholders have the opportunity to hear from one another, collaborate together on new projects, and engage in the exchange of new knowledge and research.

A Global Mindset for All: The role of MSIs in ensuring racial equity for study abroad initiatives.

Tuesday, November 17th, 6pm
The University of Pennsylvania, St. Leonard's Court, Suite 120

Join Senior Research Associate Andrés Castro Samayoa presents findings on the report on MSIs and Study Abroad.


International Education Week: Schedule of Events

Monday, November 16th- Friday, November 20th 

PennAHEAD is proud to participate in International Education Week 2015. An initiative of The State Department, IEW encourages more Americans to study abroad and promotes educational opportunities in The United States for international students. This year's theme is Access for All. Join us in person and on line throughout the week as we highlight one access point each day. Follow on Facebook and Twitter #IEW2015


International Education Week 2015: Kick off event!

Monday, November 16th, 2015 from 11:00am-2:00 pm
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education Lounge

Stop by the GSE Lounge to engage with PennAHEAD for International Education Week 2015. 
Pin your city on our interactive map, snap a picture with the flags of your study abroad destinations, and try your hand at "passport: fact or fiction" trivia to win some prizes! 

Can't make it? Share your pictures with us on Twitter #IEW2015


Women, Economic Development, and Higher Education: Tools for the Reconstruction and Transformation in post apartheid South Africa.

Wednesday, November 18th 2015 from 10:30 am- 11:30 am
University of Pennsylvania, Penn Women's Center, 3643 Locust Walk

International Education Week continues. Join PennAHEAD's senior scholar Diane Eynon for a conversation on women's participation in academia and the labor market in South Africa.

Follow the discussion on Twitter #IEW2015

Six Things You Never Knew About Kazakhstan: A conversation with visiting scholars from Nazarbayev University

Thursday, October 22nd from 12:00pm-1:30pm
St. Leonard's Court, Suite 120 (HED Conference Room)

PennAHEAD's visiting scholars from Nazarbayev University will be on hand to share their insights on culture and education in contemporary Kazakhstan. Bring your lunch and get ready for some international myth-busting!


First Generation: Film Screening and Discussion

Thursday, September 24, 2015 from 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
University of Pennsylvania, Meyerson Hall Room B1

First Generation is an award-winning documentary that captures the stories of four students who are first in their families to pursue a college education.

Join Penn AHEAD, The Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education, and Penn Admissions for a one-hour film screening, followed by a discussion facilitated by Penn AHEAD Executive Director Laura W. Perna.

You can also follow the discussion on Twitter: #PennFirstGen



Optimal Policy for Secondary Education in Developing Countries

May 6, 2015
University of Pennsylvania, Penn AHEAD

Penn AHEAD Visiting Scholar Dr. Yergali Dosmagambet from Nazarbayev University presented on how an accelerated increase in educational attainments in many East Asian countries derives from a dramatic augmentation of working population with vocational relative to general education. Dr. Dosmagambet's research explores an analytical approach to open up fresh insights into the composition of secondary education and proves the existence of an optimal trajectory that ensures a highest expansion rate of secondary education at an early stage of development.

Educational Equity in Higher Education: A National Imperative

February 3, 2015
National Press Club, Washington, DC

Dr. Margaret Cahalan, Director of The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education & Vice President for Research, Council for Opportunity in Education and Dr. Laura Perna, Executive Director of Penn AHEAD shared dialogue about findings from their new report: Indicators of Higher Education in Equity in the United States: 45-Year Report.

Race, Poverty, and Change in America: The Persistent Dilemmas of Equity and Equality

December 4, 2014- December 5, 2014
University of Pennsylvania Law School

Sponsored by Penn GSE, the Carter Chair in Child Development and Education, and the Center for Africana Studies, and co-sponsored with the Annenberg School for Communication, Penn Institute for Urban Research, Penn Law School, School of Arts and Sciences, School of Social Policy and Practice, the Wharton Sports Business Initiative-Wharton School, the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy, Center for Minority-Serving Institutions, Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education, Penn Child Center and the National Center on Fathers and Families, and Philadelphia Writing Project. Featuring Dr. Laura Perna and Dr. Matt Hartley (Moderator).

Will Reauthorization Save The Higher Education Act?

November 12, 2014
Washington, D.C.

New America’s Education Policy Program and the University of Pennsylvania Law School hosted a lively conversation on how reauthorization can be used to improve higher education and restructure the financial aid system to increase access and achieve better outcomes. Penn AHEAD Executive Director, Dr. Laura Perna, weighed in on the debate. For a live video recording of the event, please click here.

Lectures and Seminars

As Penn AHEAD scholars and center affiliates create new knowledge through their research and ongoing projects, the center holds true to its mission statement of applying what is discovered by linking research and practice. Penn AHEAD disseminates this new research to others through lectures, seminars and keynote speeches for invited guests or the general public.

Remembering Our History: The Evolution of Campus Compact and the Civic Engagement Movement

October 30, 2015
Campus Compact Heartland Conference, Kansas City, Missouri

Penn AHEAD Executive Director Matt Hartley gave a keynote address at the 2015 Campus Compact Heartland Conference on how academic communities define their educational purposes. Dr. Hartley's research focuses on academic governance and leadership in higher education, institutional mission, and civic engagement and the democratic purposes of higher education.

Increasing Higher Education Attainment for All Students: The Need for a Comprehensive Approach

October 29, 2015
Bowdoin College

Penn AHEAD's Laura Perna spoke at Bowdoin College as part of the Brodie Family Lecture Series in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of Upward Bound at Bowdoin. Her address focused on the roles of public policy and institutional practice in increasing college attainment for students of diverse populations.

To view her lecture in its entirety, please click here. To read Dr. Perna's blog about her experience at Bowdoin, please click here.

Degrees of Success: Transitioning from Vocational to Higher Education in the United Kingdom

October 13, 2015
HED Conference Room (Saint Leonard's Court)

Penn AHEAD hosted a lecture and discussion with Visiting Scholar Geoff Hayward. Professor Hayward's lecture focused on the challenges experienced by students making the transition from vocational to higher education in the UK.

Professor Hayward has been Professor of Education and Head of Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge since October 2014. His research is concerned with issues of social justice and inequality revolved around 1.) the formation and implementation of Vocational Education and Training Policy, 2.) progression from Vocational Education and Training (VET) into Higher Education and the workplace, and 3.) the design of effective VET learning environments.

                                                            To view Professor Hayward's presentation in its entirety, click here.

Improving Higher Education Attainment for All Students: Lessons from the U.S.

October 9, 2015
The Paris Institute of Political Science

AHEAD's own Laura Perna was invited to The Paris Institute of Political Science (known as SciencesPo) as a Visiting Scholar and give a keynote address at the 2015 International Conference. This year's conference focused on inequalities of access to higher education and the role of policies, institutions and markets.

Improving College Access & Attainment for Diverse Populations: The Role of Higher Education Institutions

September 18, 2015
University of Kansas- Edwards Campus

Penn AHEAD Executive Director Dr. Laura Perna delivered a keynote address at the 2015 Kansas-Missouri Summit on Access, Persistence and Completion in Higher Education. Dr. Perna's speech focused on the importance of closing the gaps in college-related outcomes that persist across demographic groups. For a summary of her speech, please click here.

Class Warfare: Driving Towards College Admissions in Top-Tier U.S. Secondary Schools

April 27, 2015
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education 

Dr. Lois Weis, State University of New York Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Education at the University of Buffalo, spoke at Penn AHEAD on April 27, 2015 on her 2014 book "Class Warfare: Class, Race, and College Admissions in U.S. Top-Tier Secondary Schools." The event was co-hosted by the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (AHEAD) and the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education. To view an excerpt of Dr. Weis' presentation, please click here.

Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series

March 30, 2015
University of Buffalo, Graduate School of Education

Penn AHEAD Executive Director Dr. Laura Perna spoke as part of the Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series. Dr. Perna's presentation focused on promoting college access and completion and the role of public policy and institutional practice. To view an excerpt of Dr. Perna's presentation, please click here.

Experiences in Kazakhstan: Through the Eyes of Dr. Matt Hartley

October 21, 2014
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education

Penn AHEAD Executive Director Dr. Matt Hartley shares his experiences conducting research in Kazakhstan with current GSE students.


China’s Rising Research Universities: A New Era of Global Ambition

September 23, 2014
University of Pennsylvania, HED Conference Room

Dr. Robert A. Rhoads, Professor of Higher Education and Organizational Change at the University of California, Los Angeles joined Penn AHEAD to discuss the rise of China’s research universities. For a video recording of the lecture, please click here.

The Attainment Agenda: State Policy Leadership in Higher Education

September 27, 2014
University of Pennsylvania, Wharton Public Policy Initiative

Penn AHEAD Executive Director Dr. Laura Perna, Institute for Research on Higher Education Director Dr. Joni E. Finney, Dean of Penn Law Dr. Wendell Pritchet and Dr. Laura Wolf-Powers from Penn Design hold a roundtable on higher education finance. For a video recording of the lecture, please click here.