Areas of Focus

International Education Research Initiative: Areas of Focus

Emerging from a collaboration research grant supported by the Institute for Educational Initiatives and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the International Education Research Initiative seeks to bridge research with policy and practice. Working in partnership with a growing network of colleagues internationally, we aim to strengthen the developing field of international and comparative education by considering in the significant role of faith-based educational institutions within a pluralistic global society. 

Areas of Focus


1. Studying the Role of Faith-based Education

We aim to study the contributions of faith-based educational actors globally and with particular attention to those serving marginalized and vulnerable populations. These actors have been foundational historically throughout the Global South, and their substantive role in education continues today.

2. Exploring Comparative Education Law & Policy

We aim to document and map the legal and policy landscapes that govern the organization, operation, and funding of faith-based educational institutions internationally. Legal rules and policy conditions vary considerably from country to country, with drastically differential impacts on the quality, equity, access, and freedom of education. 

3. Forming International Educational Leaders

We aim to form the next generation of school- and system-level leaders by piloting and studying programs in educational leadership that leverage cross-national experiences and promote school and systems improvement of faith-based education. 


Exploring the Role of Faith-based Education

Despite educating tens of millions of the most vulnerable children across the world, faith-based providers of education have rarely been the subject of systematic and empirical research. In particularly, Catholic schools represent the largest non-governmental provider of education globally, serving more than 65 million K-12 students annually. This focus area pursues a collaborative, interdisciplinary research effort that studies the role and contribution of faith-based schools internationally, both currently and historically.

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Exploring Comparative Education Law & Policy

Educational pluralism is a norm in the organization of education systems that embraces a diversity of forms of educational provision beyond the exclusive role of state-provided schooling and allows for distinctive philosophical, cultural, and religious perspectives in the provision of education. This focus area involves comparative international research and engagement on issues pertaining to educational pluralism, including the funding and regulation of faith-based educational institutions cross-nationally, the elaboration of principles, as well as legal and governance approaches to educational pluralism in international and cross-national contexts.

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Catholic School


An emerging area of practice, partnership, and research is related to cross-national collaborations surrounding engaging and supporting Catholic school and system leaders through formation programs and cross-national experiences.

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