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Universitas 21, international consortium of research universities
Ball State President Blaine Brownell Named To Lead U21 Subsidiary Charged With Academic Standards And Quality

October 20, 2003 -- Blaine A. Brownell, president of Ball State University, will become the first full-time chief executive officer of U21pedagogica. The announcement was made today by University of Virginia President John T. Casteen III, chairman of U21pedagogica’s board of directors. Brownell is tentatively scheduled to begin his duties Feb. 1, 2004.

U21pedagogica is a wholly owned subsidiary of Universitas 21, an international consortium of 17 leading research universities in 10 countries. Among Universitas 21’s activities is Universitas 21 Global, an online university created in partnership with The Thomson Corp. targeting students in countries without highly developed educational infrastructures.

U21pedagogica draws upon the well-established internal quality assurance processes and expertise of the Universitas 21 institutions to approve Universitas 21 Global’s courses, subjects, templates, processes, instruction and assessment, ensuring that each meets Universitas 21 quality standards.

“I am delighted at the prospect of working with 17 of the world's greatest research universities, in the most ambitious global academic consortium ever attempted, in an effort to provide higher education to students who would not otherwise have such an opportunity,” Brownell said. “This is undoubtedly a model for the future, offering an unparalleled opportunity to develop global standards for academic quality and to assist universities and governments in the area of educational standards and assessment. This is a challenge that appeals to my experience and interests, and to my commitment to international education and global collaboration.”

A historian and seasoned higher education administrator, Brownell has long been active in international education. His overseas experience includes appointments as a Fulbright Professor in American History and Urban Studies at Hiroshima University in Japan (1977-78), a visiting professor at Sichuan University in China (1987), and an academic specialist for the U.S. Information Agency in Brazil (May-June, 1985). He was editor of the International Education Forum, the journal of the Association of International Education Administrators (1998-2000). He has served on the boards of directors of both the Council for International Education Exchange and the International Student Exchange Program, and has traveled to more than 25 countries.

“In an uncommonly strong field of excellent candidates, Blaine stood out for the range and quality of his experience, for his personal commitment to excellence of the kind that U21pedagogica is charged with sustaining in distance learning, and for his vision of the future,” said Casteen in making the announcement.

“We believe that he will provide the leadership necessary now to bring top-quality Web-based courses and degree programs, priced reasonably, into the global marketplace. In the end, vast numbers of students in many nations will benefit from his work.”

Brownell became the 12th president of Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., in July 2000, and holds the rank of Professor of History and Urban Planning. For the previous two years he served as executive director of the Center for International Programs and Services and professor of history at the University of Memphis. Between 1990 and 1998 he served as provost and vice president for academic affairs and professor of history at the University of North Texas in Denton.

Between 1974 and 1990, he held a variety of academic positions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, including dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, dean of the Graduate School, director of the Center for International Programs, and founding chair of the Department of Urban Studies. His first academic appointment (1969-1974) was at Purdue University.

He holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in United States history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a B.A. degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.

As chief executive officer of U21pedagogica, Brownell will oversee the established quality-control process for approving all aspects of Universitas 21 Global’s academic offerings. He is also charged with exploring the possibility of performing similar reviews for other international higher education ventures.

“I have never encountered any other job that so closely fits my professional experience and interests,” Brownell said.

He takes over responsibilities that had been shared by Peter W. Low, a law professor and former vice president and provost at the University of Virginia, and Chris Robinson of the University of Melbourne, former director of the Universitas 21 Secretariat.

Formed in 1997, Universitas 21 has 17 member universities in 10 countries. Member universities engage in collegial activities, including student exchanges; international collaborations, including the sharing of learning materials; and entrepreneurial activities, including the founding of Universitas 21 Global.

Earlier this year, Universitas 21 Global began offering a master’s degree in business administration and has plans to add a master’s degree in information systems within the next year.

In addition to the University of Virginia, Universitas 21 universities in North America include McGill University and the University of British Columbia in Canada. European members include the universities of Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Nottingham in the United Kingdom; Lund University in Sweden; and Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg in Germany. Member universities in the Asia-Pacific region include Fudan and Beijing universities and the University of Hong Kong in China; the national University of Singapore; the universities of Melbourne, new South Wales and Queensland in Australia; and the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

FACT SHEET
U21PEDAGOGICA LTD.

  • U21pedagogica Ltd. (Pedagogica), chartered in Guernsey, the Channel Islands, with headquarters in Charlottesville, Va., was established in 2001 as an international supplier of quality assurance services to higher education.
  • Pedagogica is the exclusive provider of quality assurance services to Universitas 21 Global, a joint venture of Universitas 21 LBG and Thomson Corporation.
  • Pedagogica provides the following services to Global: accredits new, existing and newly translated programs and subjects; audits student selection and assessment processes; and certifies instructors.
  • Pedagogica is a wholly owned subsidiary of U21, an international consortium of 17 research-intensive universities in 10 countries founded in 1997.
  • U21 members are: North America--University of Virginia and McGill University and University of British Columbia in Canada; Europe--the universities of Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Nottingham in the United Kingdom; Lund University in Sweden; and Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat Freiburg in Germany; Asia-Pacific—-Fudan University, Peking University and University of Hong Kong in China; National University of Singapore; the universities of Melbourne, New South Wales and Queensland in Australia; and University of Auckland in New Zealand.
  • Universitas encourages student exchanges and greater international collaboration between members and also promotes opportunities for entrepreneurial activities.

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, U21PEDAGOGICA

As Pedagogica’s first full-time CEO, Brownell’s responsibilities will include:

  • Establishing a permanent headquarters in Charlottesville, Va.
  • Developing and implementing policies and procedures for the quality assurance programs
  • Overseeing the work of the Academic Standards Council, which has final decision-making authority within Pedagogica in the application of accreditation and quality assurance standards
  • Establishing Pedagogica as a world-class higher education enterprise and ensuring long-term profitability
  • Recruiting subject-matter experts from member universities to review products
  • Establishing and managing Pedagogica’s profile on a worldwide basis

For additional information: www.universitas21.com
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Layne Cameron
Ball State University
10/20/03

Contact: Carol Wood, (434) 924-6189

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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