Date: 5th February, 2024 (Monday)
Time: 8:00 p.m. (GMT+8)
Mode: Online (via ZOOM)
Speakers: Professor Philip Altbach, Professor Jamil Salmi, Professor Maria Yudkevich (Center for International Higher Education)
Chair: Dr. Hugo Horta (The University of Hong Kong)


Academic excellence initiatives (AEIs)—special government-sponsored programs to improve research universities—have provided billions of dollars to top universities and represent perhaps the most significant effort in the past half-century to jump-start academic research. Academic Star Wars analyzes AEIs in nine European and Asian countries, including China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Denmark, France, Germany, and Russia, offering insights into the successes and problems of these initiatives, as well as into the broader system of higher education itself.

In this webinar, the three editors will share some of the main findings of the book and engage participants in a discussion of some of the implications.

About the Speakers

Philip G. Altbach is Emeritus Professor and Distinguished Fellow at the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, where from 1994 to 2015 he was the Monan University Professor. He was the 2004-2006 Distinguished Scholar Leader for the New Century Scholars initiative of the Fulbright program, was given the Houlihan award for distinguished contributions to international education by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the Bowen distinguished career award by the Association for the Study of Higher Education, and has been a senior associate of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He has taught at Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin, and the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is author of Global Perspectives on Higher Education, Turmoil and Transition, Student Politics in America, among other books. He also co-edited (with Jamil Salmi) The Road to Academic Excellence, (with Michael Bastedo and Patricia Gumport) American Higher Education in the 21st Century, and other books. Dr. Altbach holds the B.A., M.A. and Ph.D degrees from the University of Chicago.

Jamil Salmi is a global tertiary education expert providing policy advice to governments, universities, and development agencies, with experience working in more than 105 countries all over the world. Until January 2012, he was the World Bank’s tertiary education coordinator. Dr. Salmi is Emeritus Professor of higher education policy at Diego Portales University in Chile and Research Fellow at Boston College’s Center for Higher Education. His 2017 book focused on Tertiary Education and the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2020, he wrote a report on the impact of Covid on higher education through the equity lens for the Lumina Foundation. His latest book documents innovative equity promotion initiatives at the institutional level across the world. His next book, coedited with Phil Altbach and Maria Yudkevich and to be published shortly by MIT Press, is entitled Academic Star Wars: Excellence Initiatives in Global Perspectives.

Maria Yudkevich is a research fellow at the Center for International Higher Education, Boston College and a leading expert in the field of higher education. Her research interests are in the academic profession and university governance in comparative multi-country perspective. She is an author of numerous publications in leading academic journals in higher education and related disciplines (including Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, Scientometrics, PLOS One, Journal of Informetrics, Higher Education Quarterly and others) and a coauthor of many books including “Higher Education in Russia” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022) and recently published “Academic Star Wars. Excellence Initiatives in Global Perspective” (MIT Press, 2023).

Video Recording: