2005 Keynote Speaker Biographies
National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL)
John Comings is Director of the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL), which is based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. NCSALL is funded by the U.S. Department of Education as its national research and development center focused on educational programs for adults who have low literacy and math skills, who do not speak English, or who do not have a high school diploma. Before coming to Harvard in 1996, Dr. Comings spent 12 years as Vice President of World Education, a nonprofit agency that supports adult education projects in Asia, Africa, and the United States. He has served as the director of the State Literacy Resource Center in Massachusetts, assisted in the design of instructor training programs, and directed research and development projects on both math and health in adult education programs. His research and writing is concerned with the impact of adult literacy programs and the factors that lead to that impact in the United States and in Third World countries and on factors that support student persistence in adult education programs in the U.S. He is one of the editors of the Annual Review of Adult Learning and Literacy and author of Building a Level Playing Field, Establishing and Evidence-based Adult Education System, and New Skills for a New Economy. Dr. Comings holds a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Institute of Education, University of London
John Bynner is currently Professor of Social Sciences in Education at the Institute of Education in London University and Director of the Bedford Group for Lifecourse and Statistical Studies the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, the Wider Benefits of Learning Research Centre. He was a founder member and the first director of the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy.
Previous posts include Dean of the School of Education at the Open University and Director of the Social Statistics Research Unit at City University. He was national co-ordinator of ESRC's 1985-1991 research programme, the 16-19 Initiative, which included an associated AGF-funded comparative study of transition to work in England and Germany. He was a member of the 'Moser Committee' on Adult Basic Skills and of the Social Exclusion Unit Policy Action Team on Disaffected Youth. Research interests include: basic skills, economic and political socialisation, social exclusion and comparative and longitudinal research.
Prof. David Barton is Professor of Language and Literacy in the Department of Linguistics at Lancaster University, UK, and Director of the Literacy Research Centre. He is also a founder member of the National Centre for Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC) and sits on the NRDC management board. He is interested in all aspects of literacy and in linking research and practice. Previously, he has been involved in a series of ESRC projects on literacy in adults' lives in monolingual and multilingual communities in England, including an ethnographic study of the role of reading and writing in the everyday lives of people in Lancaster, as reported in the book Local Literacies.
Education for the Province of Ontario
Ben Levin is Deputy Minister (chief civil servant) for Education for the Province of Ontario. He previously held the same position for the Province of Manitoba. After his term as Deputy Minister, Ben will return to academia to take up a Canada Research Chair in education policy and leadership at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. He is internationally known as a researcher and policy leader. His latest book, Governing Education, has just been published by the University of Toronto Press.
National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Allan Luke is Foundation Dean, Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The Centre is the largest funded educational research Centre in the Asia-Pacific. Until 2003, he was Dean of Education at the University of Queensland and Chief Educational Advisor to the Queensland Minister of Education. He was Deputy Director General of Education for Queensland in 1999-2000, and taught at James Cook University, 1984-1995. Luke was awarded an Honorary PhD for contributions to Thai education in 2000; was appointed an Honorary Professor of Beijing Normal University in 2002, and received the 2003 Annual Medal of the Australian College of Education for contributions to Australian educational reform. He is author and editor of 12 books, the most recent of which are: Struggles Over Difference (State University of New York Press) and Teaching and Learning Beyond the Nation (Erlbaum).
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
Jo Hargreaves is a Senior Project Officer with the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). NCVER collects, analyses and distributes information about vocational education and training (VET), and is Australia's leading provider of quality, independent information to government, the VET sector, industry and the community. As part of her role Jo is responsible for the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Research Program - monitoring the implementation of national adult literacy and numeracy research priorities and assisting with the promotion and dissemination of adult literacy research contributing to improved policy and practice within the VET system. Jo has been involved in the training sector for almost 15 years. Prior to joining NCVER she worked as a senior project officer for a National Industry Training Advisory Body and as a training manager for a national computer company.