Alex Usher is president of Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA), a consulting firm which advises governments, institutions, and corporations in the higher education sector on policy and strategy, including in the area of internationalization.
Alex's practice is global in scope. In student assistance and higher education finance, he has provided assistance to Canadian governments as well as governments and other organizations on five continents, including Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Romania, Tanzania, Uganda, Indonesia, Jordan, and the Solomon Islands. He has also written a number of important global comparative works on cost-sharing in higher education, most notably three editions of Global Higher Education Rankings: Affordability and Accessibility in Comparative Perspective.
In 2009, he authored the European/North American theme document for the decennial UNESCO conference on higher education, entitled Ten Years Back and Ten Years Forward. In 2014 he published, in conjunction with the German research center DZHW, a major research report for the European Commission entitled Do changes in cost-sharing have an impact on the behavior of students and higher education institutions?, a project which involved nine in-depth national case studies.
In addition to his work on student assistance, Mr. Usher has also worked extensively in the field of rankings, quality measurement, and performance indicators. For six years, he partnered with The Globe and Mail (Toronto) on its "Canadian University Report" rankings and in 2012 published Canada’s first-ever field-normalized research rankings. He was a founding board member of the International Rankings Expert Group and is a member of the advisory committee of the Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Rankings of World Universities. He works frequently for the World Bank and other development agencies in Asia and Africa, and regularly partners with international companies on various higher education projects. He also writes a popular daily commentary on Canadian higher education called One Thought to Start Your Day. He is based in Toronto, Canada.
José Celso Freire Junior
José Celso Freire Junior, PhD, is associate provost for international affairs and associate professor of electrical engineering at São Paulo State University (UNESP). He was formerly head of the department of electrical engineering in the School of Engineering at UNESP Guaratinguetá and coordinator of the undergraduate program. He is also the president of FAUBAI (Brazilian Association for International Education) and as such has participated as a panelist at several international conferences such as Going Global, EAIE, AIEA, CAIE, and NAFSA.
Freire Junior is an electrical engineering graduate from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). He has a master’s degree in computer science from the University of São Paulo (USP) and a PhD in software engineering from the Université de Grenoble I (Joseph Fourier University) in France.
Laura Howard is president (2014-2016) of the European Association for International Education (EAIE), where she has been actively involved holding several volunteer leadership positions since 2006. She currently holds a lecturing post in the University of Cadiz – UCA, Spain. Laura has over 15 years’ experience in international relations management, holding several posts within the UCA: Director of European Projects, Director of International Relations and General Director of External Promotion. On a national level, she chaired the Commission for International Promotion created within the International Relations Commission of the Spanish Rectors’ Conference from 2008 until 2010 and was part of the initial advisory committee to Universidad.es, a public sector foundation for the international promotion of Spanish universities. She has published and presented at international conferences extensively on many issues related to international higher education. Laura is one of the authors of the recently published report Internationalisation of Higher Education prepared for the European Parliament.
Douglas Palmer, PhD, is vice president for academic affairs and professor of history at Walsh University. Prior to his current position, he served as assistant dean of academic innovation, chair of the Division of Humanities, special assistant to the provost for global learning, and executive director of global learning. Palmer teaches classes in European and world history, specializing in economic and social history. His most recent research and teaching has focused on food and hunger issues. In 2004-2005, Palmer was a research fellow at the Emory University School of Law and in 2001-2002, he was a Fulbright scholar in Utrecht, the Netherlands. He holds a PhD from The Ohio State University, an MA from the University of Oregon, and a BA from the University of North Carolina-Asheville.
Kavita Pandit is associate provost for faculty affairs at Georgia State University. Her prior positions were associate provost for international education at the University of Georgia and senior vice provost at the State University of New York System. Pandit is a geographer with academic interests in the areas of international economic development, population, and immigration. Born and educated in Mumbai, India, she earned a bachelor's degree in architecture from Bombay University, a master's degree in city and regional planning and a PhD in geography, both from the Ohio State University.
Mike Proctor, JD, is vice president for global initiatives at the University of Arizona. Mike facilitates the implementation of international programs in a wide range of areas, including large research initiatives, faculty mobility, study abroad, student exchange, passports and visas, and strategic multinational collaborations. Mike’s office also supports all incoming international students (from 113 countries this year), and over 1200 visiting scholars annually.
Mike also has an appointment in the UA’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment, has taught in the UA Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science and the UA College of Education. Mike has a long affiliation with the University of Arizona, including a 1983 bachelor's degree in renewable natural resources, and a 1988 JD. He has worked in natural resource positions in Arizona and New Mexico, and practiced law for 12 years, including five years in private practice and seven years as a UA attorney.
Jeff Riedinger, JD, PhD, is the vice provost for global affairs and professor of law at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has leadership and administrative responsibility for the University of Washington’s diverse global programming, including support for international research, study abroad, student and faculty exchanges, and overseas centers. He works with colleagues across the university to develop and sustain strategic partnerships with universities, corporations, foundations, government agencies, and nongovernmental organization to advance cross-college and cross-continent research, teaching, and engagement collaborations that address some of the world’s most pressing problems. Riedinger is former chair of NAFSA’s International Education Leadership Knowledge Community. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Commission on International Initiatives for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). Riedinger earned a BA at Dartmouth College, a JD at the University of Washington, and a PhD at Princeton University.
Ashish K. Vaidya, PhD, was named provost and vice president for academic affairs at St. Cloud State University in July 2015. Dr. Vaidya is the university’s chief academic officer and serves as the institutional leader in the president’s absence.
Previously he served as special adviser to the president for regional economic development at California State University, Los Angeles. He was formerly the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Cal State LA and served in a variety of leadership positions at Cal State Channels Islands (dean of the faculty, MBA director, and founding director of the Center for International Affairs).
Dr. Vaidya holds a master’s degree and PhD in economics from the University of California, Davis. In June 2008, Dr. Vaidya successfully completed the Management and Leadership in Education (MLE) program offered by the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.