Section Announcements

Two announcements follow.  The first is a call for papers for a conference on “Neoliberalism and Public Higher Education” to be held at Michigan State University on March 27-28, 2015.  The second is a call for expressions of interest for research assistant positions to collect qualitative data for evaluations of programs designed to increase women’s economic empowerment in Africa.


In order to promote critical reflection and public discussions on the impact of neoliberalism on higher education, the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University (MSU) with other co-sponsors is hosting a national conference titled “Neoliberalism and Public Higher Education.” 

Call for Papers

Neoliberalism and Public Higher Education

March 27-28, 2015

Kellogg Center

East Lansing, MI 

Critical topics include the corporatization of public colleges and universities, the privatization of public higher education and its implications for democracy, performance-based budgeting and its implications for institutional governance, the impact of neoliberalism on shared governance, rising tuition rates and their implications for working class and minority students, the assault on ethnic studies and its implications for academic freedom and the curriculum, and flexible labor and the dramatic increase of adjunct faculty members. 

Types of Submissions 


Original professional papers presenting formal research results, theoretical developments or analyses, case studies, innovative practical applications, evaluations of interventions, policies or programs, and analyses of emergent issues and trends which contribute to our understanding of and point to ways to move beyond neoliberalism in public higher education . Authors should submit an abstract of no more than 300 words that includes: title, author(s) names and affiliations, email address, and phone number(s)


Panel proposals focusing on the key features of neoliberalism and higher education. Panel participants will present professional papers pertaining to the panel topic. Panel organizers should submit an abstract of no more than 500 words that includes the panel title, panel description, name and contact information of the panel organizer(s)/moderator, presenters, their affiliations and presentation titles, and the name and affiliation of the panel discussant. The ideal panel for paper presentations includes a moderator, three presenters and a discussant. 

Submission DeadlineDecember 15, 2014.

All submissions should be made electronically. Please submit them to For more information please call 517.432.1317. Information is also available at


The World Bank

Africa Region

Gender Innovation Lab

Seeking Expressions of Interest

Research Assistant (Short Term Consultant)

1. Summary

The Gender Innovation Lab (GIL) of the World Bank’s Africa Region is looking for expressions of interest for several Research Assistant positions. The Research Assistant will conduct qualitative data collection to compliment a quantitative impact evaluation of a development program designed to foster women’s economic empowerment. Opportunities for qualitative research are anticipated on programs designed to promote women’s agricultural productivity, to improve women’s business skills and profits, to increase women’s access to savings mechanisms, and to enhance women’s land tenure security. Potential research sites include Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, and Uganda. Working under the supervision of the GIL Qualitative Research Specialist, the Research Assistant will contribute to the design of the qualitative research protocol, draft qualitative data collection tools, and supervise data collection fieldwork. The Research Assistant is expected to travel to the research site for the duration of the data collection. Specifics of each assignment are to be determined. Data use agreements and compensation will be discussed on a per project basis. At this time, we are seeking expressions of interest for this type of work.

2. Background

It is the objective of the World Bank’s Africa Region to advance development for both men and women. GIL contributes to this agenda by conducting research to build evidence about what works to alleviate gender constraints to economic development. For example, we know that women’s productivity on farms in sub-Saharan Africa would increase if they used inputs at the same rate as men, but we still do not know how to most effectively increase women’s access to inputs. Increased access to improved inputs would lead to increased productivity and farm yields, with the potential to improve household food security and increase women’s economic empowerment. Similarly, on average, women entrepreneurs operate lower productivity enterprises than their male peers, and not enough is known about how best to promote economic opportunities for women-owned small businesses.

Developing effective policy responses to persistent gender gaps will require experimentation, innovation, and learning. To achieve this goal, GIL collaborates with program implementers to conduct rigorous evaluations of promising approaches to women’s economic empowerment. Complimentary qualitative research protocols will be designed to contribute in the following ways:

 Identify how to measure key concepts in the quantitative surveys

 Explain unexpected survey or evaluation results

 Analyze factors influencing program enrollment and retention

 Investigate mechanisms linking program inputs and outcomes

 Examine reasons for heterogeneous treatment effects

 Detect unintended consequences of the program

 Capture program impact from the perspective of participants

Specific goals for each qualitative research effort will be defined in collaboration with the impact evaluation and program implementation teams. All research will be related to women’s income generating activities.

3. Tasks

The Research Assistant will perform a variety of tasks which will include but will not be limited to the following:

1. Read background materials on the history and culture of people residing in the research site, and on the program that is being evaluated.

2. Conduct reviews of relevant academic literature.

3. Collaborate with the GIL Qualitative Research Specialist to define the guiding research questions and data collection procedures.

4. Meet with program implementation staff to learn more about the activities that are being evaluated.

5. Participate in recruitment and hiring of local research assistants.

6. Arrange logistics of travel to the field sites if necessary.

7. Supervise data collection, including monitoring the performance of local research assistants and analyzing data as it is collected.

8. Adjust data collection strategies as necessary to respond to lessons learned during the research, or to questions from the GIL research team.

9. Send regular field notes to the GIL Qualitative Research Specialist, detailing data collection progress and results of preliminary analyses.

10. Assemble all data (audio recordings, transcripts, typed notes, etc.) into an organized package for transmission to the GIL research team.

11. Prepare a final report detailing the guiding research questions, research process, and main findings.

12. Coordinate with the impact evaluation research team and the program implementation team.

4. Requirements

The Research Assistant should present the following minimum requirements:

 Master’s degree in sociology, economics, international development, or other related field

 PhD-level training in research methods preferred

 Training and/or experience in qualitative data collection methods

 Training and/or experience in research on income generating activities in developing country contexts

 Previous experience conducting research in Africa

 Previous experience with gender analytical work preferred

 French language skills required for some assignments

5. Time allocation

The Research Assistant positions will vary in duration, mostly ranging between 1 and 4 months of work. The Research Assistant will be based at the research site. The consultant will report to Rachael Pierotti, Qualitative Research Specialist. 

Please apply to Rachael Pierotti at ( with a CV and Cover Letter detailing research experience and interests. Only finalists will be contacted for interviews. Finalists will be notified with details about each specific assignment, including the timing of the assignment, as those details become available. No phone calls, please.

2 thoughts on “Section Announcements

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