Egyptian educators come to FSU under State Department program to study U.S. community college system

CCAP Egypt

President John Thrasher, at right, accepts a commemoration honoring FSU during a luncheon welcoming the Egyptian education administrators. From left: Dr. Nouran Abd El Hamid Ibrahim of Mansoura University; Anthony Koliha, director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Educational Programs; Dr. Ibrahim Elbesoumy of Alexandria Technical Institute; and Professor Dr. Essam Khamis Alhanash, deputy minister of higher education and research, Arab Republic of Egypt.

Florida State University President John Thrasher welcomed to campus a delegation of Egyptian educators who are at FSU to study the U.S. community colleges.

“It is an honor to host this program because we know how important community colleges can be in opening doors to new opportunities for so many people, whether in Egypt or here in the United States,” Thrasher said.

The educators are at FSU as part of a U.S. Department of State exchange program, administered by FSU’s Learning Systems Institute in a partnership with Santa Fe College.

“Higher Education is a wonderful tool of international diplomacy,” Thrasher told the 20 higher-education administrators, “and we’ve been proud to be part of this State Department effort.”

This is the sixth international group the Learning Systems Institute has brought to campus under the Community College Administrator Program. Educators from Indonesia, India, Ukraine, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have studied previously under the State Department initiative.

The program offers international educators an intensive study of U.S. community colleges, using Florida’s colleges as a model. This week the higher-education administrators started an overview that includes conversations with Florida Legislature leaders and senior policy-makers with the Florida community college system.

“Our goals with the Community College Administrator Program include exploring aspects of the U.S. higher education system, the complexities of community college administration and the challenges of day-to-day administration,” said Jeffrey Ayala Milligan, Ph.D., director of the Learning Systems Institute. “We will also encourage ongoing collaboration between Egypt and the United States on issues involved in access to higher education.”

Later, the Egyptian educators will continue their study at Santa Fe College, with a five-week seminar on key elements of community college leadership.

Milligan noted that the Learning Systems Institute would continue the Community College Administrator Program with four additional nations. Educators from Pakistan will come to FSU through the State Department exchange program later this year, with groups from other nations to follow.

“We continue to support this model because we believe it is an effective means for us to showcase the U.S. community college system…,” said Anthony Koliha, director of the Office of Global Educational Programs in the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. “We believe the community college system is a robust segment of U.S. higher education and that it provides great solutions for expanding access to higher education, for providing vocational and technical training, for providing lifelong training and retraining opportunities and for engaging in workforce development.”

Koliha said the State Department does not expect Egypt or any other nation to replicate the U.S. system, but “we hope that in part this model will give you an understanding of things you might take back to Egypt.”

Vilma Fuentes, Ph.D., assistant vice president for academic affairs at Santa Fe College, said the program provided opportunities for Santa Fe students and faculty to connect with others from around the world, to explore shared interests and to discover common ground in the field of education.

“The Community College Administrator Program is an educational and cultural exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State that allows regular Americans to engage in citizen-to-citizen diplomacy, showcase American culture and values, and extend a hand of friendship to people from other parts of the world,” Fuentes said. “It is the most personally and professionally rewarding program I have been involved in.”

Learn more about the Community College Administrator Program at

Educators from Egypt come to FSU to study how Florida provides access to higher education

Florida State University welcomes to campus 20 higher-education leaders from Egypt, who arrive this weekend to begin six weeks of study under the Community College Administrator Program, a U.S. Department of State exchange program.

Administered by FSU’s Learning Systems Institute, working with Santa Fe College in Gainesville, the program offers international educators an intensive study of Florida’s community college system and how it provides access to college study and university degrees.

Learn more about the program at

USAID publishes online elements of LSI’s work in Ethiopia

Teacher educators in Addis Ababa revise one of seven modules, or textbook chapters, developed by LSI’s team working in collaboration with Ethiopian education experts.


The Learning Systems Institute’s work in support of the READ TA project in Ethiopia is now available online from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The documents are on the USAID’s Development Experience Clearinghouse, a repository of technical reports and other publications produced with USAID funding. USAID is the lead U.S. agency that works to end extreme poverty and to support democratic societies around the world.

READ TA — Reading for Ethiopia’s Achievement Developed Technical Assistance — is a five-year project supported by USAID and implemented by RTI International and its partners, including Florida State University’s Learning Systems Institute.

LSI supports READ TA and the Ethiopian Ministry of Education in its efforts to develop a nationwide reading and writing program in grades 1 through 8. The project is expected to reach 15 million children in all schools and all regions of Ethiopia.

USAID has placed several documents created by LSI’s team in Ethiopia of its Development Experience Clearinghouse, including:

  • Cognitive development and literacy skills Module 1: MT 201 (Latin) [Reading for Ethiopia’s Achievement Developed Technical Assistance (READTA)]RTI International, Florida State University —
  • Teaching speaking and listening in primary schoolModule 3: TMT 224[Reading for Ethiopia’s Achievement Developed Technical Assistance (READ TA)]RTI International, Florida State University

“We have been working in Ethiopia since 2013,” said Flavia Ramos-Mattoussi, Ed.D., Senior Research Associate at the Learning Systems Institute and Principal Investigator/Project Manager on FSU’s role in the READ-TA project. “First, trying to understand the context surrounding students, teachers, and those institutions responsible for producing the teachers of the future. We came to Ethiopia with a team of teacher educators and specialists in reading/literacy. Our task was to reform the pre-service teacher education system, including 36 Colleges of Teacher Education, develop course content and textbooks, and train the teacher educators to apply the new methods and materials in alignment with the primary school curriculum. Not a simple task, to say the least.”

Nearly five years later, LSI’s has trained 250 teacher educators and produced seven modules for the pre-service teacher education program nationwide.

“The FSU team worked very closely with the local people, educators and policymakers, who made sure what has been produced is relevant and culturally and linguistically appropriate to teachers and students alike,” Ramos-Mattoussi said. “And we did all this is seven national languages.”

Ramos-Mattoussi, who returns to Ethiopia next week, said she was pleased that educators worldwide now have access to the RTI International/FSU documents.

“I’m very happy when I see some of the work we did in Ethiopia, under the READ TA project implemented by RTI international, now made publicly accessible on DEC,” she said.

To see all READ-TA documents posted by USAID, visit and search  “READ TA.”

Read more about LSI’s work in Ethiopia at

LSI’s experts in international education participate in CIES conference


Jeffrey Ayala Milligan, Ph.D., director of the Learning Systems Institute, and other LSI faculty are participating this week in the Comparative and International Education Society’s conference in Atlanta, giving presentations on LSI’s work in a variety of nations.

The Comparative and International Education Society is the premier academic and professional organization for experts in international education.

In addition to Director Milligan, attending are:

  • Flavia Ramos-Mattoussi, Ed.D., Senior Research Associate and Associate Director of LSI’s Center for International Studies in Educational Research & Development. Dr. Milligan is director of the center.
  • Helen N. Boyle, Ph.D., Associate Professor of International and Comparative Education.
  • Stephanie Simmons Zuilkowski, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Comparative Education and International Development.
  • Adrienne Barnes, Ph.D., Reading and Literary Specialist.
  • Marion Fesmire, Ed.D., Associate in Research, now retired but still active in LSI’s current projects.
  • Carla Parades, doctoral candidate in Education Policy and Evaluation, who assists with a number of LSI projects.

LSI’s history of work abroad reaches back to the 1960s with pioneering projects in Asia.

Today, LSI works to improve learning and instruction in a number of developing countries through international partners with government, universities, and non-governmental organizations.

LSI’s on-the-ground international experience is extensive. Learn more at

LSI’s Trey Foerster, other volunteers to talk about Peace Corps

This evening, Trey Foerster, FSU’s Peace Corps Recruiter and a member of the Learning Systems Institute’s staff, and some of Tallahassee’s Peace Corps volunteers will talk about their countries of service, their projects and their experiences in the Peace Corps.

Meet the volunteers, talk with Peace Corps regional recruiter Grant Matthews and learn about this distinguished form of public service at 6-9 p.m. at the Grasslands Brewing Co., 603 W. Gaines St.


LSI continues work on teacher education in Northern Nigeria

Adrienne E. Barnes of the Learning Systems Institute at the College of Education, Kangere, in the Bauchi state of Nigeria, where LSI is working to improve teacher education.
Dr. Barnes visits with students at a school in Bauchi state, where she was observing the teaching of the Mu Karanta! Let’s Read! curriculum.

Adrienne E. Barnes, Ph.D., a Reading and Literacy Specialist with FSU’s Learning Systems Institute, recently returned from Nigeria, where she is part of LSI’s work in three states in the north of Nigeria that have struggled with educational quality as well as regional instability.

Dr. Barnes is part of LSI’s work to help with teacher training and curriculum development in Hausa and English reading instruction, employing the latest research and best practices.

Helen N. Boyle, Ph.D., Associate Professor of International and Comparative Education and a member of LSI’s research faculty, is the principal investigator on LSI’s role in the Northern Education Initiative Plus project administered by Creative Associates International.

Learn more about FSU’s work with the Nigeria Northern Education Initiative Plus at

Educators from Pakistan to visit FSU as part of LSI’s Community College Administrator Program

Jeffrey Ayala Milligan, Ph.D., is a professor in FSU’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Director of the Learning Systems Institute.

Learning Systems Institute Director Jeffrey Ayala Milligan is in Pakistan this week, conducting fieldwork in preparation for a visit to Florida by a delegation of education leaders later this year.

The Pakistani officials will be latest to take part in the Community College Administrators Program conducted by Florida State University and Santa Fe College and supported by the U.S. Department of State.

The program provides education leaders from abroad a week of intense study of the development, organization and administration of Florida’s system of community colleges, followed by five weeks of training in key elements of community-college leadership.

So far, educators and administrators from Indonesia, India, Ukraine, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru have taken advantage of the State Department’s program.

Also this year, education experts from Egypt will come to FSU and Santa Fe College to take part in the program.

Learn more about the Community College Administrator Program at

LSI’s Ramos-Mattoussi returns to Ethiopia to work on reading and writing initiative

Dr. Dawit Mekonnen of the University of Addis Ababa and FSU National Coordinator in Ethiopia, Dr. Flavia Ramos-Mattoussi, center, the principal investigator on FSU’s element of the Read-TA project, and Dr. Marion Fesmire of FSU Panama City wear gowns and scarves given them by their colleagues in Ethiopia, where FSU has been working since 2013 on an ambitious reading-and-writing program.

Flavia Ramos-Mattoussi of the Learning Systems Institute returns to Addis Ababa this weekend to continue work with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education on a far-reaching reading-and-writing program that will reach 15 million children in the African nation.

Since 2013, Dr. Ramos-Mattoussi and LSI colleagues Dr. Marion Fesmire and Dr. Adrienne Barnes have worked with the Reading for Ethiopia’s Achievement Developed Project in Ethiopia. READ TA is a five-year project supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented by RTI International and its partners, including Florida State University.

While in Addis Ababa, Dr. Ramos-Mattoussi, a senior research associate at LSI, will guide a team of graphic designers to produce the final version of the module designed for teacher instruction, developed by the FSU/LSI team of Dr. Fesmire, Dr. Barnes, Dr. Shannon Hall-Mills and Dr. Dawit Mekonnen,  a professor of education at the University of Addis Ababa and FSU’s National Coordinator on this project. The course-module has been piloted at 36 Colleges of Teacher Education in Ethiopia.

LSI faculty involved in the READ TA project have presented their work at international conferences.

Dr. Ramos-Mattoussi has been invited by the USAID Education Office in Washington to present LSI’s work in Ethiopia at the USAID’s panel on teacher education at the Comparative and International Education Conference (CIES) in Atlanta, GA on March 5-9.

FCR-STEM & on Discover Channel


FCR–STEM’s work with was featured today on the Discovery Channel’s NewsWatch Television. is a commercial partner that licenses FCR–STEM’s 3D curriculum and offers it commercially to others. develops the 3D models, FCR–STEM creates the curriculum and together they form instructional math and science kits.

Watch the Discovery Channel clip at