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Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education
Elizabeth Buckner

Elizabeth Buckner
Assistant Professor


Department: Leadership, Higher and Adult Education

Research Overview

My research investigates how globalization and neoliberalism affect higher education and the states ability to develop the capacities of its citizens more broadly. I have conducted wide ranging policy-relevant research, primarily set in lower and middle-income nations, to study how globalization, neoliberalism, and large-scale displacement impacts education as core sector of human development.

My primary interest has been the privatization of higher education: I have investigated the role that global development community has played in making private higher education both an acceptable and, at times preferable, policy even in nations that once outlawed private universities.

Other recent research projects have included: policies governing urban refugee education with a focus on Lebanon (US State Department), teacher professional development policies in OECD nations (OECD-funded), the link between educational inequality and violent conflict outbreak over the past four decades (UNICEF-funded), the effect of private higher education on access to higher education in Egypt, cross-national analyses of how globalization is portrayed in textbooks over time, applied research on mobile devices as educational tools in Palestine and Tanzania, and youth attitudes to private higher education in Syria.

Academic History

PhD., Stanford University, Graduate School of Education.
M.A., Stanford University, Sociology.
B.A., Swarthmore College. Sociology/Education, with Highest Honors.

Teaching Overview

Winter 2020: Doctoral Research Seminar in Higher Education (LHA 3804)
Winter 2020: Systems of Higher Education (LHA 1806)
Fall 2019: Sociology of Higher Education (LHA 5807)
Fall 2018: Comparative Higher Education (LHA 1826)
Summer 2018: Internationalization of Higher Education in Comparative Perspective (LHA1846)
Winter 2018: Sociology of Higher Education (LHA 5807)
Winter 2018: Systems of Higher Education (LHA 1806)
Fall 2017: Introduction to Comparative, International and Development Education (CIE 1001)

Representative Publications

Buckner, Elizabeth. 2019. “The Internationalization of Higher Education – National Interpretations of a Global Model.” Comparative Education Review.

Buckner, Elizabeth and Sharon Stein. Forthcoming 2019. “What counts as internationalization? Deconstructing the Internationalization Imperative.” Journal of Studies in International Education.

Buckner, Elizabeth, Dominique Spencer and Jihae Cha. (Forthcoming) “Between Policy and Practice: The Education of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon.” Journal of Refugee Studies.

Elizabeth Buckner. 2018. “The growth of private higher education in North Africa: a comparative analysis of Morocco and Tunisia.” Studies in Higher Education, 43(7):1295-1306.

Julia C. Lerch and Elizabeth Buckner 2018. “From education for peace to education in conflict: changes in UNESCO discourse, 1945–2015.” Globalisation, Societies and Education. 16(1): 27-48.

Buckner, Elizabeth. 2017. “The Worldwide Rise of Private Higher Education: Patterns of Higher Education Institution Foundings by Sector.” Sociology of Education. 90(4): 296-314.

Buckner, Elizabeth. 2017. “The Changing Discourse on Higher Education and the Nation-State, 1960-2010.” Higher Education. 74(3): 473-489.

Hatch, R. Elizabeth Buckner and Carina Omoeva. 2017. “The Limits of Redistributive School Finance Policy in South Africa.” Journal of Education in Emergencies 1(3): 79-105.

Buckner, Elizabeth and Rebecca Hodges. 2016. “Cheating or cheated? Surviving secondary exit exams in a neoliberal era.” Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education. 46(4): 603-623.

Jackson, Michelle and Elizabeth Buckner. 2016. “Opportunity without Equity: Educational Inequality and Constitutional Protections in Egypt.” Sociological Science 3: 730-756.

Buckner, Elizabeth and Lina Khatib. 2014. “The Martyrs’ Revolution: The Role of Martyrs in the Arab Spring.” The British Journal of Middle East Studies 41(4): 368-384.

Buckner, Elizabeth. 2013. “Access to Higher Education in Egypt: Examining Trends by University Sector.” Comparative Education Review. 57(3): 527-552.

Buckner, Elizabeth. 2013. “The Seeds of Discontent: Examining Youth Perceptions of Higher Education in Syria.” Comparative Education. 49(4): 440-463.

Buckner, Elizabeth and Garnett Russell. 2013. “Portraying the Global: Cross-National Depictions of Globalization and Global Citizenship, 1970-2007.” International Studies Quarterly. 57(4): 738-750.

Meet Elizabeth - Watch the Video



Research Grants and Contracts

SSHRC (2018-2022): Partners for Development or Privatizing the Public Good? The Role of Private Higher Education in the Global Knowledge Economy

This four-year SSHRC-funded mixed-methods study investigates the growth and effects of private higher education around the world. The project will advance theoretical understanding in the sociology of HE on the relationship between privatization and HE outcomes and generate evidence-informed policy and programmatic recommendations at the national and sub-national levels for ensuring equity and quality. Concretely, the project will:

1) Create a unique dataset that compiles cross-national data on student enrollments, disaggregated by public and private sector from 1960-2015;
2) Investigate the effects of private HE expansion on nation-level outcomes, including: overall access to HE; disparities in access to HE; the distribution of student concentrations; labor market outcomes; research output; and quality assurance reforms;
3) Analyze how specific national and sub-national policies governing private HE expansion balance between access, equity, and quality, to identify promising policies and practices.

Honours and Awards

2013 Spencer Dissertation Fellowship
2012 Boren Fellowship
2012 CAORC Multi-Country Fellowship
2011 National Science Foundation (NSF) Dissertation Improvement Grant. Sociology