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Global initiatives

The University of Minnesota’s education program in the College of Education and Human Development ranks #3 in the world, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2017 report. Only prestigious private universities Harvard and Stanford are ranked higher, making CEHD the highest rated public education program in the world.

CEHD is a comprehensively international college, with global aspects integrated into teaching, research, and outreach efforts. Our most recent data indicates:

  • During the 2016-2017 academic year, 256 students had international experiences in 47 different countries. 200 students were undergraduates.
  • 56 were graduate students whose work included research, coursework, and international development projects.
  • 270 of our students are international students.

Special Education in Cameroon: Success and Struggles in Leading a School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

This talk will highlight the challenges of hearing/speech challenged children in Cameroon in two inclusive Catholic Schools in the English speaking region. Cameroon is a bilingual country in Central Africa bordered by Nigeria to the west; the Central African Republic to the east; and Congo to the south. It is rich in culture and geographical diversity.

Currently Cameroon is experiencing a civil unrest between the English and French speaking regions. The conflict has had damaging consequences on the school system and educational experiences of students. Sister Charity Mbarah, school coordinator, will share her perspective on the current situation in Cameroon and her experience with special education. Listen as she talks about the challenges of deafness and her experience as principal of the Morning Star School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Akum Bamenda Cameroon. A longtime partner of CEHD International Initiatives, the school has been the placement site for graduate students doing summer internships as part of the Mary T. Scholars program.

Rev. Sister Charity Mbarah ( M.S.H.R) a Roman Catholic Nun of the Order Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary is a Linguistic graduate of Alvan Ikoku University Owerri Nigeria and graduate of social work/community development of University of Nigeria Nsukka. She is a Nigerian but on Mission in Cameroon. She has been a Nun for 23 years. After her Religious Formation and profession in 1995 and studies in Nigeria, she worked with street people under Caritas for 2 years in Nigeria. Following a short course/training on Clinical pastoral Education in St. Vincent teaching Hospital Dublin she served 2 years in MSHR old Peoples home Dublin caring for the sick and the elderly. She was missioned to Cameroon from Dublin in 2003. She taught English Language and English Literature in St. John Bosco’s College Kumbo Cameroon for 2 years. She worked for 10 years as the coordinator of Morning star school for the deaf and hard of hearing Akum Bamenda Cameroon before she started the Holy Rosary integrated comprehensive technical college Bamenda, where she is presently a Principal. Sr. Charity’s dream has been to be the voice of the voiceless children. In her work as a formator and Principal she tries to inspire the local people to share in her dreams for the vulnerable children and become advocates of children with disabilities so that they can exercise their rights to equal participation in education and social life.

Mr. N’nyapule’s connection to the University of Minnesota dates back to 1983 when he started a 10 month Humphrey Fellowship at the then Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

CEHD International Speaker Series

Friday, September 14, 2018
Burton Hall, Room 227
12:00 - 1:00 PM

Free and open to all, no RSVP necessary, lunch provided.

Our global initiatives staff and leadership bring timely and relevant speakers from around the world to address pressing, interconnected topics. For more information, contact the Office of International Initiatives and Relations at

Mary Tjosvold Fellowship 2018: Thailand

The Mary Tjovold ("Mary T.") Scholars program is one of the few study abroad programs at the University of Minnesota that provides graduate students an opportunity to engage in graduate-level professional development through community-based work in a foreign country. With airfare and most living expenses included in the program, this is not only a unique opportunity to build cultural awareness, but one of the most affordable opportunities for graduate student participation.

All CEHD graduate students are eligible to apply for this program. Learn more about the program, and the 2018 work in Chiang Khong, Thailand.

CEHD students in Thailand
Crystal Lee, PhD student in OLPD in the Higher Education program. Lisa Thao, Master of Social Work


We partner with institutions from across the globe in exchanges, teaching, and research. See some of our program partnerships.

If you're interested in a partnership between your institution and CEHD, contact Marina Alexio at

Global Teacher Education Program

Our Global Teacher Education Program (GTEP) is a professional development program for educators. This intensive program provides participants the opportunity to learn about innovative teaching strategies and assessments used in U.S. schools, develop further their English language proficiency, and engage in experiential learning through classroom observations and school internships.

Learn more about GTEP

Visiting scholars

Scholars from around the world join our college community each year to further our research and teaching. Read profiles of our 2017 scholars.

Each of our departments has its own policies and procedures for working with international scholars. If you're interested in being a visiting scholar, please contact the department directly.

About us

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Laura Coffin Koch

Director of International Initiatives

Laura Coffin Koch was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines, working with elementary teachers trying to improve mathematics instruction in the schools. Dr. Koch earned a Ph.D. in education and was invited to join the faculty of the University of Minnesota in 1987.

Dr. Koch is a Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota. Currently, Professor Koch is the director of international initiatives for the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota.

For 15 years she served as the associate vice provost for undergraduate education at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. In that position, she had responsibility for Freshman Seminars, Orientation and First Year Programs, the SMART Learning Commons, the Center for Academic Planning and Exploration, the President’s Emerging Scholars program, and campus-wide student services initiatives. Dr. Koch has also served as the Interim Director of Academic Counseling and Student Services for Intercollegiate Athletics.

During the 1999-2000 academic year, Dr. Koch was an American Council of Education Fellow. In 2000, Dr. Koch was appointed by the Secretary of Defense to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. Dr. Koch has travelled around the world and worked with a number of international programs. For the past eleven years, has taken groups of University of Minnesota on study abroad classes to Italy and Turkey.

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Marina Aleixo

Program Director

Marina B. Aleixo is Program Director of International Initiatives and Relations at the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at the University of Minnesota. Her work involves developing and negotiating global partnerships on behalf of CEHD with institutions from around the world. As program director, her focus is on developing new opportunities for international collaboration, research, and worldwide partnerships, particularly in the area of teacher and faculty education and training. Dr. Aleixo also leads the Global Teacher Education Program (GTEP) initiative, a short-term professional development program designed for international educators.

Dr. Aleixo’s research and scholarship explores the experiences of immigrant students and families. Currently she is involved in two international research projects. Multi-national Exploration of the School Experience of Somali Immigrant and Refugee Students examines the experience of Somali youth in Sweden, Netherlands, and England. The study explores how immigration policies in each country impact these school experiences. Supporting Refugees through Family Separation: Ambiguous Loss for Cambodian American Minnesotans documents the experience of recently deported Cambodian refugees in Cambodia, and their families left behind in Minnesota. Domestically, Dr. Aleixo has been involved in a collaborative multi-institutional research study that documents the college experiences of immigrant students.

Dr. Aleixo teaches courses that explore immigration policy and its impact on student school and community experiences. Her course, Borderland, Education Policy, and the Immigrant Student Experience examines the historical marginalization of immigrant and underrepresented students and families in the US educational system. This spring semester course also includes a one-week experience over spring break to Tucson, Arizona where students work with organizations that support migrants during the border crossing process. Dr. Aleixo also teaches Taste of South Korea: Culture, Language, and Education, a comparative international education course that evaluates and compares current US and Korean educational systems. The course also explores the historical background of Korean education, and its impact on current social, political and educational policies.

  • CI 5150 Borderland, Education Policy, and the Immigrant Student Experience
  • EDHD 3100/5100 Taste of South Korea: Culture, Language, and Education

Selected Publications

Stebleton, S. & Aleixo, M. (2016). Black African Immigrant College Students' Perceptions of Belonging at a Predominately White Institution (PWI). Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.

Stebleton, S. & Aleixo, M. (2015). Examining undocumented Latino/a student interactions with faculty and institutional agents. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 1-18.

Aleixo, M., Hansen, S., Horii, S. & Un, S. (2014). Theory ain’t practice: Four novice researchers navigate dilemmas of representation within immigrant populations. Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education, 8, 32-43.