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Global initiatives

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

  • 41 faculty and staff members have international research projects in 40 different countries.
  • During the 2014-2015 academic year, 282 students had international experiences in 41 different countries.
  • 200 students were undergraduates (approximately 26% of CEHD’s undergraduate population).
  • 82 were graduate students whose work included research, coursework, and international development projects.
  • 310 of our students are international students, hailing from 56 different countries.

Migrant and Refugee Integration in France:
The Crucial Role of History, Policy, and Education

France is home to one of the highest proportions of immigrant descendants in Europe. The history of immigration is not only a history of migrants. It's the history of the whole French society which feeds on interactions between migrants, who want to be integrated and live as real French citizens.

France is currently experiencing its capacity to welcome refugees and migrants (capacity in terms of hospitality and communication immigrant families). What does it mean to be a migrant/ refugee in France in 2017 when Europe is facing an increased flow of immigration? What are the results of integration and assimilation policies in France? How can France manage its colonial past in the context of increased migration? What is the role of French education in the integration of migrants and the successful resettlement in the new country and environment? To meet these challenges, we must work with policies based on education, employment, and social cohesion initiatives.

Cyril Norbec is the principal at a junior high school in Mantes la Jolie (50 km from Paris), and also teaches classes in special education and for young migrants (newcomers). Mr. Norbec has extensive experience working in tough areas or disadvantaged neighborhoods (in connection with the City Ministry : urban policy). He also worked as a counselor for the CEEAA for the Academy of Versailles (training session for young teachers). In 2016 Mr. Norbec was selected by the French Fulbright Commission to participate in the European Administrators Program in Washington DC and Minneapolis.

CEHD International Speaker Series

This event was held on April 8, 2017. Check back soon for upcoming events.

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


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 the International Programs Coordinator in the Office of International Initiatives and Relations at the College of Education and Human Development. Her current work in the office of International Initiatives involves development and implementation of international programs for educators and students. Dr. Aleixo leads the Global Teacher Education Program (GTEP), a short-term professional development and study abroad program designed for teachers. For the past four years the program has hosted more than 250 pre-service and in-service teachers at the UMN.

More recently Dr. Aleixo is involved with the Global Experience Opportunity (GEO) initiative, designed to offer study abroad courses for UMN students led by CEHD faculty and staff. Her work in the Office of International Initiatives focuses on exploring new opportunities for international collaboration and worldwide partnerships, particularly in the area of teacher and faculty education and training.

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Renáta Tichá

Grants and Contracts Coordinator

Renáta Tichá, Ph.D., has received a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Minnesota in Educational Psychology with emphasis on special education. She works as a Research Associate at the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. She has extensive experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of materials, i.e. assessments and interventions, for children, youth and adults with different types of disabilities. Her work with youth has been focused on the development, validation and dissemination of formative assessments, i.e. Curriculum-Based Measures and General Outcome Measures, for student with learning and significant cognitive disabilities. Dr. Tichá’s work with adults with disabilities includes implementation of observational methodologies to assess behavior patterns and secondary data analysis of a large national dataset known as the National Core Indicators.