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ASU goes abroad for international research project

October 02, 2009

A recent trip to Modena, Italy brought two countries, two institutions, two educational systems together. Educators in the United States and Italy agree that children are the future and have joined in an educational partnership because of that agreement.

Arizona State University and the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Unimore) worked together to accomplish a shared goal as part of their international research project MIQUA. The acronym stands for migliorare qualità, which means "to improve quality" in Italian. ASU and Unimore sought to improve the quality of the pre-university system in both the United States and Italy. 

The five-day conference started with a series of workshops focusing on the design, implementation and evaluation of education partnerships.  During these workshops, the ASU team visited Reggio Children, a mixed public-private company dedicated to improving the local infant-toddler centers, and the Laboratory of Mathematical Machines at Unimore. They focused on the importance of educational methods in the local setting as well as relationships with students and their families.

In addition to the visits, the MIQUA research team and education experts participated in a seminar called “Improving the Quality of Education: Challenges and experiences from the United States and Italy.” Among the keynote speakers was Eugene E. Garcia, the ASU Vice President for Education Partnerships.

“I discussed the overall role of federal, state and local policies in U.S. education with a particular emphasis on the augmented role of federal policy and funding in the Obama administration,” he says. “In contrast to the Italian context, the United States is investing significantly while Italy is reducing its investments.”

The project helped develop a path toward a future collaboration.

“We plan on continuing the collaboration … to generate innovations that lead to enhanced student performance and workplace competencies,” Garcia says.

The ASU team was composed of:

• Eugene E. Garcia, ASU Vice President for Education Partnerships
• Mehmet Dali Ozturk, Executive Director for Research & Evaluation, Office of the Vice President for Education Partnerships
• Sander van der Leeuw, Director for School of Human Evolution and Social Change, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
• Robert I. Donofrio, Assistant Vice President for Education Partnerships
• Michael V. Martinez, Superintendent for Cartwright Elementary School District (ASU Alpha Partner District)

To learn more about the MIQUA research project, visit:

Gitzel Puente,
(480) 965-5965
Center for Global Education Services