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British Higher Education Expert to Bring Reform Message to U.Va. Thursday

September 22, 2009 — Higher education expert Sir Christopher Ball comes to the University of Virginia Thursday to discuss "Universities in a Global Society." His talk, free and open to the public, will begin at 5 p.m. in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom.

Ball, whose talk is sponsored by U.Va.'s Office of the Vice Provost for International Programs, is a leading thinker and reformer of education policy.

"Sir Christopher Ball has probably done more to influence university curriculum development than any single individual in our time," said Gowher Rizvi, U.Va.'s vice provost for international programs. "One can disagree with his views, but no one can ignore his provocative questioning of the purpose of higher education."

Ball, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, has served as an adviser to Prime Minister John Major and held numerous other prestigious positions in higher education institutions. He is the founder of England's national Campaign for Learning and served as chairman of The Global University Alliance in 2000.

Born in 1935 and educated at Oxford University, Ball went on to become an academic and a policymaker, with interests in early learning, brain science, higher education and learning in the workplace.

In an interview in the publication Effecting Change in Higher Education, Ball was asked what he thought were the barriers to change in higher education. He said people who doubt that change will promote their self-esteem will not readily enter into what he called a "change situation." He also said people who cannot see an example to follow will not be motivated to change.

— By Jane Kelly

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