UMass Boston

Institute Staff

Wenfan Yan, PhD, State University of New York at Buffalo

Yan is director of the Institute for International and Comparative Education and professor in the Department of Leadership in Education at UMass Boston. His research focuses on the international comparative study of leadership as well as the effectiveness of P-16 education, and integrates both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and a variety of statistical analysis techniques. The Chinese government has supported his research on the role of leadership in strategic planning, academic program development, and organizational change.

Gerardo Blanco Ramírez, EdD, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Blanco Ramírez is assistant professor in the Department of Leadership in Education at UMass Boston. He studies the effects of international quality practices in higher education, such as accreditation and rankings, on the existing hierarchical relations between Global North and Global South. His work incorporates critical and postcolonial perspectives to the analysis of globalization and internationalization in higher education systems. His research relies on qualitative inquiry methods. He has authored or co-authored articles that document the complexities of higher education leadership and internationalization in different countries, including China, Mexico, and the Philippines. He has served as a consultant for organizations and higher education institutions in El Salvador and Bangladesh. He has also participated in expert panels on higher education evaluation and accreditation in Germany. Originally from Mexico, Ramírez earned his bachelor’s degree at the Universidad de las Américas Puebla. His EdD degree is in educational policy and leadership, with a concentration in Higher Education Administration, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His dissertation received an honorable mention in the Best Dissertation Award from the Higher Education SIG of the Comparative and International Education Society. He serves as a reviewer for the Comparative Education Review, which is a journal of the University of Chicago Press. In 2014, Ramírez was elected as program co-chair of the Higher Education Special Interest Group of the Comparative and International Education Society.

Ana Solano-Campos, PhD, Emory University

Solano-Campos is assistant professor of teacher education, literacy, and English language learners in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Solano-Campos is a Spanish-English bilingual and social justice educator with a background in applied linguistics, TEFL, and TESOL. She is interested in the identity construction process of immigrant and refugee students and their teachers, particularly as it relates to bilingualism/multilingualism, transnationalism, and civic engagement in multicultural contexts. Solano-Campos completed a PhD in educational studies, with an emphasis in culture and language in urban education from Emory University, where she held an Arts and Sciences Fellowship. 

Jay R. Dee, PhD

Dee is professor in the Department of Leadership in Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His research interests include higher education governance, organizational change, faculty development, and the academic workplace. He is the co-author (with James Bess) of Bridging the Divide between Faculty and Administration: A Guide to Understanding Conflict in the Academy (Routledge, 2014) and Understanding College and University Organization: Theories for Effective Policy and Practice (Stylus Publishing, 2008).  Dee’s publications focus on the changing nature of academic work in universities, the work environments of faculty, and the impact of accountability policies on college and university performance. He has conducted several grant-funded projects that have examined faculty workloads and academic work environments. In 2014, he served as a visiting scholar at the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Dee also delivered seminars on organizational theory and university administration at Nagoya University in Japan.

Francine Menashy, PhD, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

Menashy is assistant professor in the Department of Leadership in Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research centers on aid to education and private sector engagement, with a focus on the policies and operations of international organizations. She previously held a position as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Comparative, International and Development Education Centre at the University of Toronto. Menashy’s research has been funded by such agencies as the Open Society Foundation as well as the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation. She has published extensively on the topics of public-private partnerships, international education policies, and educational theory. In 2013, she was selected as a 2013 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. At UMass Boston, Menashy teaches courses on educational foundations and education policy in her home department and she is cross-affiliated with the Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston. In the past she has worked with an NGO in Laos, and as a teacher in Canada.

Karen Ross, PhD, Indiana University

Ross is an assistant professor in the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance and a senior fellow at the Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Previously, she was an instructor at the Global and International Education Program at Drexel University and the Inquiry Methodology Program at Indiana University. Her research focuses on conceptual and methodological issues at the intersection between education, peacebuilding, and social activism. In particular, Ross is interested in how we can better understand the impact of grassroots peacebuilding programs, particularly educational ones. As part of this interest, she conducts research on how educational programs are linked to participation in social movements and other forms of social activism. Much of this research is based in Israel, focusing on the conflict between Jews and Palestinians (within Israel) and between Israel and Palestine. Ross also focuses her research on methodological and epistemological questions related to measuring impact as well as research on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Outside of academia, she is a dialogue facilitator and facilitator trainer; she has worked in Israel/Palestine, South Africa, and the United States, and as a consultant for UNESCO, GPPAC, and the American Friends Service Committee.

Angela Stone-MacDonald, PhD Indiana University

Stone-MacDonald, an expert in early education and care in inclusive settings, is associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has worked with people with disabilities for the last 17 years as a paraprofessional, teacher, consultant, and researcher. Stone-MacDonald’s areas of research include early intervention, international special education for children with developmental disabilities, and teacher preparation for early intervention. Her current research agenda includes work on immigrant family experiences in the early intervention system, and early intervention personnel preparation and inclusive education in Tanzania. She has been awarded grants to support her research from UMass Boston, the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, and the Office of Special Education Programs-US Department of Education. Stone-MacDonald is the author of Community-Based Education for Students with Developmental Disabilities in Tanzania (2014) from Springer Press, and co-editor of the forthcoming 4th edition of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Identification, Education, and Treatment from Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. She earned her doctorate from Indiana University in Special Education and African Studies, and completed her dissertation in Tanzania thanks to a Fulbright IIE grant in 2008-09.

Katalin Szelényi, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles

Szelényi is associate professor and graduate program director of the higher education administration program in the Department of Leadership in Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research in the area of international/comparative higher education, with a specific emphasis on academic culture, migration, global citizenship, and study abroad, focuses on the experiences of international graduate students in the US, faculty at globally engaged research universities, and Latina/o undergraduate students. Her co-authored book with Robert A. Rhoads, Global Citizenship and the University: Advancing Social Life and Relations in an Interdependent World (Stanford University Press, 2011), received national awards from the American Educational Research Association (Division J: Postsecondary Education, Exemplary Publication Award, 2012), and the Council for International Higher Education (CIHE, 2013) of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). Szelényi currently serves as the chair of the ASHE Council for International Higher Education, and she co-chaired the 2014 ASHE International Forum Pre-Conference in Washington, DC.

Felicia L. Wilczenski, EdD, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Wilczenski is professor in and associate dean of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her scholarly and teaching interests focus on inclusive education in global contexts. In 2011, Wilczenski was a Fulbright Specialist at Beijing Normal University where she promoted inclusive educational strategies such as universal design and service-learning applications in higher education and in K-12 settings. She has conducted comparative inclusive education studies in China, Japan, and South Korea, and recently completed a study tour in Poland in collaboration with the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Wilczenski is the author of a nationally award winning book, A Practical Guide to Service Learning: Strategies for Positive Development in Schools, for which she was named a 2008 John Glenn Scholar in Service Learning by the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. She is currently studying the impact of service learning as strategy to enhance school-to-work transitions and inclusion for students with disabilities. She is the principal investigator of the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Partnership grant enrolling students with intellectual disabilities in courses at UMass Boston.

Zeena Zakharia, EdD, Columbia University Teachers College

Zakharia is assistant professor in the Department of Leadership in Education at UMass Boston. Her interdisciplinary, transnational, and comparative approach to educational policy and leadership is grounded in the belief that some of the world’s most intractable problems require modes of inquiry that cross disciplinary and political boundaries. She was Gebran G. Tueni Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Middle Eastern Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University. Zakharia’s publications examine the interplay of language, conflict, and peacebuilding in education. Her interests stem from over a decade of educational leadership in war-affected contexts. She is co-editor of Bilingual Community Education and Multilingualism: Beyond Heritage Languages in a Global City (Multilingual Matters 2013), and co-investigator for Rethinking the Region: New Approaches to 9-12 U.S. Curriculum on the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been supported by numerous fellowships and grants, and she serves as a consultant for international, governmental, and civil society organizations and schools.


Institute for International and Comparative Education

100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125


This institute is part of the College of Education and Human Development.