My interest in becoming a teacher goes back to 1962. I had completed a master’s degree at Tufts University in International Law and Relations, and had passed the Foreign Service written examination, when I was invited to join the first Peace Corps group to go to Venezuela and the first cohort of volunteers to be university teachers in Latin America.
The seminal experience of being a Peace Corps teacher in Venezuela changed my life.
I became interested in education and national development and applied to the Stanford program in comparative education because it matched these career interests.
Studying at Stanford University was one of the best decisions of my life. The graduate program in comparative education that evolved into the Stanford International Education Development Center (SIDEC) prepared me to be a productive scholar and successful university teacher over these past four-plus decades.
My Stanford studies equipped me with the skills to examine education at the systemic level, from diverse perspectives, cross-nationally and cross-culturally. Also, SIDEC cultivated a collegial environment and a democratic ethos of student engagement. These values have shaped my pedagogy as well as my interactions with students and colleagues. My Stanford experience was also memorable and valuable for the lifelong friendships that I formed.
My ambition remains today as when I received my PhD: to help inform educational policies that serve the most vulnerable populations, locally and globally.
My challenge then, as now, through teaching, mentoring, writing, and professional and public service is to work on behalf of a high quality, equitable, and democratic education for all; and thereby contribute to more just societies and greater international understanding and peace. Stanford University prepared me well for these challenges.
Robert F. Arnove earned his PhD through the Stanford International Development Education Center (SIDEC) in 1969. He retired from the Indiana University School of Education and is now producing a full-length documentary film on the world of BEEP Baseball, a game played by individuals who are blind or visually impaired.