IREX, established in 1968, is an international nonprofit organization providing thought leadership and innovative programs to promote positive lasting change globally. The organization works with individuals, institutions, and governments to expand to and improve the quality of education worldwide See IREX).
In the fall of 2011, the College of William and Mary hosted Dr. Gagik Demirjian, head of Doctoral Studies at the Gyumri State Pedagogical Institute (GSPI) in Armenia, as a visiting IREX Fellow. He participated in the IREX University Administration Support Program (UASP) and conducted a case study at the College of William and Mary on Research Management.
Dr. Demirjian received a follow up grant from IREX to host Dr. Pamela Eddy, professor of higher education at The College of William and Mary, as a research consultant. Dr. Eddy traveled to Armenia for a week in April, 2013 to host a series of presentations and consultations with students regarding best practices for research. Her presentations included Creating Individual Research Plans, Establishing your Research Network, Getting Started on Student Research, and Student Initiated Research Projects. She met with student groups and individual students to discuss research methodology, design, and practice. Dr. Eddy commented, "The issues facing graduate students in Armenia are similar to students around the world. Helping to demystify the research process and enhancing research networks was very gratifying."
During her stay, the Gyumri State Pedagogical Institute hosted a national student research conference with well over 200 students in attendance. This conference provided students an opportunity to present their research in a public forum and to respond to public commentary. Dr. Eddy provided a welcome to the conference for participants. The full-day conference included break-out sessions with students presenting their research findings. In addition to the sessions with students, Dr. Eddy met with the leadership cabinet at GSPI. The leaders were interested in learning how the system of higher education in Armenia compared to that found in the United States, particularly the function of individual student research. The information sharing set the foundation for possible collaborations in the future.