by Gretchen Kell
The National Center for Research in Vocational Education, based at the Graduate School of Education, has a new director --David Stern, a professor of education and an international expert on the relationship between education and work.
The center is the largest in the nation to study work related education. It is a consortium of universities and research institutions that includes Berkeley; the universities of Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin; Teachers College at Columbia University; Virginia Polytechnic and State University; and two private research groups, MPR Associates and RAND.
The center has focused on developing new models of career related education that prepare students for employment, further education and lifelong learning.
Stern was one of four people at Berkeley who planned the center in 1987, and he has been active in its research and development program since then. For the past two years, he has worked in Paris at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, conducting international comparative studies.
He is the principal author of "School to Work: Research on Programs in the United States" (1995); "School-Based Enterprise: Productive Learning in American High Schools " (1994) and "Career Academies: Partnerships for Reconstructing American High Schools" (1992).
Phyllis Hudecki, associate director of the center, served as acting director after the death last July of the previous director, Charles Benson.
Stern said his arrival at the center "comes at a time of profound change in the relationship between education and work."
"One sign," he said, "is the recent passage of the School to Work Opportunities Act, which challenges states and localities to develop new possibilities for secondary and post secondary education, with a focus on work related themes and work based learning."
He said the federal 1994 act is part of a broad trend occurring throughout the industrialized world--the boundaries between work and organized learning gradually are dissolving.