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Joyce Cain Award
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Joyce Cain Award for Distinguished Research on People of African Descent

Dr. Joyce Lynn Cain, teacher, researcher, practitioner, and international scholar, was one of the early researchers who combined her extraordinary skill as a public school teacher with research focused on the preparation of teachers to teach minority children in school settings. She was a forerunner in conducting comparative research on minority students in the USA and Africa. It was her love of the African cultures and heritage that led her to be an advocate and an advisor to African countries, particularly Zimbabwe. She was inspired to plan study trips to Africa for others in the USA and was called on as a consultant for international agencies, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development.

She was a loyal member of the faculty of Michigan State University, where she served as an Associate Professor of Teacher Education until her passing in 1996. Her focus on, and attention to, the importance of Africa has inspired many researchers and practitioners.

Each year, the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) recognizes an outstanding scholarly article that explores themes related to people of African descent, with its Joyce Cain Award. This Award was created in 2000 to honor the memory of Joyce Lynn Cain, a colleague whose scholarship on African descendants reflected her dedication to introducing individuals across ethnic boundaries to African culture.

The Award is conferred on an outstanding scholarly article that:

  • explores themes related to people of African descent; the article may report research concerning Africans in any part of Africa, or in the Diaspora (African descendants in the Americas, Europe, and other venues), in contemporary or historical contexts;
  • fulfills the requirements of academic excellence, namely originality, and methodological, theoretical, and empirical rigor; and,
  • reflects the scholarly purpose of the Society—comparative, cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and international/global studies contributing to the interpretation of developments in education in broad and interrelated economic, political, and social contexts.

To be eligible for the Award, articles must be written by a member of CIES. Articles must be published in a refereed journal during the two-calendar year period between January of the preceding year and December of the current year. Articles slated for publication in the final months of the current year may be submitted in manuscript form with a letter from the journal editor stating the intended publication schedule.

The recipient of the Joyce Cain Award will be honored at the upcoming Annual Meeting of CIES and will receive a $1000 USD monetary award.

A complete application package consists of One PDF file containing the following:

  • The journal article being nominated
  • A nominating cover letter, explaining how the paper addresses the key themes/goals of the Cain award. 

The deadline for nominations is November 15, 2018.  Nominations materials (one pdf file) can be uploaded here ( Nominations, applications, and queries should be sent via e-mail to the Joyce Cain Award Chair.  Please note that self-nominations for the Joyce Cain Award are welcome.

Previous Awards

Desmond Odugu, 2016, “Historiographic reconsideration of colonial education in Africa: Domestic Forces in the Early Expansion of English Schooling in Northern Igboland”, History of Education Quarterly, 56(2), 241-272 

Timothy P. Williams, 2017, “The Political Economy of Primary Education: Lessons from Rwanda”, World Development, 96, 550-561


Patricia K. Kubow and Mina Min, 2016, “The Cultural Contours of Democracy: Indigenous Epistemologies Informing South African Citizenship”, Democracy and Education, 24(2)

Stephanie Simmons Suilkowski and Theresa S. Betancourt, 2014, “School persistence in the Wake of War: Wartime experiences, reintegration supports, and dropout in Sierra Leone,” 58(3) 457-481 

Ali Abdi, 2013, “Decolonizing Educational and Social Development Platforms in Africa,” African and Asian Studies, 12 (1-2) 64-82

Edith Omwami, 2014 “Intergenerational comparison of education attainment and implications for empowerment of women in rural Kenya,” Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 22(8) 1106-1123

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