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Webinar “Overview of U.S. Higher Education System”

The Fulbright Commission in Portugal will present a series of training webinars throughout the year of 2022, funded by USA Study Abroad and aiming to support the internationalization of Portuguese Higher Education Institutions (HEI) towards the US and attract increasingly higher numbers of US students and researchers to Portugal.

Each webinar will count on the participation of invited speakers whose profile and experience will provide expertise on the specific theme for that session. The sessions will be open to the entire community of Portuguese HEI – officers, administrators, researchers and any other attendees who wish to register and participate in the learning process.

The sessions will begin with generic information about the US higher education system, focusing gradually over time on different specificities of academic life in the US and its internationalization processes in particular. The expectation for these webinars is that the topics covered will help Portuguese HEI better prepare for meaningful and productive interaction with their counterparts in the US.


Registrations for this webinar are now open:



The first session will take place on January 7th, 2022.

  1. Overview of U.S. Higher Education System

Distinctive characteristics of U.S. Higher Education System – types of institutions; different curricular models
University Administration & Services
Curriculum and Degrees
Accreditation and Quality Assurance
Current issues and challenges

Confirmed Speakers

  • Woody Pelton, Senior International Officer (retired)
  • David Mihalyi, Asst. Director, International, AACRAO


  • Ana Ribeiro Costa, PhD / Assistant Professor / Lawyer – Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Porto); Study of the US Institutes Alumna (2021)


Speakers bios:

Woody Pelton served as the Senior International Officer at three universities from 1992 until 2021.  His most recent position was Dean of Global Education at Elon University in North Carolina, a position he held from 2009 until 2021, when he retired. Prior to these positions he was an attorney in Washington, DC, a volunteer for UNHCR in a refugee camp in Malaysia, and a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. He received a BA & MA from UNC-Chapel Hill, and a JD from George Washington University.  In retirement Woody serves on the Boards of CIEE and Preservation Burlington and as a Special Advisor for Strategy and Partnerships for Accademia Europa di Firenze.



David Mihalyi has been a professional evaluator of international educational credentials since July 1987.  He currently serves as Assistant Director – International for the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). He is a member of TAICEP (The Association for International Credential Evaluation Professionals), has contributed to various publications published by AACRAO and NAFSA, and is co-author of the ECE Presents series volume, The Educational System of Spain.




Ana Ribeiro Costa is an Assistant Professor at Universidade Católica Portuguesa – Oporto Law School, as well as a lawyer at private practice. She holds a PhD in Law and she’s interested in researching on Labor Law, occupational health and safety, worklife balance, wellbeing of workers and the future of work.





The next sessions will take place on:

February 4th, 2022 – Trends and Insights related to International Education in the U.S. (vis-à-vis the World)

March 11th, 2022 – Trends and Insights related to International Education in the World (vis-à-vis the U.S.)

April 7th, 2022 – Institutional Framework and support

May 6th, 2022 – Attracting U.S. Students