Paul’s Biographical Statement

Paul Jonathan Ilsley

I am Professor Emeritus of Adult Education and Educational Research at Northern Illinois University and Docent of Adult Education at the University of Helsinki. I have served as Professor and as guest professor at East China Normal University, Qufu Normal University, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Helsinki, the University of Tampere, and Tallinn University in Estonia. As a docent, I currently advise doctoral students, and teach courses in qualitative research, phenomenology and philosophy of science. My research centers on global, societal and cultural trends of importance to policy makers. Toward that end, I have written extensively on voluntarism and voluntary action, critical multiculturalism, and citizenship, with an eye on anticipatory and participatory planning. Among my publications are over 300 articles and 13 books. Additionally, I have been an active public speaker and have delivered over 3,000 addresses or workshops in 20 countries to a variety of organizations, including legislative bodies, governmental organizations, media groups, citizen action organizations, educational institutions, military organizations, criminal justice judicial institutions, and a variety of professional associations. When consulting and teaching, my primary goal is to foster discussions and find consensus on globalism, internationalism, and research formulation. My primary objectives include building egalitarian and sturdy structures for authentic  internationalism, research and missions of universities. I have advised more than 150 doctoral students through completion in four countries.

I was a Kellogg Fellow in China in 1991-93 and a Fulbright fellow in Finland in 2002. These singular opportunities opened up a world of possibilities for me.  I served on the Board of Ellis University and on editorial review boards of publishing companies and various journals in the fields of ethnography and adult education. Moreover, I have served as a reviewer of proposals with various funding agencies, including the Finnish Academy, the European Science Academy, Fulbright, and the U.S. based National Science Foundation. I am lucky to live half the year in Helsinki and the other in Southern California. The privilege of living and working in Finland enables me to understand cross-cultural aspects of research and to establish internationally based research projects.


Education, Fellowships and Visiting Professorships


University Service 

Funded Grant Projects and Innovative Program Design 

Selected Presentations, Workshops and Colloquia 

Memberships on Boards and in Professional Associations

Honors and Awards 

Media Presence and Interviews 


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  12. Paul, – are you there?
    This is Inge Herman Rydland calling.
    Currently in the us on duty travel, I thoughugjt I would look you up, and found that you teach in Helsinki,
    at least during 2016!
    Hoping things are well with you.
    Let me hear from – should this message reach you.
    I owe you at lot – will never forget your wise coachin, about 20 years ago in DeKalb.
    Al the best

  13. Dear Paul

    thank you for your lectures in Tallinn University!

    Thanks to you I know that we cannot generalize people, only phenomena.

    I found your blog today and when seeing there your text: Let`s Get it Right This Time, I thought that what a good sense of humor you have! It is really inspiring, even for a student who is not so much the result-person than a process-based one. Thank you for your warm support and guidance towards more comprehensive academic thinking!

    Finally I have to say that I like your blog also by its technical features – the design leaves enough space for thoughts and text is enough big so that it is easy and pleasant to read and write.

    Thank you for the opportunity to be in contact. At least I hope I am.

    Best wishes,
    your student

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