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Dr. José Cossa

Associate Professor of Education (Lifelong Learning and Adult Education, Comparative and International Education) and African Studies)

Phone: 814-863-9011

305A Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802


  • Learning and Performance Systems


  • Lifelong Learning and Adult Education
  • Comparative and International Education


José Cossa, Ph.D., is a Mozambican-American scholar, writer/author, researcher, poet, blogger, “twitterer,” podcaster, entrepreneur, and an Associate Professor in the College of Education at Penn State. Cossa holds a Ph.D. in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies with a depth area in Comparative and International Education from Loyola University Chicago.


He is the author of the book Power, Politics, and Higher Education: International Regimes, Local Governments, and Educational Autonomy, the recipient of the 2012 Joyce Cain Award for Distinguished Research on People of African Descent, a Co-Founder of AI4Afrika, and a member of the MacArthur Foundation 100&Change Panel of Judges for two consecutive years (2018 Inaugural Challenge and 2019).


Cossa’s research focus is on adult online and distance education, education in Africa, the African Renaissance, power dynamics in negotiation over educational policy; unveiling issues inherent in the promise of modernity, and working towards de-colonializing, de-bordering, de-peripherizing, and de-centering the world; higher education policy and administration; system transfer; international development; global and social justice; and, related topics. Currently, Cossa has engaged in a new (exterior to modernity) theorizing, which he coined as Cosmo-uBuntu. Cossa has taught in South Africa, Egypt, and the United States.




Ph.D., Cultural, and Educational Policy Studies, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, Il, U.S.A Depth Area: Comparative and International Education Completed: September 20, 2007 Dissertation: Global International Regimes and Regional International Regimes: Power Dynamics and Their Consequence on the Educational Autonomy of Local Government in Southern Africa Director: Erwin H. Epstein, Ph.D.





  • Cossa, J. (2008). Power, Politics, and Higher Education in Southern Africa: International Regimes, Local Governments, and Educational Autonomy. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press.

  • Cossa, J. (2008). African Renaissance and Higher Education: A View through the Lenses of Christian Higher Education. Germany: VDM Verlag Dr. Muller.


  • Cossa, J. & Barker, L. (2021). Motivation to Pursue a Ph.D. in Computing: Black Students in HBCUs. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education.

  • Cossa, J. (2021). The university's social responsibility in a time of struggle for liberation: Eduardo Mondlane, Northwestern University, Oberlin College, and Syracuse University. Educação, Sociedade & Culturas. (Special Issues). Universidade do Porto.

  • Cossa, J, Le Grange, L., & Waghid, Y. (2020). Cosmo-uBuntu: Toward A New (Exterior to Modernity) Theorizing about the Human, the Cosmos, and Education. Media Essay Review. Comparative Education Review.

  • Cossa, J. (in press). African Renaissance, Power, and the Collective Effort toward a New African Higher Education System. In N’Dri Assié-Lumumba (Ed.), “African Renaissance, Education, and Social Transformation: Cultural Permanence, Historical Contingencies, and Purposeful Fusion for Africa’s Progress”. CODESRIA.

  • Cossa, J. (in press). ‘uMuntu nguMuntu ngaBantu’:  Toward an Epistemology of Global Humanness for Education and Beyond. In N’Dri Assié-Lumumba, & M. Dembélé, (Eds.), “Ubuntu, World Epistemologies, and Humanist Education.” (Special Issue). Bandung: Journal of the Global South.

  • Cossa, J. & Barker, L. (in press). Motivation to Pursue a Ph.D. in Computing: Black Students in HBCUs. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education.

  • Cossa, Jose. (2016). Power: The Curse Haunting Developing Nations. Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, 39(1). international_asc_ufahamu_29823. Available:

  • Cossa, J. (2015). African Renaissance and Globalization: A Conceptual Analysis and a Way Forward. Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, 38(3). Available:

  • Cossa, J. (2013). Power Dynamics in International Negotiations toward Equitable Policies, Partnerships, and Practices: Why it Matters for Africa, the Developing World, and their Higher Education Systems. (T. Lumumba-Kisongo, A. Mazrui, N. Assié-Lumumba, & M. Dembélé, Eds.) African and Asian Studies, 12, 100-1007.

  • Cossa, Jose A. (2009). African Renaissance and Globalization: A Conceptual Analysis. Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, 36(1). Available:

  • Cossa, J. (2011). Education and System Transfer in Mozambique. International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 6(2). Available:

  • Amato, N., Burnett, M., Cossa, J., Gates, A., & Morreale, P. (June 2011). REU-in-a-Box: Expanding the Pool of Computing Researchers. National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). Available:

Chapters in Books

  • Cossa, J. (2021). Cosmo-uBuntu theorizing about the global citizen in modernity's frontiers: lived experience in Mozambique, United States, Swaziland, South Africa, and Egypt. In Susan Wiksten (Ed.), Enactments of global citizenship education: social justice in public spheres of education. Routledge.

  • Cossa, J. (2020). Cosmo-uBuntu: Toward a New Theorizing for Justice in Education and Beyond. In Abdi, A. A. (Ed.). Critical Theorizations of Education. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill | Sense.

  • Assié-Lumumba, N. D. T., Cossa, J., & Waghid, Y. (2019). Freire and Africa: A Focus and Impact on Education. The Wiley Handbook of Paulo Freire, 149-166.

  • Cossa, J. (2018). Addressing the Challenge of Coloniality in the Promises of Modernity and Cosmopolitanism to Higher Education: De-bordering, De-centering/De-peripherizing, and De-colonilizing. In N’Dri T. Assié-Lumumba & Emefa Amoako (Eds), Re-visioning Education in Africa: Ubuntu-Inspired Education for Humanity, 193-204. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Cossa, J. (2016). Shaping the Intellectual Landscape. In Erwin H. Epstein (Ed.), Crafting a Global Field: Six Decades of the Comparative and International Education Society. CERC Studies in Comparative Education, v. 33. Hong Kong: Springer/Comparative Education Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong.
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