APSIA Deans and Directors Gather for 2015 Annual Meeting
leigh January 22, 2015 News
On Thursday, January 8, 30 representatives from 32 member schools gathered for their business meeting. After hearing a report on activities from Executive Director Carmen Mezzera, members engaged in a dialogue with representatives from the APSIA Career Services and Admissions Groups, which touched on the evolving job market for APSIA graduates, expanding recruitment, marketing, and public outreach, and improving APSIA’s data collection and analysis.
The member meeting culminated in the unanimous adoption of revised membership criteria and policies. APSIA will reopen its application process as soon as possible, now that the changes have been adopted.
That evening, members were joined by representatives from 17 affiliate schools for an informal reception and dinner. Over dinner, Jessica Mathews of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace offered a keynote address on the issues facing the international community in 2015.
On Friday, January 9, members and affiliates gathered to explore challenges facing deans/directors and to share best practices.
In the first of three large group discussion topics, speakers from the University of St. Gallen, Seoul National University, University of California, San Diego, and other schools offered insights into how programs can differentiate themselves on and outside their campus. As many universities seek to internationalize, discussants all recommended pursuing international partnerships and sharpening the school’s distinctive brand.
Deans/directors then broke into small groups to explore trends in faculty hiring and student enrollment. The faculty group exchanged best practices in joint appointments, compared experiences with specialized faculty hiring, and commiserated about budget pressures. Meanwhile, other deans enjoyed a conversation on how to determine the desired number of enrolled students and how to identify sources of quality applicants.
Next, participants reconvened to discuss strategies for building curricula rooted in global competencies. Presenters from the National University of Singapore, Sciences Po, and Tufts University stressed the need to differentiate between students’ skills and competencies. All discussants agreed that schools must continuously evaluate courses, workshops, and other programs for their ability to build broader competencies.
The final discussion addressed how to build diversity into curricula and programs. Presenters from American University, Princeton University, Ritsumeikan University, and the University of Texas at Austin explored the many different ways to define diversity, including demographic, socioeconomic, and interdisciplinary. They offered strategies to attract faculty from a range of backgrounds and to integrate different types of students. However, many participants agreed that funding was the most significant challenge in the recruitment of students from traditionally underrepresented groups, despite best intentions.
This conversation was an excellent prelude to a keynote address by US National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Ambassador Rice explained the benefits of having diverse perspectives and life experiences around a decision-making table. She asked APSIA to help substantially increase the number of professionals in the national security field from traditionally underrepresented groups. “In the 21st century,” she said, “there is no reasonable division between what happens in our country and what happens in the rest of the world…[and] careers in international affairs are tremendously rewarding” for their ability to address those connections.
The meeting drew to a close with a discussion of next steps for the Association. Participants agreed to consider various collaborative projects and to look for more concrete steps to take on the issues discussed.
The next deans’/directors’ meeting was scheduled for January 2016.