This is part of a series in which we highlight SIS degrees and programs and interview program directors.
The Global Governance, Politics and Security (GGPS) program at SIS provides students with the professional and specialized training and skills necessary to launch careers in international affairs and public service. The program takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding relations among and beyond states and societies on the global stage.
We interviewed Dr. Michael Schroeder, Director of the GGPS program.
MS: I was appointed director of GGPS last October, but I have been teaching at SIS since Fall 2012. When I was appointed, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to implement the new curriculum that my predecessor, Celeste Wallander, had designed in consultation with the GGPS-affiliated faculty. The new curriculum keeps the best parts of the old International Politics program while introducing new foundational and concentration courses as well as practical training. The result is a program that ensures all of our graduates are specialized in a particular area of global security or global governance and have the professional skills to launch careers in international affairs and public service.
What is the core mission/vision of the program?
MS: Our mission is to produce professionals who can turn rigorous analysis into meaningful policy innovation and practical action in global governance or global security. Students gain an understanding of global history, political dynamics, and economic systems as well as the methodological tools and the practical skills needed to make sense of data and influence policy. To do so, the program takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding relations among and beyond states and societies on the global stage.
How is the program unique?
MS: One of the best parts about developing a new program is that we can really reflect on our unique strengths and build a program around those strengths. Like all SIS Masters Programs, GGPS gives students flexibility while they earn a Master’s degree from one of the top ten international affairs schools in the country. Students also enjoy all of the advantages that come with a graduate program located in Washington, DC. The GGPS curriculum in particular offers core classes that give students a strong foundational knowledge, but it is the coursework in their field of concentration that gives them a long-term advantage in their career. GGPS students hone their expertise in Global Governance or Global Security by selecting courses from an extensive list of electives and concentration courses.
Many of these courses are offered by GGPS-affiliated faculty, such as David Bosco, who has authored two widely-acclaimed books on global governance; Amitav Acharya, whose research continues to inform our understanding of regional and global governance; and Boaz Atzili, one of the country’s leading experts on border stability and violent conflict. Other courses are taught by faculty from other SIS programs, many of whom are established practitioners or prominent researchers in fields such as regional studies, human rights, peace and conflict resolution, U.S. foreign policy, corporate social responsibility, global environmental politics and international communication.
What are some things your program does to further your students professionally?
MS: GGPS is a professional program, so we take the idea of job-ready skills very seriously. We insist that our students have language training, professional experience, and other skills valued by employers. This makes our students stand out in job interviews and has an immediate impact in their organization. Our students have the opportunity to participate in skills institutes and signature SIS practica, where students work with a real-world client to deliver a work product, or they can produce a policy-relevant thesis or substantial research project as part of their program of study. Distinguished scholar-practitioners and professionals in the field design these practica and workshops and provide GGPS students with skills they can highlight on their resume and call on in their future work.
Describe the students in your program:
MS: GGPS has over one hundred graduate students. Although our students have a broad range of interests and concentrations, they all have an overarching interest in understanding relations among and beyond states and societies and addressing those policy problems that cross national borders. Our GGPS students are defined by both their breadth and depth of knowledge and their professional training. These qualities make them well equipped to thrive in global governance and security where complex problems will require innovative and practical solutions grounded in an understanding of global history and political and economic systems.
Tell us about your own research and areas of expertise:
MS: My research focuses on global governance, international organizations, and political leadership. I am currently working on a book investigating why some executive heads of international organizations are viewed as more successful leaders than others, and the strategies these leaders used to help their organization adapt to changes in world politics.