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From the Dean: Preparing Future Leaders in a Complex World

June 13, 2023

Each spring when I sit down to write this letter, it has been my privilege to announce that we have been ranked the No. 1 school for public affairs in the country. We are grateful again this year that the work of our faculty, staff, students and alumni across programs has earned the highest regard of our peers.

David Van Slyke, Kristen Patel, Dukgeun Ahn
Dean David M. Van Slyke and Kris Patel ’90 B.A. (Econ/PSt), the Donald P. and Margaret Curry Gregg Professor of Practice in Korean and East Asian Affairs, met with South Korea’s minister for trade, Dukgeun Ahn, during a recent trip.

Our reputation in public and international affairs and in a number of ranked social sciences has been earned through decades of unceasing commitment to the very best teaching, research and collaboration. Our cover story, “Future Facing,” is a terrific example of this. It reveals how Maxwell scholars across disciplines are informing vital policy discussions amid the explosion of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. The University’s early investments in this area are rapidly advancing knowledge around a vexing issue—and they continue to help us attract top talent like the incoming director of the Autonomous Systems Policy Institute, University Professor Hamid Ekbia.

In addition to scholarly excellence, we are committed to thinking innovatively about the ways we engage with a range of diverse audiences and stay on the forefront of global opportunities and challenges. For this, we invite input from our partners around the world. In this edition, you’ll read about Dan Nelson, director of accelerated learning and global engagement, who each year meets with an untold number of government and academic officials, cultivating relationships that advance our mission. The partnerships and perspectives that come from these strategic overseas engagements are vital to our efforts to prepare future leaders in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.

This past March, I was pleased to be part of one such engagement. I joined an 18-member Syracuse University delegation led by Chancellor Kent Syverud that visited the Republic of Korea. Our group also included Vice Chancellor and Provost Gretchen Ritter, as well as deans and senior staff and faculty with expertise in the region. We met with government officials and leaders of eight universities, visited historic and cultural sites, and received a warm welcome from our alumni.

A few highlights of the trip include connecting with naval Commander Jihoon Yu ’10 M.A. (PSc)/’14 Ph.D. (PSc), who is also a research fellow at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, and meeting South Korea’s minister for trade, Dukgeun Ahn. I was fortunate to be accompanied by Kris Patel ’90 B.A. (Econ/PSt), the Donald P. and Margaret Curry Gregg Professor of Practice in Korean and East Asian Affairs at the Maxwell School, who helped to advance a dialogue through her deep regional and economic expertise. These and other meetings with existing and potential partners help us to think about the ways in which we can apply Maxwell’s comparative advantages in interdisciplinary teaching and research; leverage our presence in Washington, D.C., at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; grow Syracuse Abroad; and use a range of digital platforms and instructional modalities to deepen Maxwell’s impact domestically and internationally.

I returned from the trip motivated by our school’s mission. As you read this edition, I hope you’ll share my pride in belonging to a community so deeply committed to the public good, near and far.

With gratitude,

Cursive signature of Dean David Van Slyke

David M. Van Slyke
Dean, Maxwell School
Louis A. Bantle Chair in Business and Government Policy


Published in the Spring 2023 issue of the Maxwell Perspective

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