Bridging the Gap: Maxwell School awarded $1 million grant to develop programs connecting academics and policymakers

CarnegieThe Carnegie Corporation of New York has named Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs as one of five institutional recipients of $1 million, two-year grants through its initiative “Rigor and Relevance:  Bridging the Academic-Policy Gap.”  With this funding, the Maxwell School will create the “Carnegie International Policy Scholars Consortium and Network,” which will bring together faculty from a number of top international relations graduate programs to teach and mentor students, scholars, and policymakers about ways to prepare graduate students for successful careers in both policymaking and academia – and thus to foster enhanced interaction between the two communities.  

"We are excited and honored to receive this Carnegie Corporation grant that will support efforts to prepare a new generation of thought leaders to be successful and influential both in the academic world and in the world of practice, bridging the gap between the two," says Maxwell School Dean James Steinberg.  "With this funding, we will develop educational materials and innovative instructional approaches that combine intellectual rigor with the ability to adapt that thinking to the constraints of real-world decision making.  Through the Carnegie International Policy Scholars Consortium and Network, we seek to bring an interdisciplinary approach to complex international affairs and to build a network of faculty and students across multiple institutions to pursue these goals."  Initial consortium members include faculty from Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Indiana University, the University of Virginia, as well as scholars from CSIS and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

The grant will support curriculum-building, opportunities for mentorship, conferences and workshops, and the creation of a synchronous, distance-learning environment based at Syracuse University -- the “Distance Learning Collaboratory" --  that will allow students in international relations and security studies to interact with faculty members and other students in the consortium schools in real time.  The goal of the project is to improve the communication between academics and policymakers and thereby produce better policymaking and more policy-relevant research and teaching. 

The five grant awardees had responded to the Corporation's competition challenging the 22 American-based members of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA) to present proposals outlining novel, feasible ways to bridge the gap between academics working on complex foreign policy issues and policymakers dealing with the same concerns.  All proposals were reviewed by experts in the international relations field who were chosen for their understanding of the policymaking process in Washington, D.C.; knowledge of APSIA; and awareness of the administrative challenges of universities. 

Dean Steinberg observes that, "Carnegie's Rigor and Relevance initiative is a reflection of the Corporation’s long term commitment to supporting the strengthening of ties between universities and policymaking."  This new grant builds on an existing project at the Maxwell School, funded by both the Carnegie Corporation and the Smith Richardson Foundation, "Toward a New Approach to the Advanced Study of Security and International Affairs."

This new grant will be managed through the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs at the Maxwell School, and will be co-led by Steinberg; Margaret Hermann, Gerald and Daphna Cramer Professor of Global Affairs and Director of the Moynihan Institute; and Francis J. Gavin, Frank Stanton Chair in Nuclear Security Policy Studies and Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Carnegie Corporation of New York was established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 "to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding."  In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation's work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy. 09/23/14