International Relations program welcomes new directors

Political science professor Vickie Sullivan will serve as the International Relations (IR) program’s interim director for the 2016-2017 academic year and political science professor Kelly Greenhill will begin a three-year term as the program’s director beginning in September 2017, according to an email announcement from the IR program. 

The directorship became available at the end of the 2015-2016 academic year when former program director Drusilla Brown completed her second three-year term, Dean of Academic Affairs for Arts and Sciences Bárbara Brizuela explained. 

“We really try to avoid more than six years because it’s a big toll on faculty members’ time and time away from their scholarship and teaching,” she said. 

The new appointments were made through a long process which required support from faculty members in several departments and included meetings with arts and sciences deans, according to Brizuela.

“We send a Qualtrics survey and we ask for faculty evaluations about where their program’s at, where their department’s at, an assessment of the current leadership and suggestions [and] nominations for who they would want to see as the next person to take on the leadership position … and then we’ll reach out to the faculty member who has received very strong support,” she said.

Sullivan noted that she was not interested in serving a full term as director and that she supported Greenhill’s appointment to the position

Professor [Greenhill] was recruited to be the next Director of the International Relations Program,” Sullivan told the Daily in an email. “I think that her appointment is extremely exciting for the program … Because I thought that she was a great choice, I wanted to do what I could to support it. She will be on leave in the spring semester finishing a book.”  

Sullivan assumes the directorship with leadership background throughout the university. She has served as chair of both the political science and classics departments, dean of academic affairs for arts and sciences and co-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee.

As the interim director, Sullivan hopes to build upon the work of the former director.

I see myself as following up on the excellent leadership of Professor Drusilla Brown,” she said. “One of her signal accomplishments, in my view, was to have strengthened significantly the research component of the program — student research, faculty research, and faculty/student collaborative research.”

Sullivan also hopes to initiate her own plans to improve the program.

“The staff and I want to strengthen student advising and to build on the program’s connection to the Fletcher School,” she said. 

Greenhill comes to the position with a long background of foreign policy scholarship, holding pre- or post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard University’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and Belfer Center, at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and at Columbia University’s Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, according to her department biography. 

Greenhill explained that the director of the IR program plays a key role in creating a coherent program for everyone involved in IR.

“The director provides intellectual leadership and serves as a kind of glue that ties the many diverse departments and a wide array of majors together … There are more than one hundred core faculty affiliated with the program and 18 different departments,” Greenhill said.

Sullivan and Greenhill have been working closely together to plan for the program’s future, they said.

“We have been spending a good deal of time together talking about the program as it stands and the program going forward,” Greenhill said.

Both professors said that they look forward to supporting the IR program and IR majors.

I think that the program provides an excellent education to students and provides them [with] many opportunities for intellectual and professional development,” Sullivan said. “I want to support it any way that I can.” 


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