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2016 Leaders in Higher Education

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University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Combining Top Research with Teaching

The University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies is the alma mater of diplomatic leaders such as former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Its founding dean, Josef Korbel, is the father of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. So it is no surprise that Christopher Hill, a four-time U.S. ambassador, has been dean of the Korbel School since 2010.

“More than 30 percent of our students have research jobs at Korbel School research centers.” –Ambassador Christopher Hill, Dean, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

Also not surprising is the fact that early in his career, Hill served in the U.S. Peace Corps supervising credit unions in rural Cameroon, West Africa. The Korbel School has a leading program for returned Peace Corps volunteers, and it attracts more of them than any other international affairs school.

But the school’s strengths extend well beyond its leading programs in international diplomacy, development, and human rights. The Korbel School offers a strong interdisciplinary orientation with eight different MA degrees and a variety of opportunities to work with faculty on cutting-edge research.

“We are a school that combines top research with teaching,” says Hill. “For example, we are increasingly recognized for our quantitative research on post-conflict issues.”

Such research includes the Nonviolent and Violent Conflict Outcomes (NAVCO) project at the Korbel-based Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy. NAVCO researchers are collecting data on major nonviolent mass campaigns from 1900 to 2014 to improve the understanding of the origins and outcomes of civilian-based resistance.

denver-korbel_400The Sié Center is a unique teaching and research center focused on innovative research to advance global peace and security. Students are involved in all of the center’s projects and have opportunities for collaborative research, publishing, and field work.

Among several other Sié Center research projects is a $1 million project funded by the Carnegie Corporation to generate and disseminate policy-relevant research on nonviolent, non-state actors in conflict settings. And in a separate project called the Private Security Monitor, students are collecting information from public sources to identify where private military and security companies operate, what tasks they perform, for whom, and with what consequences for human rights.

Another major center at Korbel is the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures. The Pardee Center works with governments, NGOs, intergovernmental organizations, and corporations to produce policy-relevant research, analyses, forecasts, and new analytical tools. Its researchers have built the most sophisticated and comprehensive international futures forecasting modeling system available to the public. The International Futures (IFs) model uses a deep understanding of global systems to produce forecasts for 186 countries to the year 2100.

For students, such research presents opportunities for hands-on experience working with top professors. “More than 30 percent of our students have research jobs at Korbel School research centers,” observes Hill.

Furthermore, a survey of recent graduates found that 95 percent were either employed in their field or pursuing studies within a year of receiving their graduate degree from the Korbel School.

Master’s Degrees offered: See Program Directory