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2020 Leaders in Graduate Education

Merit E. Janow, Dean
Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)

 

It’s no surprise that a globally oriented graduate school that attracts students from around the world also has a wide-ranging curriculum—and a leader with broad and diverse experience.

Merit E. Janow, dean of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), fits that description perfectly. An internationally recognized expert in global trade and investment with extensive experience in the private, public, and nongovernmental organization sectors, Janow has represented the United States in trade negotiations with Japan and China, pursued cross-border enforcement and policy issues at the US Department of Justice, and adjudicated international trade disputes as a member of the World Trade Organization Appellate Body. Janow has been a Columbia University faculty member since 1995, teaching at both SIPA and Columbia Law School.  

“What SIPA imparts above all is a global perspective. It’s an essential tool for addressing contemporary policy challenges, and it helps build leadership and problem-solving skills that will serve US and international students alike throughout their careers.” –Merit E. Janow, Dean, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

“What SIPA imparts above all is a global perspective. It’s an essential tool for addressing contemporary policy challenges, and it helps build leadership and problem-solving skills that will serve US and international students alike throughout their careers,” says Janow, noting that SIPA typically enrolls more than half of its students from outside the United States.

U.S. News & World Report cited SIPA as the No. 1 school in International Global Policy and Administration in 2018 and 2019—both of the years when the magazine expanded its rankings to include specialized fields within public policy. This recognition, Janow says, reflects the school’s unwavering commitment to policy research and education.

Since the school’s founding in 1946, SIPA and its faculty have been known for research and teaching in areas of enduring importance, such as international security policy and global finance, trade, and development. As global challenges evolve, SIPA also is investing in new areas, including energy, the environment, and cybersecurity and the digital economy.

The school updates its course offerings each year, and recently added classes such as Renewable Energy Project Finance Modeling; Gender, Conflict, and Peacebuilding; Impact Investing and Financial Innovation; and Data Science and Public Policy, to name just a few. And with options such as Computing in Context for Public Policy and a new specialization in Data Analytics and Quantitative Analysis, students in any area of study can choose to deepen their focus on computational and data analytics, econometrics, and quantitative analysis of policy- and management-related issues.

SIPA’s curriculum also places a strong emphasis on rigorous academic learning in combination with practical skills and applied knowledge. Through required capstone workshops, student teams address a wide spectrum of policy issues for more than 80 real-world clients—ranging from multilateral development banks to city governments to nongovernmental organizations—in two dozen countries.

SIPA’s New York City location provides unparalleled access to thought leaders and future career opportunities. As summer interns, students work for organizations including leading consulting firms and think tanks, global financial institutions, government agencies, and the United Nations. The diverse alumni include mayors of New York, Los Angeles, and Bogotá, Colombia; the editor of the Financial Times; the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff; executives at Silicon Valley companies and tech start-ups; and senior officials at the International Finance Corporation and government ministries in the United States and around the world.

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