Comprehensive Education



Dr. William Dunn has been named an Honorary Member of the Network of Schools and Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe.  The award is given to recipients of the Alisa Brunovska Award for Teaching Excellence in Public Administration, and to former NISPAcee Presidents and Executive Directors. Dr. Dunn also recently received the University of Pittsburgh Provost's Award for Excellence in Mentoring.

The University of Pittsburgh was honored today with a national award recognizing its commitment to international education and the strength of its global programs.  It is one of only four institutions nationwide to receive the 2017 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. 

GSPIA Dean John Keeler presented George N. Cretekos (MPA ‘70) with the Distinguished Alumnus Award recently at a private dinner in his honor in sunny Sand Key, Florida. Cretekos was recognized for his lifelong commitment to public service with special dedication to the community of Clearwater, Florida, where he has served as a member of the City Council and, since 2012, as Mayor.  To read George's bio, click here.

Kristen Maser Michaels named to’s Who’s Next listing of the top 20 up-and-comers under age 40 among local community leaders and activists.  Michaels, 34, is executive director of the Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT). The organization works with the City of Pittsburgh and the 39 municipalities that create the urban core of Allegheny County to find ways they can work together across political boundaries.

Assistant Professor Sera Linardi and her colleagues from Pitt’s School of Social Work (PI: Jeffrey Shook) were recently awarded a grant as part of the university’s Integrative Social Science Research Initiative from the provost’s office. The project, “From Barely Making It To…? Effects of Raising Wages Among Low-Wage Workers” seeks to develop a new interdisciplinary research collaboration focused on the effects of wage increases on low-wage workers and their families.  

Dr. Michael Poznansky, assistant professor of international affairs and intelligence studies, welcomed cybersecurity expert Dr. Jon Lindsay, Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs to GSPIA, Monday, Feb. 27. During the lecture, Dr. Lindsay explained that it's best to think about cybersecurity not as its own unique phenomenon but rather in the light of intelligence. 

Julia M. Santucci, who just stepped down as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues at the U.S. Department of State, will be joining the GSPIA faculty in the fall of 2017 as a Senior Lecturer in Intelligence Studies.  She will also serve as Director of the new Hesselbein Forum Leadership Program in International Security.

GSPIA has hired Lindsey Anderson, who just stepped down as Senior Advisor to the Associate Administrator in the Office of Response and Recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington, D.C., to serve as a Visiting Senior Lecturer in Public Affairs for 2017-18.  Anderson will also serve as Interim Director of GSPIA’s Center for Disaster Management and as Executive in Residence for the new Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum.

GSPIA alumna and adjunct faculty member Deborah Walker (MPPM, ’03) collapsed while emceeing an event and died shortly after according to multiple media reports. Walker was the City of Pittsburgh’s Deputy Chief of Human Resources in the Department of Personnel and Civil Service Commission.

The University of Pittsburgh will hold its first-ever giving day on Pitt’s Founders’ Day–Tuesday, February 28, 2017–which marks the 230th anniversary of the founding of the University of Pittsburgh. Through Pitt Day of Giving, we will join together as a community in support of Pitt students, working to decrease the financial burden they carry as future alumni. GSPIA is very much a part of Pitt Day of Giving; we appreciate your support! 

MPPM student Sloane Davidson has been working overtime, above and beyond her class assignments, to help resettlement efforts as noted in the New York Times article, How You Can Help Refugees in the United States.  Davidson, a native of Pittsburgh, has created a national database designed to help promote refugee resettlement and immigration service agencies including those in the Pittsburgh region. She also recently produced a Valentine’s Day party where 300 Pittsburghers, including fellow GSPIA grad Mayor Bill Peduto, (MPPM '11) came together to make Valentine’s Day cards of welcome, love and hope for refugees, immigrants and kids in need in Pittsburgh. Over 400 cards... 

Dr. Müge Finkel recently participated in the Wilson Center’s 50 by 50, the 5th year anniversary event in Washington D.C. The event was hosted by the Wilson Center’s Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) which was started in 2011 by former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to empower the next generation of women around the world and mobilize them on issues of critical importance in public service. 

Former Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety, II, Dean, Elliott School of International Affairs, at George Washington University, delivered the University of Pittsburgh General Roscoe Robinson Memorial Lecture on Wed., Feb. 8 at the University Club.  Dr. Brigety began the lecture praising his childhood “hero,” General Roscoe Robinson. 

“As someone who aspired to a military career, the example of an African-American four-star officer who served his country with distinction was a powerful influence on me…” said Brigety. 

GSPIA faculty in the Energy and Environment (E&E) major have created a blog providing  commentary and analysis of E&E issues of public interest. Three years ago, GSPIA developed the E&E major as Pennsylvania emerged as the global epicenter of extracting natural gas from shale formations. The public policy dimensions of shale gas development are many, ranging from local zoning decisions to global climate change agreements. More broadly, the E&E major features courses addressing a wide range of energy and environment issues from a local, national, and global perspective and equips students with subject knowledge and analytic skills for jobs in local government, industry, and nonprofits. The E&E blog serves as yet another learning pathway for students and faculty to work together to research, analyze and write about the pertinent issues facing the rapidly and shifting energy and environment landscape. The inaugural post, Energy Production and Policy: Quickly Changing: Increasingly Relevant, written by Assistant Professor Jeremy Weber, discusses the emerging and fading energy industries. 

By Colin P. Clarke (Ph.D., '11) & Chad C. Serena (Ph.D., '10)

As he promised on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump has moved quickly against the Islamic State, directing the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop an aggressive plan to defeat the group and temporarily banning citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. Critics of the ban believe it will actually weaken domestic counterterrorism efforts and bolster Islamic State propaganda and recruitment. But there is another glaring hole in this strategy as it is currently comprised: it fails to address another half-dozen or so other terrorist groups throughout the world that threaten American security and global order.

Pittsburgh has an exceedingly rich history of philanthropy, but many people are unaware of philanthropy's role in the area—until now. GSPIA Senior Lecturer Kathy Buechel appeared on WPXI's Proud to be from Pittsburgh segment to discuss the Pittsburgh Philanthropy Project’s website. "The website seeks to show philanthropy as inclusive, which means that people from all walks of life, every faith tradition, participated regardless of their financial circumstances in making Pittsburgh better through their own individual philanthropy," said Buechel.

In 2013, Prof. Louise Comfort received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to build a tsunami detection system in Padang, Indonesia.  As a result, Prof. Comfort’s research has led to the creation of a faster detection system to replace the more expensive buoy system, possibly adding crucial extra minutes of warning for vulnerable coastal cities.

Dean Keeler and Associate Professor Jeremy Weber met with Eugene DePasquale during his recent visit to campus. DePasquale is currently serving as the Pennsylvania Auditor General; from 2007 to 2013, he served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, representing the York County-based 95th district. The Auditor General expressed great interest in the research conducted through GSPIA's Shale Gas Governance Center.

The GSPIA Student Cabinet represents the overall interests of the student body and their respective degree programs.  Members of Student Cabinet are elected for a one-year term, and act as liaisons between students, faculty and administrators. The Cabinet will host several events this year, providing invaluable social, professional development and networking opportunities with GSPIA alumni.  

David J. Hickton, former United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, has been appointed founding director of the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security.

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Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
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