Cornell University

Expanding the impact of existing resources in international studies on graduate training across the university

Cornell’s Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies is the host for the Einaudi–SSRC Dissertation Proposal Development Program (DPD). The program’s goal is to build upon and strengthen an existing informal culture of interdisciplinarity among graduate students engaged in international studies with formal and sustained interdisciplinary mentoring. The Einaudi Center is organizing its program in collaboration with other centers and colleges at Cornell in order to promote formal interdisciplinary approaches to education for other graduate students throughout the university.

The Einaudi Center has a long history of supporting doctoral dissertation research through graduate fellowships and international summer travel grants, which the center will integrate into its coordinated year-round research-mentoring-proposal writing program.

The Einaudi–SSRC DPD Program will consist of five main components:

    1. Intensive spring and fall workshops to develop and refine preliminary research projects;
    2. Summer exploratory field research;
    3. A year-long, for-credit graduate seminar on interdisciplinary theory and method;
    4. A fall showcase where students will present their work; and
    5. Online tools to facilitate ongoing real-time collaboration.

Program Cycle:
Starting in the spring of 2018, participating students at Cornell will take part in spring semester course followed by an intensive spring workshop just prior to embarking on summer exploratory research. Following the conclusion of their summer research, students will participate in a shortened fall semester seminar on proposal development, followed by an intensive fall workshop devoted to proposal review and critique. Students will also participate in a showcase that same semester for them to present their research and plans for dissertation projects. Themes for each fellowship year will be based on topics central to the Einaudi Center’s programming.

In subsequent years, the Einaudi Center will explore how to expand its programming to include students from other universities.

Faculty Engagement:
In addition to recruiting faculty from multiple disciplines to serve as workshop and seminar leaders, the Einaudi–SSRC DPD Program has organized recruitment, selection, and advisory committees of faculty and administrators from across the university to guide the program and explore how similar approaches might be taken up more broadly within the university in the future. The program also seeks to engage participating students’ advisors in a number of educational and evaluative activities throughout the program cycle.

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