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Carnegie Mellon University to open Institute for Politics and Strategy

| Thursday, April 2, 2015, 10:27 p.m.

Carnegie Mellon University will enlarge its footprint in the political sciences this summer with the July 1 opening of an Institute for Politics and Strategy under the direction of Kiron K. Skinner, the university announced Thursday.

In the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the institute will serve as a center for research, undergraduate and graduate education, and university-wide initiatives in the fields of political science, international relations, national security policy and grand strategy, the university said.

“Carnegie Mellon University's establishment of the Institute for Politics and Strategy is an exciting development in the field of political science and security studies,” said Karl W. Eikenberry, the William J. Perry Fellow in International Security at Stanford University and former ambassador to Afghanistan. “Dr. Kiron Skinner has a demonstrated ability to combine theory, policy and practice in ways that produce extraordinary learning and cutting-edge research. The IPS, under Dr. Skinner's leadership and drawing upon Carnegie Mellon University's tremendous intellectual resources, has a bright future.”

Skinner, who has been a CMU faculty member since 1999, is a leading expert in international relations, foreign policy and political strategy. She serves on the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. From 2001-07, she was on the Defense Department's Defense Policy Board as an adviser on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Skinner serves as director of both CMU's Center for International Relations and Politics, a hub for research and policy work on domestic and international issues, and the university's Institute for Strategic Analysis, a joint program with the College of Engineering and School of Computer Science that provides a focal point for high-level, strategic engagements with the defense, diplomatic and intelligence communities.

Both programs will operate within the new institute, as will CMU's “Washington Semester” program.

In addition to Skinner, the IPS will be steered by an executive committee that includes three world-renowned CMU professors: Baruch Fischhoff, Mark Kamlet and Allan Meltzer.

The new institute's course offerings will engage students and faculty by using the analytic tools of game theory, economic and statistical analysis, qualitative analysis, historical research methods, rational choice theory, and theories of behavioral decision-making as they study domestic politics, international alliances and coalitions, international institutions, transnational actors and political strategy, according to a university press release.

Undergraduate students will immediately be able to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in international relations and politics, and two new minors: one in international relations and politics and another in politics and public policy. The international relations and politics major and minor have a particular focus on the grand strategy of nation states and the effects of globalization on national and transnational actors.

Dietrich College Dean Richard Scheines said, “The work of the IPS will add a critical dimension to Dietrich's portfolio in humanities and social sciences.”

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