Einaudi Center launches dissertation development program

The Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies will lead a campuswide effort to help doctoral students strengthen their dissertation research proposals with a new grant from the New York-based Social Science Research Council (SSRC).

The Einaudi-SSRC Dissertation Proposal Development Program will offer seminars, workshops and mentoring to 12 students who are developing interdisciplinary research projects abroad, or planning domestic projects on topics that connect to global issues.

“This program builds on a strong culture of interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty and graduate students at Cornell,” said Hiro Miyazaki, the John S. Knight Professor of International Studies and director of the Einaudi Center. “By creating a rigorous training process with faculty mentors, we can help students at a critical moment in their academic careers.”

Lead faculty members are Miyazaki, an anthropologist, and Wendy Wolford, the Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Professor of Development Sociology. Students may apply on the Einaudi Center website. The deadline is Feb. 26.

The program is supported by a coalition of university partners including the Graduate School; the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; the College of Architecture, Art and Planning; the faculty of Computing and Information Science; the Institute for the Social Sciences; the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future; the Center for the Study of Inequality and the Society for the Humanities.

The SSRC has hosted national-level workshops and mentoring opportunities for graduate students for the last 10 years under the Dissertation Proposal Development Program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Last fall, the council solicited proposals from universities interested in taking over those functions.

Northwestern University, the University of Massachusetts Boston, the University of Minnesota and the University of California, Santa Cruz will also establish programs to help their students clarify the design of their dissertation research and prepare compelling proposals through exposure to multiple academic disciplines.

“The proposed programs put forth by these universities demonstrate uncommonly innovative interdisciplinary approaches to dissertation research proposal development, and graduate education more broadly,” said Ira Katznelson, SSRC president. “We believe these programs, once implemented by the universities, will inspire graduate students to create groundbreaking, compelling proposals that will effectively communicate the potential contributions their research can make within and beyond academe.”

Participants from all five universities will attend intensive workshops in Pittsburgh in June and Minneapolis in September.

At the end of the five-year initiative, the SSRC will encourage other universities to integrate elements from the initial programs into their offerings for graduate students.

For more information about the initiative, email Heike Michelsen, associate director of the Einaudi Center.

Jonathan Miller is associate director for communications for the Einaudi Center.

This article originally appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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