As a GA in the GSIPM office, I like to try and stay in-the-know about what’s going on in my department and around campus.
As it turns out, fall 2014 will usher in some changes. Yuwei Shi will begin to turn his attention to the new Center for Social Impact Learning (CSIL), and teaching in the MBA program. As the founding dean of GSIPM, Yuwei Shi has shaped the Institute in significant ways, helping meld the separate policy and business schools into one school (GSIPM) in 2009. He will officially step down at the end of December, and in the meantime Jeff will serve concurrently, and then continue as interim dean from January 1 through June 30, 2015.
I had a chance to sit down with Jeff recently to chat about what’s going on, and what this means for us students.
During fall semester, he’ll be a busy guy – still chairing the IPS department and teaching classes in addition to job shadowing the current dean. He feels pretty fortunate for the overlap, and is looking forward to “learning what the rules of the game are,” getting to know colleagues from other parts of campus.
I asked him if he’ll continue teaching in the spring and he mentioned that none of the deans currently teach any classes. So if you haven’t had a class with Jeff yet – get in on one this semester before he’s off the market! There’s also a chance he’ll teach a J-Term class or two, but nothing’s been decided for sure.
What new policies or priorities is the interim dean eager to tackle first? He says he’ll be pushing for the immersive learning programs. “We have an exciting portfolio for students, and a lot of them are working really well,” he said. “DPMI and DPMI Plus are great examples. The challenge is the monetary one – it’s so exciting, but students ultimately opt out for financial reasons.” He also mentioned that sometimes students have trouble fitting them into their schedules or finding enough credits to participate. “If we really believe these are such valuable programs, we should find a way to make them more accessible.”
This is certainly something I can agree with, and I wish him the best of luck! President Ramaswamy encouraged Jeff to think long-term in regards to his new role, and reflect on what’s working well, and what could be replicated. If everything goes smoothly, Jeff will likely apply for the official position in the spring.
In the meantime, he says, “If anybody is reading this and has something to share, please come see me, or email me, I’d be happy to talk.” firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also make an appointment through Lauren Patron-Castro, Dean’s Assistant: email@example.com
As program chair of the International Policy Studies program, Jeff has been working with faculty, students, and staff to bring the IPS and MPA programs together within a larger, stronger and more focused program in Development Practice and Policy. As one of the architects of a major piece of curricular reform, he is well positioned to lead and oversee the implementation of new and revitalized programs.
Jeff came to MIIS in 2011, following seven years as a senior economist at the OECD in Paris. At the OECD, Jeff was the first Head of the Americas Desk at the organization’s Development Centre; the Desk has now overseen the publication of seven annual Latin American Economic Outlook reports on topics ranging from international migration, to fiscal policy to the middle class. In Paris, Jeff built a team of 20 professionals, led policy relevant research and dialogue processes, interacted with policy makers and experts in Latin America and beyond, and oversaw fundraising efforts totaling millions of euros.
Jeff’s experience as a policy researcher, manager, and fundraiser in the hyper-politicized bureaucracy of an international organization provided him with a mix of soft skills and thick skin that will serve him well as dean in the comparatively upbeat realm of GSIPM.
Prior to moving to the OECD, Jeff was a tenured associate professor of economics and international development studies at Dalhousie University in Canada. At Dalhousie, he coordinated the university’s Master in Development Economics (MDE) program, which, much like many of GSIPM’s degree programs, trains professional policy analysts with a passion for global issues. Jeff earned a Ph.D. in economics at the University of California, Berkeley.