Author Archive for Columbia SIPA

Some minor updates to SIPA’s programs

SIPA’s undergoing some small changes this summer that you should know about; especially if you’re planning to apply to one of our degree programs this year. While this blog focuses on the two-year programs, it never hurts to learn more about our part-time and one-year master’s degree programs as well. So here’s a look at what’s going on with each program.

MPA-EPM (formerly PEPM) Updates

The MPA in Economic Policy Management (MPA-EPM), formerly known as Program in Economic Policy Management (PEPM), provides highly accomplished policymakers and professionals with the skills required for the design and implementation of economic policy in market economies, with a strong emphasis on the economic problems of developing and transition economies in a global context. MPA-EPM is highly specialized to accommodate the demands of mid-career professionals and policymakers in both the public and private sectors. The course of study applies the theoretical rigor of the social sciences to the practical lessons of economics and management science through the intensive study of actual economic policy successes and failures. The demanding curriculum presupposes that students possess some measure of intellectual maturity and professional exposure to the problems of economic decision making.

Our 12-month program has three different curricular focuses: the traditional Economic Policy Management focus (EPM), the Global Energy Management and Policy focus (GEMP) and the Central Banking and Financial Markets focus (CBFM).  The EPM focus builds students’ technical competence with the tools of economic management and policymaking, the GEMP focus teaches the fundamentals of the energy industry, including international energy systems and business organizations involved in the production, transportation, and marketing of energy products and the CBFM focus teaches the latest techniques in capital market development and macroprudential policy.

MPA-EPM was formed in cooperation with the World Bank and still maintains its connection to the Bank, through our Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship program, providing full scholarships each year for up to 12 students from emerging economies; https://sipa.columbia.edu/the-joint-japanworld-bank-graduate-scholarship-program

The MPA-EPM is best suited for professionals with 4-10 years of working experience from institutions such as central banks, finance ministries, national and international development agencies and international financial institutions. Professionals from financial, consulting and energy backgrounds are also encouraged to apply. Applicants should also hold an undergraduate degree with a record of superior academic accomplishment, and preferably with strong economics or mathematics content.

For more information about MPA-EPM please click here or email mpa-epm@sipa.columbia.edu.

—David Caughlin, Associate Director, MPA-EPM & Center on Global Economic Governance

MPA-ESP Updates

The MPA in Environmental Science and Policy is a one year, full time immersive program specifically designed to prepare you to take a leadership role as a sustainability professional in the public or private sectors.  Our program is the only program in the US that includes a unique environmental science curricula designed to inform policy and management decisions, in addition to sustainability management and environmental policy courses. Our Workshop in Applied Earth Systems Management course offers students an opportunity to serve as a sustainability consultant to a real client, so we have an internship-like experience built into the curricula. Our practical training will teach students how to develop effective proposals; analyze, design and implement policy and programs; create efficient master calendars and budgets; communicate with and manage stakeholders;  measure organizational capacity and impact; and present effective briefings and other presentations.

For more information about MPA-ESP please click here or email Associate Director Laura Piraino at lpiraino@ei.columbia.edu.

— Laura Piraino, Associate Director, MPA-ESP

Executive MPA Updates

Having just passed the July 1 application deadline, the Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) program is gearing up for the Fall 2017 orientation on August 19. Once more, we will have a strong cohort of mid-career professionals representing the public, nonprofit and private sectors and several countries. Due to increased demand, the EMPA program will once more have a spring class, and the Spring 2018 application will be available in mid-August. Our commitment to high quality digital education is evident in our innovative digital video case studies, created by the video production team at the Picker Center for Executive Education.

This year several new cases were added to the collection, filmed on location in Ghana, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These cases explored issues of development and Aid, as well as technology in government. Examples of cases from the collection can be seen below:

Digital India
Password: sipa2017

eDoctors
Password: sipa2017

For more information about EMPA please click here or email empa@columbia.edu.

—Valerie Zimmer, Associate Director of Recruitment and Marketing, EMPA

MIA/MPA/MPA-DP Updates

Starting this term, you’ll notice a shift in MIA/MPA concentration directors. Travis Bradford stepped down as director of the Energy and Environment Concentration. Bradford, who is widely recognized for his expertise in clean energy markets and finance, will continue to hold the position of Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs and will teach the Concentration’s required course on energy fundamentals.

Wolfram Schlenker, Professor of International and Public Affairs, and David Sandalow, Inaugural Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy, have been appointed as Co-Directors of E&E. Professor Schlenker, who is an internationally recognized expert in environmental economics teaches, “Economic Analysis of Environmental Policies”, one of the core courses in the environmental policy and management focus area. He currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Environmental and Energy Economics Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and the Board of Reviewing Editors at Science. Sandalow, who leads the Center’s China research, writes widely on energy policy, including most recently on energy geopolitics and renewable energy finance. He has served in senior positions at the White House, State Department and U.S. Department of Energy.

Speaking of courses, we’ve also expanded our curriculum offerings. To date there are 14 new courses being offered in Fall 2017: they include “Climate Change: Israel and the Middle East,” “State Formation, Deformation and Failure,” and “Crime, Journalism, and Public Policy,” among others. (Spring 2018 additions will be announced in mid-July.)

The Professional Development Career Conference is also experiencing some changes. The course now meets three times over three weeks. Previously, the course was completed in either two or five class meetings, but the Office of Career Services adjusted the program based on feedback from students and professionals in the field. It is a requirement for all students in the MIA, MPA and MPA-DP programs, and should be completed during the first year of study. The PD Conference is designed to help students clarify career goals, shape viable strategies for pursuing internship and job opportunities, and develop skills to compete effectively in the international and public affairs job markets.

If anything else develops we’ll announce them on the SIPA Admissions Blog. As always, browse this Blog or visit the SIPA website to learn more about the two-year programs. You may also email us at sipa_admission@columbia.edu.

—Kaitlyn Wells, Assistant Director of Admissions, SIPA

 

Interested in applying to our programs? The applications for MPA-ESP and MPA-EPM are live today! (The two-year MIA/MPA and EMPA programs will open in mid-August 2017.) Visit https://apply.sipa.columbia.edu/apply/ to start your application.

What admitted students want to know about paying for SIPA

Have questions about billing and payments, work study, or student loans? Our financial aid staff compiled a list of commonly-asked questions and answers to help alleviate some of these concerns.

Student Loan Questions:

I was only awarded the Direct Unsubsidized Loan for $20,500 but I need more funding. What are my options?
When you submit the FAFSA, we can package you with the Direct Unsubsidized Loan because it does not require a credit check or additional application. For graduate students, the annual cap for the Unsubsidized Loan is $20,500,  however, you can also apply for a Graduate PLUS loan.  If you have already received your award notification, please see the Messages tab of NetPartner (https://studentviewer.finaid.columbia.edu).  Beneath the section labeled “Unmet Financial Need,” you will find the application and you will see your remaining amount of need which is the maximum you can borrow in a Graduate PLUS or similar private loan.

When do I need to apply for loans/complete entrance counseling/sign the promissory notes?
We recommend you have your aid in place no later than early August. Please log in to NetPartner and be sure to accept your awards on the Accept Awards tab and review the Messages and Documents tabs for any outstanding materials.

When and how will the loan be disbursed?
Loans are divided evenly between the terms you are enrolled and disbursed to your Columbia student account at the beginning of each semester.

If I borrowed loans to cover living expenses, how and when will that money be refunded to me?
We strongly encourage you to set up direct deposit (see http://sfs.columbia.edu/billing/payments-to-students#how_to_enroll for instructions).  Any amount you borrowed in excess of the tuition and fees for the semester will be issued as a refund to you by the second week of classes after the loan has disbursed to your student bill and after you have registered for classes (assuming you have also completed all the necessary steps on NetPartner).

Can international students borrow student loans?
There are private lenders who make loans available to international students, but most require a US citizen to co-sign. Go to http://sfs.columbia.edu/financial-aid/private-loans#suggested_lenders for more information. We have learned of two lenders who will make loans to international students without a co-signer requirement:  mpowerfinancing.com and www.prodigyfinance.com.

Work Study Questions:

Do I have to accept Federal Work Study? How does it work? Will it be paid towards the bill? How do I find a job?  Should I wait until I know my class schedule to look for a job?
If you were eligible for work study, it was included in your financial aid notification. You are not required to accept it. You will need to find an eligible position and then the money will be paid out to you like a regular salary subject to taxes (it is not applied to your bill). We recommend you start searching for positions and then you can work out the specific schedule after you are hired. More info including how to search for positions is at: http://sfs.columbia.edu/content/work-study-overview.

Billing & Payment Questions:

Please note the SIPA Financial Aid Office does not charge tuition or collect payment. The office responsible for these procedures is the Student Financial Services Office. More info is: http://sfs.columbia.edu/billing-basics.  

When will I receive my first bill?
The fall statement will be issued August 14 and due September 15. The full schedule is here.

What happens with the admission deposit I paid?
It will be applied towards the charges for the first semester you are enrolled and you will see the credit on SSOL when you review your student account.

Is there a payment plan?
Yes, for the fall and spring terms (it is not available for the summer).

Can I wire money from a foreign bank to pay my bill?
Yes, please see http://sfs.columbia.edu/content/pay-wire.

Can I waive the health insurance and health services fee?
Domestic full-time students can waive the insurance if they have alternate coverage that meets the criteria. The waiver for the fall term will not be available until July 15 and will be due September 30.  Students cannot waive the health services fee.

If I’m living in Columbia housing, will my rent be on the bill?
Most students in University housing will need to pay their rent separately.

My employer/sponsor is going to pay my bill and needs to receive an invoice from Columbia.  What do I do?   
You will need to set up third party billing.  Please also email our office with a copy of your sponsorship letter.

I’m receiving an external scholarship.  Do I notify you?  Where can they send the payment?
Please email our office the details. They can mail the check to:

Student Financial Services
210 Kent Hall
Attn: Cashiers office
1140 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

Other Helpful Resources at Columbia University:

Info for International Students: https://isso.columbia.edu/

Office of Military and Veterans Affairs: http://sfs.columbia.edu/departments/veterans-service

Working Seeples: Yasmina Dardari MIA ’17

In addition to taking 14 to 16 credits a semester and participating in student groups, some SIPA students also work part-time jobs or internships. Earlier this semester, SIPA News spoke with Yasmina Dardari MIA ’17 to discuss how she manages the demands of school, her social life, and her internship at Unbendable Media.

What did you do before coming to SIPA?

I worked in D.C. for a few years at public-interest communications firm that did work for nonprofits and governments. I decided to attend SIPA to dig deeper into my own interests in media and human rights and also explore some of the the policy issues my clients were working on.

I’m really into media, politics, public relations, strategic campaigning, and human rights. My specialization in Technology, Media, and Communications and my concentration in Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy allows me to combine all of these interests.

What do you do at Unbendable Media?

Unbendable Media is a team of communications practitioners that do campaign strategy and public relations work for organizations that aim to build a better, more progressive world. A former colleague started the company and and reached out to me to join his team. I do much of the same work I did with the firm in D.C.—providing campaign strategy and public relations works for organizations working for the public interest.

Having this particular part-time job has really informed my SIPA education. My clients work on the same policy problems that we work on at SIPA, so my work informs school and school informs my work. It’s like a two-way symbiotic relationship that makes me a better employee and student.

Why Unbendable Media?

I wanted to keep myself sharp in the field that I care about, so I started interning at the organization last summer. They liked my work and asked me to stay on as a part-time worker. I enjoy the work, so it was a no-brainer to accept the offer. It will allow me to work in media and politics, which is where my heart is.

How do you balance your school and work commitments?

It’s not easy. It’s give and take. Ideally I wouldn’t have to work while attending school, but financially I can’t afford not to.

I didn’t work my first semester, which allowed me to throw myself into my studies. I was able to go to lectures and fully dedicate myself to schoolwork. It became difficult after that because I was the co-president for the Middle East Dialogue Group and had an assistantship in addition to my part-time work at Unbendable Media. Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on the full SIPA experience.

My schedule is exhausting but it’s taught me the value of self-care. I know now how important it is to keep my stamina up, so I’m smarter about taking breaks and making efforts to spend time on my hobbies and see friends. Also, my time management skills have improved so much because of this experience. I make sure I’m on track and hit my benchmarks. My life would be a lot less stressful [if I didn’t work outside SIPA], but you can make it work if you have structure.

This interview, conducted by Serina Bellamy MIA ’17, has been condensed and edited.

Columbia University to open Center for Veteran Transition and Integration

Earlier this month, Columbia University announced the creation of a new Center for Veteran Transition and Integration that will provide innovative educational programming and support for veterans making the transition to two- and four-year colleges, graduate and professional schools, civilian life, and the workforce.

Major Michael Abrams, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and a current Marine Corps Reservist, as well as the founder of FourBlock, a program to prepare veterans for business careers, will lead the center as its executive director. Beth Morgan, former executive director of Service to School and director of higher education initiatives for the Marine Corps, joins the center as director of higher education transition and partnerships.

The Center for Veterans will open in the fall of 2017.

Columbia’s long-standing commitment to veterans can be traced back to 1947, when the School of General Studies was founded to integrate into the University community thousands of returning military veterans seeking education after World War II through the first GI Bill. Today more than 650 veterans are enrolled at Columbia, most of them supported by the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program. The University has enrolled more student-veterans than all other Ivy League schools combined, while maintaining a graduation rate above 90 percent and a record of job and graduate school placement that equals Columbia’s non-veteran graduates. Highlighting this success, this year’s valedictorian at the School of General Studies is Colin Valentini, a Marine Corps veteran who came to Columbia to study applied mathematics.

Columbia’s successful efforts in helping military service members make the transition to a rigorous academic environment has prompted interest from other universities, employers, government agencies, and veteran-support organizations across the country that would like to replicate its veteran support model.

The new veteran’s center will draw on Columbia’s expertise in curriculum development, instructional technology, and support services in facilitating veterans’ success in an academic setting. In collaboration with a network of public and private partners, the center will provide access to world-class technology and technical support. It will serve military service members at all levels, enlisted and officers, as well as active-duty military personnel preparing for transition, veterans already in higher education, and veterans in the workforce, providing them with the best-in-class resources that they need to ensure their continued academic and professional development. The experience and expertise that Abrams and Morgan bring to this endeavor will be integral in achieving the Center’s vision.

Read more about the Center at Columbia News.

Highlights from the 2016-17 academic year

A lot happened at SIPA this year that our incoming Fall 2017 Seeples may need to know about prior to joining the program in September. We welcomed some amazing new faculty and community leaders to campus, created capstone projects with institutions in more than 38 countries, celebrated our 70th anniversary, and added to our summer reading lists with new books by SIPA authors, among other activities.

As told by Dean Merit Janow, here’s a look at what happened with our Seeples during the 2016-17 academic year.

New and Visiting Faculty

We were delighted to welcome some truly exceptional faculty to SIPA this past academic year. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew joined us as a Visiting Professor starting in February 2017.  This spring he taught a very popular short course on leadership and international economic policy and will teach an expanded version in the fall.

Visiting faculty included Israeli historian Shlomo Ben Ami, who served as the McGovern Professor in the Fall of 2016, and delivered the McGovern lecture on the subject of The Politics of Conflict – the Mideast and Beyond; and Ronaldo Lemos, co-founder and Director of the Institute for Technology & Society of Rio de Janeiro, taught a new course, “Tech Policy and Culture in the Developing World: Living on the Edge.”

Among our new full-time faculty members, Rodrigo Soares, a Brazilian economist, joined us as the inaugural Lemann Professor of Brazilian Public Policy; and Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, a specialist in U.S. political economy and the politics of organized interests, joined us as assistant professor of international and public affairs.

Capstones and Courses

SIPA’s capstone program is the largest and most diverse of any public policy school. This year SIPA students participated in 63 capstone and 18 EPD workshops, working with institutions in the public, private and non-profit sectors in more than 38 countries.  The projects ranged from cybersecurity and ICT for development to sustainable finance and refugee workforce integration. (You may view a full list here.)

I invite you to watch two brief videos about capstone projects this year that addressed issues of social conflict and the mining industry in Peru, and a new digital medical “library” in the Dominican Republic. (They can be found here.)

The SIPA curriculum also covers a wide range of critical public policy issues as well as many other important fields. In 2016-17, we added 45 courses in areas such as environmental finance, the Panama papers, gender armed conflict, forced migration, macro-prudential policy, China and India, and tech, policy and culture in the developing world. A full list with descriptions is available on the SIPA website.

Student Teaching Award

Each year our students and faculty receive numerous awards for their achievements. One University award that bears mention is the one given to PhD student Jason Chun Yu Wong who was a recipient of the 2017 Presidential Award for Graduate Students. This is a highly selective award given to only three graduate students each year from across the University who demonstrate a commitment to excellent and innovative teaching, as recognized by the Columbia community.  Please join me in congratulating him.

A Convening Hub for Leaders

As is the case every year at SIPA, we welcomed literally hundreds of high-profile speakers and leaders to campus to share their views and interact with students and faculty. This year featured a particularly diverse and accomplished roster. A few highlights by month:

  • On September 21st SIPA hosted the first-ever “Transatlantic Citizens Dialogue” featuring Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner, speaking about Tax Avoidance and Privacy in the Digital Age.  A live audience in Milan, Italy was connected to SIPA via a video link.
  • On October 26th, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon delivered the Gabriel Silver Memorial Lecture on “Turmoil, Transition, and Opportunity: The United Nations in a Changing World.”
  • On November 15th, George Osborne, former Chancellor of the Exchequer for the United Kingdom, spoke on “Brexit, the U.S. Elections, and the Global Economy.”
  • On December 5th, Emmanuel Macron, the recently elected President of France, shared his thoughts on “Re-forging Transatlantic Bonds.”
  • Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former President of Estonia, delivered a keynote address and participated in a panel discussion on March 2nd with SIPA and Columbia faculty on the subject, “Russia and Cyber – The Way Forward.”
  • On April 17th, Stanley Fischer, Federal Reserve Vice Chair, delivered the inaugural lecture on central banking, and on April 24th Urjit Patel, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, delivered the 3rd Kotak Family Lecture on India’s economy.
  • On May 5th Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Inc. headlined the 2017 Global Digital Futures Forum, an annual conference with more than 25 expert speakers organized by SIPA’s Tech and Policy Initiative, with a focus this year on digital technology, fragmentation of the internet, and globalization.

SIPA Center Activities

Our SIPA Centers continued to undertake cutting edge research and host major events in areas such as global energy policy, global economic governance, economic development, war and peace studies, and the Indian economy.

Some noteworthy activities include the Center on Global Energy Policy’s annual Columbia Global Energy Summit, which took place on April 13th, and the Center for Development Economics and Policy’s Clyde Wu Visiting Fellows Program. On October 13th the Saltzman Institute convened the National Security Scholars Conference featuring Deborah Lee James, U.S. Secretary of the Air Force and SIPA alumna (MIA ’81).  The Center on Global Economic Governance hosted major conferences in Brazil and China as part of its “Strategies for Growth: The Changing Role of the State” initiative.  And the Deepak and Neera Raj Center on Indian Economic Policies sponsored a one-day conference on Trade Issues Today on October 3rd, 2016.

Explore the Center websites for even more programming as the new academic year begins.

SIPA’s 70th Anniversary

Many of you participated in our 70th anniversary events and activities throughout the year. It ended with a 70th Celebration Weekend from March 30th to April 2nd, during which we had the largest gathering of SIPA alumni in the School’s history, a terrific all-day SIPA Forum on substantive policy issues, and the Global Leadership Awards Gala – attended by more than 700 guests.

Below are a few links to the weekend’s activities:

The 70th anniversary fundraising efforts helped us achieve an important outcome by generating $1.2 million in new student financial aid and creating 80 new student fellowships.

New Books by SIPA Authors – Great Summer Reading!

Lastly, SIPA faculty published a number of new books this year. These include Guillermo Calvo’s Macroeconomics in Times of Liquidity Crises (2016, MIT Press); Daniel Corstange’s The Price of a Vote in the Middle East (2016, Cambridge University Press); Robert Jervis’ How Statesmen Think: The Psychology of International Politics (2017, Princeton University Press); and Sara Tjossem’s Fostering Internationalism through Marine Science (2017, Springer).

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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