Archive for News

Decisions have been released; COVID-19 update

First, the biggest news: admissions decisions are out for the MIA, MPA, and MPA-DP programs. Thanks again to all of you for your patience, and as usual, we are honored to have read your applications.

Second, in providing a safe and healthy campus, SIPA’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid is working remotely for the time being. This is tough timing for you and us, since meeting everyone is one of the highlights of this whole process. You can find updated information on COVID-19 on Columbia’s website here.

Finally, here are some updates that may be directly relevant to you right now:

  • Class visits for the Spring 2020 semester have been cancelled, since all classes have been moved online.
  • Again, the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid is not open, but our staff is working remotely. The best way to contact us will be by email. There may be a delay in our responses, so please be patient. Here’s a few tips to effectively communicate with our office.
  • Our student program assistants are working remotely as well, helping out with email and the blog. We’ll be publishing blog content as usual.
  • Let us know what you want to know through this feedback form. Our students and staff are happy to write about topics most important to you, especially as you are making your graduate school decisions. Let us know what you want to have a discussion about.

Our office is still responding to emails and calls, and I ask for your patience as we adapt to ever-changing policies.

Stay healthy and continue watch out for each other and our community. And congratulations to the newly admitted students of the Class of 2022 – I hope that it will only go up from here!

On Columbia University SIPA and COVID-19 – The situation is still evolving

Usually during this time in the year, we are busy preparing to release decisions and preparing for Admitted Students’ Day. This year is no different, except we are grappling with COVID-19 at the same time.

Columbia University has been closely monitoring the situation, and we have all been working to continue acting as a resource for all of you while working to take care of each other and our community. Because the situation is changing so quickly:

  • You can find updated information on COVID-19 on Columbia’s website here. As of now, no Columbia student, faculty, or staff has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • While options to Visit SIPA are still open including class visits, this may change quickly depending on the situation. For example, we had to cancel a few weeks of class visits due to the new COVID-19 events policy. We are exploring digital options for faculty webinars for our admitted students and will update the schedule as soon as we have updated information.
  • If you’re looking for alternative online class visit options, I encourage you check out this New Courses at SIPA playlist which highlights, well, new courses at SIPA in a wide range of focus areas. SIPA’s notable professors explain their own words – and in just one minute – how their courses help prepare SIPA students to do practical work once they graduate.

Until then, we hope that everyone continues to stay safe and wash their hands. The Office of Admissions and Financial Aid is still open until further notice, and as usual we will update everyone as the situation evolves.

Professor Glenn Denning, MPA-DP Program Director, giving the keynote address for the One World Festival

Last week Professor Glenn Denning, our MPA-DP Program Director led a public talk at #OneWorldFestival event at Queen’s University, Belfast. Professor Denning discussed how the world can build a sustainable food supply system in a time when an ever-increasing population is to reach 10 billion by 2050.

As he put it: “It’s not rocket science – we have all the knowledge we need. What we need to do is invest pro-actively and strategically or we face the catastrophe of famine and extreme environmental degradation we have all been warned about.”

Read more on what Professor Denning shared before the audience of the event here.

Learn more about the MPA-DP Program. Follow us on:

The First Day of School

Tuesday was the first day of classes here, and you can feel the energy of students, faculty, and the community on campus. Here’s a little of what’s going on at Columbia, and what you can expect.

The blog is taking listener requests

Remember to search through our archives, and if you can’t find the topic you want to know about, submit an idea here. I’m excited to introduce you to our new batch of program assistants, who will share their application experiences over the next few months. We’ve published a few posts based on your feedback:

What’s new at SIPA

Welcome to the newest members of the SIPA community, the Class of 2021. More than 450 students have joined us from 61 countries for our MIA/MPA/MPA-DP programs, and the incoming class is 60 percent international, with an average of 3.5 years of work experience.

Along with several visiting professors, adjunct faculty, and senior research scholars, SIPA also welcomes two new tenured faculty members:

  • Sandra Black, an influential and accomplished labor economist, has joined us as Professor of International and Public Affairs, jointly appointed with the Department of Economics. She comes to Columbia from the University of Texas. Her research focuses on the role of early life experiences on the long-run outcomes of children, as well as issues of gender and discrimination. She has previously worked as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and as a member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, among other positions.
  • Keren Yarhi-Milo, a leading scholar of decision-making in foreign policy, joins us as Professor of International and Public Affairs, jointly appointed in the Department of Political Science. She comes to SIPA from Princeton University. She has written two exceptional books – “Who Fights for Reputation?” and “Knowing the Adversary” – both of which explore the topic of elite decision-making in foreign policy.

“No, I won’t start spying on my foreign-born students”

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger wrote this op-ed in The Washington Post, which addresses the university’s stance on students as they return to campus.

The mission of a university is to foster an open atmosphere conducive to speculation, experimentation and creation. American higher education is the envy of the world not in spite of, but because of, its unrivaled commitment to openness and diversity. Attracting — and welcoming — the brightest minds in the world, regardless of nationality or country of origin, is what we’re all about.

Meeting current and future students, preparing for graduation, and a “Stealthy Starbucks”

While it’s slowing down a little bit for the Admissions and Financial Aid office, we’re still busy with everything happening on campus. Students and faculty are wrapping up finals, and the Class of 2019 is preparing for graduation — SIPA’s is this weekend, and the Columbia University-wide Commencement is next Wednesday.

You may have noticed that we’ve had a number of guest posts from SIPA students on the blog, talking about everything from student life to projects they worked on — we’ll keep this up so that you can continue to get a full student perspective.

A few updates:

  • I got the pleasure of meeting a group of Marist College students a few weeks ago, whose guidance counselor is herself a SIPA alum! Not all of the students were planning on applying immediately after graduation, but as I told them: If coming to SIPA is your goal, connect with us at Admissions sooner rather than later. It’s helpful to have time to learn and prepare for the application process instead of rushing last-minute while juggling everything else going on in your life.

  • A friendly reminder that the Yellow Ribbon Program is open for the 19/20 academic year. The application is available here under “The Yellow Ribbon Program.” For more information, please email sipa_finaid@columbia.edu.
  • SIPA alumni gave some advice for incoming students last year. I think it’s still relevant today in figuring out how to navigate any graduate school system.
  • And finally, a bit of light reading as we head into the end of the week: “At CIA Starbucks, even the baristas are covert”

If you’re a blog reader and are interested in a topic that we haven’t covered, feel free to email or submit an idea. Two recent posts were based on suggestions by readers like you.

"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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