International Affairs at IUB

This Week’s Big Issue

Should IU have a school of international affairs?

This is one of the questions the New Academic Directions Committee ( will be working on in the coming weeks as it develops recommendations for the President and the IU Board of Trustees.

Some argue that IU’s area study programs can be re-organized into a school of international affairs. What this argument misses is that the center of gravity in many IUB area study programs resides in the humanities. While literature, music, and languages, among other areas of the humanities are central to the study of international affairs, they tend to play a supporting role in international affairs schools in other leading universities where the social sciences (particularly international relations, international development and diplomacy) tend to take center stage.

SPEA’s focus on international affairs has waxed and waned over the years. Consistent with SPEA2015, we have made an effort to strengthen our international profile, developing overseas study courses, hiring faculty with international research agendas, and developing partnerships that will internationalize our student body. At some institutions, schools of public affairs are joined with schools of international affairs (e.g., Columbia University); however, the more typical arrangement is for these to be separate academic units.

As this discussion unfolds, we will need to consider whether SPEA should be the home for a new unit dedicated to international affairs, perhaps renaming the school to include this sphere of intellectual and educational activity.

Regardless of how IU decides to organize its international affairs education programs, an effort that strengthens international affairs on the IUB campus should be seen as a positive development for SPEA. An academic unit dedicated to international affairs would make it easier to recruit students and faculty with these interests to IUB SPEA with these interests. Moreover, an international affairs unit on the IUB campus could provide an important partner in our educational programs, especially for those students who plan to pursue global careers in public policy/administration.

What’s Happening in SPEA Bloomington?

The IU Debate Team, under Brian DeLong’s leadership, is off to a fast start. The Team has a new web-page ( Make sure to look at some of the historical documents posted on the page that Brian uncovered to highlight the long and distinguished history of intercollegiate debate on the IUB campus. Major tournaments have been scheduled at the University of Kentucky, Georgia University, and the University of North Texas. Indiana will also host its first college tournament in nearly two decades in mid-February.

SPEA’s Big Number

This week’s big number for SPEA is the record setting size of the school (measured by undergraduate market share) on the Bloomington Campus: SPEA is the 4th largest school (overtaking Education and Music).

The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest school (56.5%), followed by the Kelley School of Business (15.5%), the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (8.2%), SPEA (4.9%), Jacobs School of Music (4.4%), the School of Education (4.2%), the School of Informatics and Computing (2.0%), the School of Journalism (1.6%), Medical Sciences (0.9%), School of Optometry (0.09%), the School of Library and Information Systems (0.008%).

Shout-Out to SPEA Bloomington

Please join me in congratulating Sarah Hamang (BSPA, Nonprofit Management) on receipt of the Harry Bentley Burnett Scholarship. This program provides scholarships to the Hutton Honors College junior men and women in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements, exceptional leadership and contributions to their fields of study, to Indiana University and to the Bloomington community.


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