Several groups called institutes – such as the Institute on Applied Space Research and the Cyberspace Policy Institute – listed among the myriad of GW programs. These institutes serve an important purpose on campus, University officials said.
In today’s research world, faculty often need to work in teams to accomplish complicated research agendas, said Lester Lefton, dean of the Columbian School of Arts and Sciences.
This means bringing together people from diverse disciplines with unique skills – in the form of institutes.
In many ways, research institutes allow the whole to be greater than the sum of its individual parts, Lefton said.
The Cyberspace Policy Institute, which deals with technology issues, can be found within the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Members coordinate researchers and government officials, often in seminars that are open to the public, to examine issues in computer and communications policy.
According to its Web site, the group’s mission is analysis of policy problems that have a significant computer systems component. The group conducts research into online security, e-commerce, telemedicine and cyber-culture to gain a better understanding of what these prospects hold for the future.
The Elliott School of International Affairs’ Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) has been a part of GW since 1961. The group changed its name in 1992 from the Institute for Sino-Soviet Studies with the fall of communism. Its events calendar is filled with seminars and discussions on topics such as development in the Ukraine and the conflict in Kosovo.
Heather Freedman, assistant to the director of the institute, said lectures and assembled panels from the academic and policy communities are a substantial part of the institute’s work.
The two-day Hoffman seminar, which takes place in April, is the IERES’s biggest event. This year’s theme is Prospects for a Peaceful, Undivided and Democratic Europe.
The program includes the Czech ambassador, as well as scholars from the Brookings Institute, Princeton University, the University of Washington and the National Defense University. The IERES has a visiting scholars program, fostering synergy between domestic researchers and incoming scholars.
These programs offer a perspective beyond strictly domestic research, Freedman said.
Carol Sigelman, associate vice president for Research and Graduate Studies, chairs the administrative committee that decides which research centers and institutes are funded by the University’s Research Enhancement Fund. Nine institutes are currently funded.
We like to have good centers and institutes, Sigelman said.
She said the groups bring visibility to campus scholarship The work the groups do gives both graduate students and undergraduates the chance to get heavily involved in their fields of study, Sigelman said.