You are here: Memorandum


June 21, 2017

TO: American University Community
FROM: Scott A. Bass, Provost
SUBJECT: James Goldgeier, Dean, School of International Service

James Goldgeier has informed me that he is stepping down after six years as Dean of the School of International Service and will transition to the SIS faculty, where he holds the appointment of Professor of International Relations. His last day as dean will be August 8, 2017. 

Dean Goldgeier's accomplishments, dedication to excellence, and contributions to SIS, AU, and the field of international relations have been substantial and multifaceted. As dean, he worked tirelessly to further improve the national standing and visibility of SIS. In the most recent rankings of international relations programs, the SIS undergraduate program moved up to number 9, the MA program maintained its ranking at number 8, and the PhD program broke into the top 25 for the first time at number 22. He has also played a significant role in the decade of transformation at AU. 

Since his arrival, Dean Goldgeier has cultivated a multidisciplinary, research-active, and intellectually engaged community through support for existing faculty and hiring of new outstanding faculty at all ranks. In addition to realigning internal supports for faculty affairs, he prioritized and promoted collaborative research by engaging faculty across different fields. Faculty mentoring has been a hallmark of his administration. As a result, SIS faculty have continued to thrive, many receiving major scholarly awards.

In the area of diversity and inclusion, he created the SIS Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion. Among its activities, the council sponsors the Exploring Identities Series designed to foster more inclusivity in the field of international affairs. 

Dean Goldgeier also led enhancements to the SIS undergraduate curriculum and experience. To distinguish its undergraduate scholars and increase retention, SIS implemented programs such as the school's Honors Program, the Olson Scholars sophomore research program, sophomore coffee breaks, and the SIS Diplomatic Core. SIS students have flourished. This year, twenty SIS students received Boren Scholarships or Fellowships, exceeding the totals for all other colleges and universities nationwide. The Model UN team is now ranked 7th in the country-breaking into the top 10 for the first time in 2016-and the SIS undergraduate team won this year's inaugural Schuman Challenge, sponsored by the European Delegation to the United States.

With these accomplishments, SIS has been successful in attracting large numbers of graduate students. Overall, Master's student enrollment increased under Dean Goldgeier's leadership, particularly with the 2013 launch of the online MA in International Relations-the university's first major online degree program and the first, top-tier, online graduate degree of its caliber in International Relations. Increased graduate enrollments, along with undergraduate enrollments, have resulted in a much larger school and far greater complexity of operations.

With curricular enhancements, a unique online program, and distinguished faculty and students, the school's visibility increased with the distinguished speakers who have visited SIS and the school's high-profile projects. Dean Goldgeier's focus on bridging the worlds of scholarship and public discourse through the Bridging the Gap project received national attention, including support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. In 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the launch of the U.S.-Pakistan Women's Council, an ongoing partnership between the State Department and American University designed to support women's entrepreneurship in Pakistan and housed in SIS. 

Dean Goldgeier's unquestioned support for research at the highest levels has had an undeniable imprint on SIS. The school's focused passion for research excellence has earned praise from the Board of Trustees, Presidents Kerwin and Burwell, and this provost. This directed SIS mission of academic excellence leaves an indelible legacy for SIS's future leadership and will continue to thrive in the years to come. During his time as dean, he generated substantial revenues for SIS, increasing scholarship support and ensuring that the school is on a strong financial footing going forward. 

Today, SIS is recognized as a powerhouse of both teaching and research in Washington, DC, much to the credit of the SIS community, previous leadership, and Dean Goldgeier. Please join me in thanking Jim for his years of service as dean.