KSU Professors Collaborate on Diplomacy Lab

 Diplomacy Lab
KSU collaborates with Diplomacy Lab and the U.S. Department of State 

Collaborating professors include 3 professors from CHSS

KENNESAW, Ga. (Apr 26, 2019) — As of April 1, the U.S. Department of State named Kennesaw State University one of its newest partners for the Diplomacy Lab, a program that harnesses the scholarly efforts of college students and faculty to solve complex global challenges.

Kennesaw State is one of 35 universities involved in the public-private partnership that enables the State Department to “course-source” research and innovation related to foreign policy challenges. Partner universities conduct research on the State Department’s most critical matters, including climate change, democracy and human rights, counterterrorism, global health, energy security, gender equality, economic policy trafficking of individuals, food security, and conflict and stabilization.

“This is an important step for Kennesaw State,” said Sherrill Hayes, program director for the Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science and professor of conflict management, who will serve as KSU’s Diplomacy Lab coordinator. “The Diplomacy Lab offers a highly interdisciplinary approach, and having these abundant opportunities to do applied policy research will only continue to grow Kennesaw State’s reputation as an R2 powerhouse.”

Each semester, the State Department proposes projects that match the strengths and interests of the universities participating in the Diplomacy Lab. Hayes explained that, for example, a proposed project on cryptocurrency in developing countries could draw on Kennesaw State faculty member’s expertise in economics, computer science, international affairs, or sociology.

With 55 projects available for the fall semester, Kennesaw State called on faculty experts to recruit and lead student teams on compatible projects. Each university may submit bids for up to six projects per semester. So far, 5 projects have been approved at Kennesaw State, two of which are in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Diplomacy Lab approves 5 projects at KSU, two of which in CHSS

Justin Pettigrew, Assistant Professor of Public Relations, submitted his project, Key factors of public diplomacy in supporting democratic processes in Sub-Saharan Africa, which was reviewed and approved by the Department of State and the project will begin in the Fall 2019 semester as a collaboration project between the School of Communication and Media and the School of Conflict Management.

Darina Lepadatu, Professor of Sociology, submitted her project, Labor Rights Accountability Mechanisms and Their History, which will be completed for the Office of International Labor Affairs in USDOS, and is scheduled for Fall 2019 semester.

Working in teams or as part of a class project, KSU students will explore real-world challenges identified by the State Department, allowing them to contribute directly to the policymaking process while helping the department tap into the University’s intellectual capital. KSU faculty will guide students in developing a product that achieves the goals outlined by the department.

Students will meet with State Department officials to gain context and direction for the project and also discuss their research through video and phone conferences throughout the semester. Students then present their results and final work, which may take the form of short policy memos, research papers or statistical analyses to department officials.

--Original article by Tiffany Capuano, edited by Nicole Connelly