Fall 2019 Diplomacy Lab@Pitt: Call for Faculty Bids

Are you teaching an undergraduate or graduate course next semester?
Are you interested in working with students on real-world problems?

Get involved with the Diplomacy Lab at Pitt

The Diplomacy Lab program links the U.S. State Department with academic research and teaching programs across the country. Pitt students have the opportunity to work collaboratively under the guidance of faculty members on critical topics of global policy, including climate change, weapons nonproliferation, democracy and human rights, counter-terrorism, food security and global health.

Fall 2019 projects that might be of interest to faculty affiliated with the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies include:

To participate, submit a Faculty Proposal Bid Form to UCIS Diplomacy Lab Coordinator Zsuzsánna Magdó at zsuzsannamagdo@pitt.edu by 5 p.m., Monday, April 8, 2019. To explore other projects, browse the Fall 2019 Project Menu or the abridged Index.

How To Incorporate Diplomacy Lab Projects into Your Classroom
Faculty leaders can incorporate their Diplomacy Lab project within their curriculum as best suits their teaching needs and academic goals. Course structure varies depending on the nature of the project. Potential models include:

  • Course-Per-Topic Model: A course built around a chosen Diplomacy Lab topic, with the faculty determining whether students work collectively or in teams. The course instructor also coordinates and consolidates student work products, the final form being discussed with the relevant State Department officials before the semester begins.
  • Multi-Topic Course Model: One or more courses (whether Diplomacy-Lab-specific or pre-existing) offered in which student teams address different topics as outlined in the project announcement.
  • Independent Study Model: Credited and supervised independent study opportunities offered to small groups of students for one or more chosen projects.

Possible models for student work involve a compilation of the best portions of various projects, a class-wide revision of a chosen project, or splitting the topic into distinct pieces (i.e. country or thematic focuses) and consolidating the results into one final submission.

While the final format depends on the project’s nature and the Department of State, most Diplomacy Lab products are short policy memos with data and supporting research attached in appendices as necessary. In some cases, these may take the form of longer research papers, statistical analyses or data sets.

University Project Bidding Process
A list of proposed projects is shared with universities that are participating in Diplomacy Lab. Then partner universities identify faculty members to lead teams of students in Diplomacy Lab projects. Over the course of a semester, professors guide students in developing a final work product that accomplishes the goals outlined by the Department. Students have opportunities throughout the semester to discuss their research with State Department officials.

As the Diplomacy Lab Coordinators for Pitt, we are available to coordinate the project bidding process, facilitate introductions with State Department officials, assist with any projects needs before and during the semester.  For more guidance on expectations of Diplomacy Lab participants, please see: www.ou.edu/content/diplomacylab/best-practices-for-participating-institutions.html

University Project Bidding Timeline

Fall 2019 Cycle

  • March 14:  Department of State (DOS) circulates Fall 2019 Project Menu
  • April 8:  Pitt Faculty Submit Bids to Pitt Coordinators
  • April 10:  Final Bid Submission Due to DOS
  • April 26:  Project Selections Finalized / Connection with DOS
  • April 26-May 9:  Second Round of Bidding announced by DOS
  • August 2019:  First Team Video / Tele-Correspondence for Fall 2019 Semester
  • December 2019:  Final Product Deadline to DOS

Each university may submit up to 6 project proposals. In cases where a topic is oversubscribed, the requested State Department office will choose between the universities based on the appropriateness of the intended implementation of their specific project. Faculty are invited to bid ONLY on projects that can be executed if selected. As has become tradition, the Department of State will open a brief Second Round of Bidding once it matched the projects from the first round. This will only include projects that were not matched in the first round, enabling faculty to pick up additional projects if your initial bids weren’t accepted.

Tips for a Successful Project Bid
Faculty bids may be a maximum of 200 words. A few notes to emphasize in your proposal:

  • Interdisciplinary projects are highly encouraged.
  • Proposals should contain information regarding how projects/courses will be conducted.
  • If a topic seems too broad to tackle properly in a semester, the project bid should clarify the scope of the proposed project.
  • Project subjects vary by semester, so if there is one closely related to an area of expertise or research interests, proposals should emphasize that.
  • Once a project bid is submitted, the university pledges to complete the project and bids are considered final.

For additional information, contact REEES Associate Director Zsuzsánna Magdó.