NPSIA Faculty Advice


Director Dane Rowlands

rowlands1. What is your current area of research?

I’ve just finished a couple of projects, one being a book on the IMF (with my co-author Graham Bird) that covers a range of IMF related activity. I’m just completing one journal article project with a PhD student (Stephanie Soiffer) on human rights. I have a number of other collaborations that are still developing, so my next urgent research project is one on how people respond as donors to humanitarian relief agencies when there are natural or other major global disasters.

2. What advice can you provide to future incoming NPSIA students?

Be prepared to challenge some of the ideas and habits of thinking acquired during your undergraduate studies, and keep an open mind about new approaches. Graduate studies is not all about what you know, it’s mostly about how you think, and knowing the limits of what you and others know.

3. What is your favourite aspect of the NPSIA Masters Program?

The diversity of perspectives people bring to understanding a real world policy problem, and the willingness to look at these problems with a genuine desire to understand the relevant issues from a practical evidence-based perspective rather than on the basis of some ideological reflex.

4. What piece of information can you provide to NPSIA students who are about to graduate?

Besides pay attention to Tabbatha about the requirements and paperwork that need to be completed to graduate? Remember that policy makers are real people working with imperfect processes; keep your idealism, but understand the constraints we all face in trying to contribute to a better world.

5. What is your favourite thing to do in Ottawa?

Teaching NPSIA students. Or taking advantage of Ottawa’s seasons: skating on the canal in Winter, farmers’ markets in the Fall, visiting the local towns in the Spring and Summer.

Professor Alex Wilner

Wilner

1. What is your current area of research?

Deterrence theory, as it is applied to contemporary threats like terrorism, violent radicalization, proliferation, espionage, and cyber security. And, applying strategic foresight methodologies in exploring future domestic and international security concerns, trends, and environments.

2. What advice can you provide to future incoming NPSIA students?

Read often and read widely, well outside your ordinary preferences. Keep an open mind when covering new topics; you never know what’ll pique your interest. Network within NPSIA’s divers program, outside your academic concentration and among faculty and fellows.

3. What is your favourite aspect of the NPSIA Masters Program?

NPSIA has few peers in terms of content: No other Canadian program provides students with such a rich diversity of classes covering the entire spectrum of national security and contemporary international affairs. It’s a scholastic buffet: enjoy.

4. What piece of information can you provide to NPSIA students who are about to graduate?

Looking for employment should be both hard work … and fun. If you’re not experiencing both, you’re doing it wrong. It’s hard work because NPSIA grads face a complex and competitive job market in Ottawa, Canada, and internationally. You need to work your network, often; learn to accept the occasional failure with your ego intact; and continuously build upon your strengths. But the process should be fun, too, because every interview, meeting, and chance encounter you have could provide you with a new and unique employment opportunity. Sky’s the limit.

5. What is your favourite thing to do in Ottawa?

Hiking local trails, paddling nearby lakes and ponds, and fly fishing Ottawa’s rivers and creeks. Nature abounds; take advantage.

Professor Stephen Saideman

saideman

1. What is your current area of research?

I am currently studying how the world’s democracies vary in the roles played by their legislatures when it comes to overseeing their militaries.

2. What advice can you provide to future incoming NPSIA students?

Do the co-op and take seriously that part of your education—there is stuff that the profs can’t teach as well as experience.

3. What is your favourite aspect of the NPSIA Masters Program?

The students. They have such varied and interesting backgrounds, and usually have a better pulse on GAC, DND, etc than I do.

4. What piece of information can you provide to NPSIA students who are about to graduate?

Keep your options open. Be willing to move, to adapt, as you never know where the next opportunity will take you.

5. What is your favourite thing to do in Ottawa?

Probably hanging out in the Byward with folks who work in government.

Professor Binyam Solomon

1. What is your current area of research?

a. Defence Resources Management (the allocation of finite military force structures, procurement policies, cost-benefit analysis, the use of statistical value of life , etc)

b. National Security Economics (the economics of terrorism, peacekeeping, sanctions)

c. Time latency of information and intelligence gathering

2. What advice can you provide to future incoming NPSIA students?

a. Read the Economist magazine. It is often complementary to the materiel you cover in class and gives you real-time real world application.

b. Practice your numerical skills

3. What is your favourite aspect of the NPSIA Masters Program?

a. The core Economics classes, of course.

4. What piece of information can you provide to NPSIA students who are about to graduate?

a. Your comfort in and intimate knowledge of the data in your respective fields and basic numerical skills will be invaluable in the job market.

Phil Rourke

1. What is your current area of research?

I’m interested in the trade and development dimensions of Canada’s trade agenda and Canadian foreign policy more generally.

2. What advice can you provide to future incoming NPSIA students?

The hardest part of NPSIA is getting in. The standards are very high and demand far exceeds available seats. Once you’re in, the hardest part is getting through the first semester. But you know? You’re going to not only make it but do really well. Why? Because the high entry requirements and the strong NPSIA team mean that you’re smart and capable and you’re surrounded by equally smart and capable profs, staff and students. So work hard and enjoy the experience.

3. What is your favourite aspect of the NPSIA Masters Program?

By design and practice, the NPSIA MA program gives you real opportunities to prepare yourself for a career in international affairs. Located in Ottawa, the program attracts both students and professionals working in and around government. The co-op program provides practical experience in your area of interest. The profs base their teaching on practical experience.

4. What piece of information can you provide to NPSIA students who are about to graduate?

The foreign service is an excellent career opportunity. But the road less travelled is an equally valid way to pursue an interesting and rewarding career in international affairs.

5. What is your favourite thing to do in Ottawa?

Checking out a new act, bar, restaurant or band. Ottawa hides some of its most interesting parts.