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>  News Releases >   2007 >   March

Foreign Policy ranking places Dartmouth among nation's top ten institutions for undergraduate studies in international relations

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 03/13/07
Genevieve Haas • (603) 646-3661

A new ranking of the U.S.' strongest colleges and universities for international relations studies, published in the March/April issue of the magazine Foreign Policy, places Dartmouth ninth among those offering such studies at the undergradute level - making Dartmouth the highest-ranked institution offering such studies only at the undergraduate level.

The ranking is based on a survey conducted by researchers at the College of William and Mary. The survey asked more than 1,000 faculty members in the U.S. who work in the field of international relations to rank the nation's 20 best international relations programs.

Michael Mastanduno, associate dean of the faculty for the social sciences and the Nelson Rockefeller Professor of Government, said the ranking reflects Dartmouth's approach to faculty recruiting. "We consciously recruit faculty who care a lot about teaching," said Mastanduno. "Most of the Dartmouth IR faculty can be anywhere they want to be. Those who come here came because they felt that teaching undergraduates, especially smart ones, and being in an environment where people care about teaching as well as high quality research, is more important than being in a graduate program."

Government department Chair William Wohlforth added that what stands out about Dartmouth's IR program is that "the Dartmouth IR faculty is as strong and as committed to research as places with graduate programs — no other liberal arts college has a stronger faculty." He noted that the institutions ranked above Dartmouth in the William and Mary survey are all research universities that devote a substantial portion of their resources to graduate students. "We have a more distinguished faculty than many research universities," said Wohlforth, "and a lot of the professors bring their own research, and their excitement about their research, to their classrooms. Our undergraduates really and truly get this experience of having classes with top ranked professors. They're not graded by graduate students, they get a good student to teacher ratio, and they have faculty available for advising senior theses."

Assistant Professor of Government Benjamin Valentino, whose scholarship covers international security, genocide and insurgency and counterinsurgency, noted that of Dartmouth's nearly 30 government faculty members, 10 work in the international relations subfield, and of those 10, a majority work on international security. International security, said Valentino, is a specialty that has attracted a great deal of student interest in the years since September 11th. "We have a critical mass of scholars working in this area," said Valentino, who taught previously at Stanford University. "I've been thrilled to be here because of the strengths of my colleagues and the breadth of the department."

In fact, Valentino, Wohlforth, and Mastanduno agreed that if the William and Mary survey had delved more deeply into the undergraduate experience rather than focusing primarily on faculty reputation, Dartmouth would have been ranked even higher. "We spend a hundred percent of our time on undergraduates," said Valentino. Add to that the presence of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, a robust foreign study program, and a proposed International Studies Certificate as a major modification, and Dartmouth's international relations field, said Mastanduno, "rivals programs just about anywhere in the country."

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