As many Josef Korbel School students are finishing up their first years, so is former ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill, who began in the fall as the new dean of the school.
Speaking at his second town hall meeting with students on May 11, Ambassador Hill shared his plans for the future of the school and answered students' questions and concerns.
"I came here for us to be second to none," Hill said. "There are factors that will hinder us, such as being outside of Washington. And there are factors that will help us, such as being outside of Washington."
Hill began by sharing his mission to make the Josef Korbel School a more professional masters program focused on the development of professional skills.
"We stress a broad curriculum," Hill said. "So when you graduate from Korbel you'll have a range of career options."
Hill continued to explain what he called three phases of improvement. The first of which is admitting students to the school who are committed to success. Second, is ensuring that students are able to choose the concentrations, courses, and professors that they want. Hill has taken heed to concerns some student have shared in regard to not getting into the courses that they want.
"This has got to be addressed systematically," Hill said. "It will be a priority going forward."
Hill said this problem will be addressed by hiring both lecturers and tenured positions, including hiring a chair for the Sié Cheou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy. Hill continued to say that students will always get into classes required for their degree program during their stay at Korbel. He added that many students shut out of an elective in their first year will be first in line for that course next year. And if students have any other problems, he wants to hear about it.
"Students who are unhappy have a right and an obligation to report that to the administration," Hill said. "One of the most important parts of my job is to be accessible to students. You should have access to the dean, so I will be here for you."
That not only applies to the dean. Ambassador Hill wanted to make clear to the students that the Office of Career and Professional Development is also available to assist them.
"We are very committed to help you all with internships and get started in your careers," he said. "The number one issue when you graduate is not only that you're prepared, but that you have help."
Hill also offered advice for the students. He said that getting good grades is nice for mom, but what is really important is putting together a course of study that makes sense for the career each student wants.
-M. Schwinn, MA candidate in International Security
Josef Korbel School of International Studies