Rutgers University–Newark’s Division of Global Affairs (DGA) has a new director this fall, and she has a strong vision for the graduate program going forward.
Gabriela Kuetting, a professor of Political Science and a specialist in development and European and global environmental politics, has succeeded Richard M. O’Meara, who led DGA for the last two years. Her appointment coincides with DGA becoming part of the School of Arts and Sciences–Newark.
Kuetting grew up in Germany and Greece, studied in the United Kingdom, and arrived at RU-N in 2004 after teaching at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. She was hired as a faculty member for both the Division of Global Affairs and the Department of Political Science, serving as chairperson for the latter in 2013-’14. She’s excited to take on the new challenge of leading a program with which she is well acquainted.
“Whenever we hold alumni events, it is clear that alums think DGA was a special place,” she says. “To lead in that environment is really invigorating.”
Started in 1996 by Professors Yale Ferguson and Richard Langhorne, DGA offers M.S. and PhD. programs to about 160 ethnically and internationally diverse students, providing an interdisciplinary and multicultural perspective on global issues while bringing together faculty from Arts and Sciences, Rutgers Law School, Rutgers Business School (RBS), the School of Criminal Justice (SCJ), the School of Nursing, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA).
Beyond course collaborations with many RU-N colleges, DGA also offers dual degrees with the Rutgers Business School, the Law School, and the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.
The program’s curriculum focuses on eight areas of inquiry: Ethics, Security, and Global Affairs; Global Governance; Human Security; Global Political Economy; International Law; History of International Business; Global Development; and Human Rights and Mass Atrocities.
Students go on to successful careers in any number of related areas, including academia; government; foreign and civil Service; the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and World Bank; NGOs and nonprofits; private-sector consulting; business and finance; law; and research.
Kuetting says that moving DGA into SASN will enable the college to pool its resources to help all of its graduate programs grow.
“DGA has a lot of students, and there’s a lot of overlap with other interdisciplinary graduate programs with a global component such as Political Science, History, Women’s and Gender Studies, Sociology and Anthropology, Peace and Conflict Studies, Economics, and Global Urban Studies,” Kuetting says. “Going forward, DGA students will be able to take courses in each of these different areas to enhance cooperation between, and enrollment in, all of these units.”
Whenever we hold alumni events, it is clear that alums think DGA was a special place,” she says. “To lead in that environment is really invigorating.
In addition to giving DGA students more courses to choose from, Kuetting wants to expand the program’s current eight areas of inquiry to include topics like global inequality, environmental degradation and climate change, the politics of Islam, north-south global issues, economic conflicts in Latin America, civil unrest in the Middle East, the issue of land-grabbing, and the rights of indigenous peoples, to name a few.
Kuetting also has a long-term goal of increasing student advisement services and revamping and clarifying the rights and responsibilities of Ph.D. students—what’s expected of them and what they can expect of their advisors—something she believes will benefit everyone and strengthen the program. She also envisions forming clusters of students working on similar issues within DGA to promote better research and student-faculty partnerships.
“Academia is moving toward more group work, and so this fits into that paradigm,” says Kuetting. “Science already has this when clusters of folks work in different labs together. That model makes sense for DGA as well. Faculty advisors get groups of students aligned with their area of specialization, and in turn that group dynamic contributes to student excellence.”