Mines’ most unique Master’s program is getting a new director. Kathleen Hancock, recently promoted Associate Professor in LAIS, will begin to direct this exceptional cadre of students beginning next academic year. Dr. Hancock is excited to become even more involved in this growing program in International Political Economy of Resources (MIPER) because she gets to work with students from diverse backgrounds and age ranges who come to the program with national and international experience in engineering, business, economics, and other fields. This variety of student interests and experiences combines with the diverse faculty backgrounds to make the courses lively and bring an unparalleled depth to the classroom.
Dr. Hancock comes to this position with expertise in international and comparative economic integration and this is precisely what MIPER seeks to do: introduce students to the complexities of resource, economic, and political issues between and across countries. She is passionate about her own field of political science and international relations; she finds it fascinating to discover similarities between very different cultures and time periods. For example, she has compared economic policies among countries that once belonged to the former Soviet Union with those in southern Africa. These connections can help improve standards for government, health, and education.
Dr. Hancock got her start in political science working on political campaigns and then as a lobbyist for the Federation of American Scientists. After earning her Masters, she worked for 5 years for the Government Accountability Office in Washington, D.C., as a Senior Analyst on international security issues. This position gave her insight into the struggles of new states. After the Soviet Union fell in 1991, a number of states became independent countries for the first time, incurring major international obligations, such as reporting military maneuvers and other key information. The United States sent computers to several, to help them report this information. After months of what appeared to be non-compliance, it was discovered that the computers were still sitting in the boxes, as no one knew how to use them. This example illustrates that merely sending technology to an emerging country without proper education will not solve the problems it is meant to address. Mines students can learn much about how their work in a science or engineering field can be enhanced with the knowledge of political, social, and economic implications before entering the field.
Currently, Dr. Hancock is studying economic integration around the world, in particular the European Union and the Southern African Customs Union. In the past few months alone, she has traveled to Berlin, Brussels, and Pretoria (South Africa) to participate in conferences and conduct research on this topic. In April, she earned two grants, one to enhance her courses on international political economy and the other to travel to South Africa and Namibia for research this summer.
Although at Mines only two years, she has made significant contributions, such as serving on the committee that interviewed and selected Mines’ new director for the McBride Honors program. In addition, WISEM sponsored her as one of the three women from Mines to attend the AMI (Academic Management Institute) and Dr. Hancock spoke at the recent female faculty luncheon about a new NSF grant opportunity for Mines’ female faculty.
Dr. Hancock strongly believes Mines students can gain personally and professionally by completing the International Political Economy (IPE) Minor and the MIPER program. As countries around the world develop, they are integrating knowledge from other societies. Armed with knowledge of other cultures and political and economic systems, Mines students can play a major role in our globalized economy. For those interested in learning more about the MIPER program and faculty, see miper.mines.edu/ ; for more about the IPE and other minors in LAIS, see lais.mines.edu.