Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh
I am Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh, a former peace negotiator at the State Department and now director of the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce. Here in 20 images is an overview of our pedagogical approach and unique program.
Because we usually find “talking” web pages annoying, the explanations here are written instead of oral – the more traditional Pecha Kucha version can be found on YouTube
James Kennedy Patterson
From great ideas come great things. James Patterson, UK’s first president, saw the need for a new school to train leaders to advance the diplomatic and commercial interests of an emergent United States. The Patterson School has now celebrated 50 years of excellence and is looking forward to 50 more. Let me elaborate on our philosophy of education and program.
Socrates with Pupils in the Agora
This is great education. Socrates. We like the intimacy, focus, and mutual exploration. Teaching by asking and guiding. But, the interaction is almost exclusively between scholar and one student, the scholar is detached from society, and all the students from Athens. A diversity of students and faculty always yields better results. Also, this does not end well for the professor.
This is great education. Harvard. The class is Michael Sandel’s “Justice.” Top scholars with bright, diverse students make a memorable experience. Sandel teaches by storytelling and questioning, with some group dynamic. But, the setting demands more monologue than dialogue. The professor’s detached, the 1,000 students in attendance overwhelming. There is little here that is personal.
United States Navy
This isn’t exactly great education – although they used to say it was “A Great Way of Life.” Before that the Navy’s motto was “See the World.” What’s best here – and why we include it – is a focus on professionalism, a common sense of purpose, hands on experience, travel and foreign exposure, camaraderie, dedication, and a commitment to serve.
This is great education. Our intimate, select program strikes a middle ground combining the best elements of Harvard, Socrates, and the real world: high standards and high expectations, but decidedly personal and professional. Like the Navy, we promote direct observation, hands-on experience, and an esprit de corps. We also see our graduates as a “Global Force for Good.”
Our motto -- “Personal, Passionate, Professional” – applies equally to faculty and students. Our core faculty – a mix of scholars and former practitioners from State, Defense, Commerce and CIA – are committed first and foremost to teaching. Yes, we write, conduct research, and remain professionally engaged, but our primary job is to prepare students for success.
Patterson School Students: The 50th Class
This is why we work: our incredible students. They hail from across the country and around the world. Each year we aim to admit just 35 – all masters degree, all full-time, all residential. Every cohort is crafted to create an exciting, dynamic learning experience. Our students start together as a group, excelling by individual achievement and through teamwork.
Tradition & Innovation
Our approach is traditional and innovative. Offer a flexible curriculum that provides a solid theoretical foundation and imparts essential professional skills. Do this in an intimate learning environment – emphasizing analytical writing and public speaking – while tapping the latest technology to best prepare our graduates to meet the demands of 21st Century Statecraft.
We offer four concentrations: diplomacy, commerce, security and intelligence, and international organizations and development, All students are exposed to key aspects of diplomacy and international commerce, through lectures, guest speakers and site visits. Our MA degree program can be completed in just 18 months – 3 semesters on campus, plus a summer internship.
University of Kentucky
The Patterson School is part of the University of Kentucky. Our students take advantage of the vast resources that it provides: educational, recreational, and social. They also benefit from a tuition rate and cost of living that is far below our chief competitors. This means our students typically have less debt and a greater range of career options upon graduation.
Imagine spending three days with top policymakers and opinion leaders on the hottest topic of the day. Each fall we hold a private conference – done expressly for our students – that brings up to 22 experts from government and academia. This intense interaction expands knowledge and builds close personal contacts.
Speakers and Visitors
Great speakers provide the same function. Top scholars and officials (foreign and domestic) are brought to Lexington to meet our students. Here, again the accent is on personal and professional. Where else can students quiz Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at dinner about settlement policy or explore with CJCS Admiral Mullen over hors d’oeuvres how to deal with Iran?
Students practice the practice of diplomacy. An exercise with the US Army War College in fall builds negotiations skills and every spring our school is rocked by a crisis – regime change, piracy, hostage taking. The challenges are real, the experience profound. Lessons learned here pay dividends later.
Professional internships are another hallmark of our program. Each summer Patterson School students scatter, working at embassies and for NGOs overseas, government agencies and think tanks in Washington, and media, research, and commercial enterprises across the nation. This puts what they’ve learned into practice and may open the door to a lifelong career.
Corporate and Government Site Visits
Among the most unique learning opportunities, made possible by our school’s small size, are group site visits. Recent corporate venues include UPS, Toyota, and P&G. Government stops range from the World Bank and State Department to Y-12, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Fort Knox. These visits are normally open to all students, regardless of concentration.
Protocol & Etiquette Dinner
Our program is literally soup to nuts. From wine appreciation night during orientation and a Ramadan Iftar to the spring Protocol & Etiquette Dinner, every step is taken to prepare our students for the demands of professional international life. They learn about unique foreign customs, the ins and outs of protocol, and even how to effectively work a diplomatic reception.
Our students work hard and play hard. From white water rafting, picnics, costume parties, university and intramural sports (we are the “Diplocats”), music and the arts, they take full advantage of everything that the region has to offer. The atmosphere and ambience is very much familial and inclusive.
This anxiety producing rite of passage ensures our students have been properly prepared for a professional career in international affairs. Day-long written exams and an intense oral cross-examination with each student facing 3-4 professors test a student’s mettle. The experience also builds confidence. Many graduates report that after comps, job interviews are a breeze.
Graduation – Spindletop Mansion
What is unique here is everyone truly knows everyone. Our students depart with a network of colleagues that spreads across the breadth of international affairs. These are not simple acquaintances, but close friends who worked intensely together toward a common goal. The relationships forged in this intimate environment stand the test of time.
Making a Difference: Uganda Refugee Camp
We must end with passion. Our students are united in their desire to make the world better. They arrive motivated and leave ready to pursue their dreams. They do this in many ways and in many spheres – in government, with non-profits, or in the private sector. For Patterson School students, dedication and passion are ties that bind.