SPIA Newsletter

Director Dr. Richard Harknett

SPIA Director Dr. Richard Harknett

Message from the Director

Dear Alumni and Friends,

        It is with great pleasure that I update you with our exciting news that your Department of Political Science has transformed to the University of Cincinnati’s new School of Public and International Affairs. As a unit we have been growing in size and in programming through the adoption of a strategic plan to bring a greater intentionality to creating public impact through our research and service and to position students to do the same. This means taking the intellectual exercise of university life and translating it directly into public policy contexts and action. We have adopted the construct of SPIA—the Nexus of Theory and Action and we want to engage you, our alumni and friends, to partner with us in this new mission. We will now regularly communicate with you through a newsletter several times a year to provide you updates on our student, staff, and faculty successes and we wish this to become a two-way street in which we hear from you and position you for greater success and, if you wish, to help us advance our students on their career paths. To start that engagement, I invite you to fill out this short 4- minute survey so we can re-connect.

        Our faculty and staff have come together around a vision statement that operationalizes our Nexus of Theory and Action construct: In and through SPIA, we forge big ideas that foster public impact. We partner with students, communities, and governments to inspire innovative ideas and action, build trust and engagement in democratic governance nationally and globally, and champion the pursuit of human progress centered on equity and justice.

          Reconnect with us on this mission!


April 2022

                We led two big events to highlight SPIA’s opening. We hosted Dr. Ben Buchanan, a professor from Georgetown, who currently is serving in the White House Office of Technology. Dr. Buchanan took our students through a fascinating exploration of the challenges of artificial intelligence, algorithms, and national security. This was our annual Taft Research Center Lecture. Dr. Harknett’s speech formally opening SPIA can be read here.

Dr. Buchanan Lecturing

Dr. Ben Buchanan Lecturing on 4/7/22.

       Our second event was our Michael Margolis lecture on Digital Citizenship. We had the great fortune to have Dr. Karen Mossberger lead us in a discussion, “Digital Citizenship at a Crossroads: Inequality and Opportunity.”  By completing our survey, we can add you to virtual links to such lectures in the future, so you too can join us for deeper dives into critical issues facing our country and the world.

        We also held our annual Student Awards Ceremony. The sheer breadth and depth of quality among our newest graduates is astonishing, made all the more remarkable due to their perseverance through the last two years of pandemic-disrupted education. Take a look at their awards and where they are going at our dedicated awards website.

Highlights of Theory and Action

Each newsletter we will provide you some in depth coverage of at least one aspect of SPIA’s efforts to translate our work into public impact. In this issue, we highlight our national and internationally recognized work on cybersecurity.

The Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy (CCSP), which sits in SPIA, is the research arm of the Ohio Cyber Range Institute (OCRI), an education, workforce and economic development platform that connects SPIA with UC’s School of Information Technology and the Dept of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The OCRI is a state of Ohio platform housed and administered by the leaders of these three UC units.


CCSP has been recognized for its leading edge research on cyber persistence. Dr. Harknett went on loan from UC to serve as Scholar-in-Residence at US Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, where he contributed to developing the new operational strategy of persistent engagement. His new book, released last month, has a Foreword written by General Nakasone who heads both organizations.

Due to its role, CCSP is hosting the first US Cyber Command Faculty Workshop on Cyber Persistence at UC for researchers from around the country. Through its grant work, CCSP can support the next generation of cyber leaders by funding student research. This past year, we supported scholarships and fellowships for 11 students at the undergrad and graduate levels, a post-doctoral researcher, and a faculty fellow.

CCSP is also supporting a summer Cyber Workshop and training for Philippine military officers and the state of Ohio’s first virtualized OPFOR v Blue training exercise for Ohio’s Cyber Civilian Reserve.

For those new to cybersecurity or wanting a new way to learn about it, CCSP is also pioneering to creation of motion graphic videos. We hope these cyber visualizations will become a new niche for us. Watch them, like them, and share with colleagues on your social media platforms. We also publish accessible public-oriented white papers call Kybernao. You can find our back issues here.

We also offer virtual cyber salons that you can join. Join our mailing list and social media.

In cyber strategy and policy, your SPIA faculty and students are making a difference contributing to a more secure and stable cyberspace.

Alumni and Friends Highlights

In future newsletters we want to share your good news, be it your career or fun updates about you personally. Ultimately, we seek to have SPIA become an anchor of activity linking students with former students all around a mission that overcomes the challenges of our times with careful thinking and dedicated involvement. Please fill out our survey and let us know what you are up to.