John Mathiason is an adjunct professor at CIPA and the managing director of Associates for International Management Services (AIMS). A career staff member of the United Nations Secretariat for over twenty-five years, he held posts dealing with rural and community development, and program planning and coordination. He spent two years in Pakistan as a development assistance administrator for UNDP and his last nine years in the United Nations were as Deputy Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women. He teaches the CIPA core foundation course PADM 5450: International Public and NGO Management as well as a companion course PADM 5451: Evaluation of International Programs and Projects. Prof. Mathiason’s research interests are focused on means of improving the management of the international public sector.
- Why should students attend CIPA -vs- another graduate policy program?
For students wanting to enter, or work with, the international public sector, CIPA’s very flexible program contains considerable content on what is happening at the global and regional level (and in developing countries) and it can give them a good background in both the issues addressed and how international public actors manage them. Cornell is one of the few graduate programs in the world that deals with international issues this way. One of these issues, for which Cornell is a leader, is climate change and international responses to it.
- What do you enjoy most about teaching at CIPA?
Most of my personal students are international students and I enjoy exchanging experiences and interpretations of events. In my career, I have visited most of the countries from which the students come and I can bring myself up to date through the interactions. Also, the students add an important critical perspective to the classes I teach.
- Briefly describe your research and teaching interests.
My main teaching and research interests are the same. Improving the performance of the international public sector through implementation of results-based management including evaluation is my main focus, including training, advice and evaluations for international organizations of the UN system as well as for bilateral development assistance organizations like the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). I specifically have focused on international management of climate change, international governance of the Internet and issues of rural development in my research and work outside of CIPA.
- What specific course(s) do you teach for CIPA students? What skills do students take away from your course(s)?
I teach two courses: International Public and NGO Management and Evaluation of International Programs and Projects. From the first course, students have a clear understanding of the role of international organizations in solving global problems, and a skill in undertaking results-based management planning. From the second course, students can see the function of quality evaluations in assessing effectiveness of international programs and the qualitative differences of international evaluation from national and local perspectives.
- What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their two years here?
Think where you want to be in 10 years as a career and select carefully courses that will prepare you for them. Thinking forward is a major skill.
- Where are you originally from? How long have you lived in Ithaca?
I grew up in Western Minnesota, went to graduate school in Massachusetts, lived in Venezuela, Pakistan and Austria when in the United Nations, lived for a decade and a half in New York City, for five years in the Catskills and 12 years in Syracuse. Alas, I have not lived in Ithaca and only commute to the campus.
- What’s your favorite Ithaca restaurant and why?
The Heights Restaurant and H Bar. Good service, good food!
- What one fun activity would you consider a “must-do” for students during their tenure here, in order to get the full Ithaca experience? Why?
Since they are all over 21, I recommend a visit to the wineries in the Finger Lakes. It is an interesting example of how development can occur, even in a developed country, and is one of the great talking points of the area. They don’t have to try the wine, but if they do, they will be impressed.