Announcement Regarding Merit Janow, Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs

Editor's note:

This statement was published by the Office of the President

July 06, 2021

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I write to share with you that Merit Janow will step down as Dean of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), effective December 31, 2021. I am very pleased that she will continue as Professor of Professional Practice in International Economic Law and International Affairs, and will remain a valued resource for me and so many others across the University, as one of the world's leading scholars of international trade and investment and of the Asia-Pacific region. 

Under Merit’s skilled leadership, SIPA has established itself as the leading public policy school focused on global and international issues, advancing our understanding of the world and offering solutions to challenges it faces, and preparing the next generation to lead. During her eight years as Dean, Merit has enhanced many of SIPA’s longstanding core strengths—from global economic and financial policy and international security to sustainable development, urban policy, human rights, and global energy and environmental policy—and has expanded the School’s research faculty, centers, and programs in these fields. She brought SIPA into emerging areas such as cybersecurity and data analytics, and deepened its expertise and impact in key countries, including China, Japan, India, and Brazil. And she fostered collaborations—across the University and around the world—all while promoting the importance of global institutions, as well as national governments and the private sector, in addressing the world’s major issues.

Merit has also strengthened SIPA’s reputation as a leader in innovative problem-solving and experiential learning and established an externally funded initiative to support student-led entrepreneurial start-ups. Importantly, working with faculty, students, and staff, she significantly heightened the School’s emphasis on diversity—hiring new faculty, creating new courses on race and justice, significantly increasing financial aid, and developing a plan to further advance equity and inclusion across SIPA. 

I will share details regarding the appointment of an Interim Dean and the formation of a search committee to identify Merit’s successor in due course. I know that everyone joins in expressing our deepest thanks to Merit for her committed and tireless stewardship of SIPA—the legacy of her transformative leadership will be long-lasting.


Lee C. Bollinger


Read Professor Janow's statement here.