A group of international relations faculty and graduate students gather for a group photo.

International Relations Workshop Series Fosters Student-Faculty Collaboration

In an endeavor to foster growth and empower its students, the Washington University Department of Political Science has launched an International Relations Workshop model. The workshop series aims to equip students with practical skills and collaborative feedback on their ongoing research.


The workshop, facilitated by Professor Carly Wayne and Amaan Charaniya, an advanced IR PhD student in the department, is attended by the entirety of the International Relations faculty. All graduate students with an interest in International Relations participate, and the sessions are open to campus as well. For an hour each week, the sessions offer participants the ability to collaborate on research in real time.


All participants- faculty and students alike- present the research they are working on and receive feedback from one another. Faculty share their experience of research production, what it’s like to be accepted and rejected from journals, and ways they navigate work that is being resubmitted. Graduate students have the opportunity to see the full life cycle of an idea, from hypothesis to research-backed conclusions.


The expectation is that through sharing their ideas, the research will be refined through intellectual dialogue and constructive feedback. Professionalization is a critical element- as students get to practice presenting research and they experience the peer-review process on a micro-level as they take constructive questions and feedback. Very frequently, students and faculty co-author on papers and present these collaborations to the group.


“It has been an immensely enjoyable experience to participate in the International Relations workshop,” said Professor Christy Qiu, who joined the department as Assistant Professor last fall. “[The workshop has] provided a unique opportunity to engage with the work of our graduate students at the early stages of their research. The workshop not only showcases the work of our talented graduate students but also creates a dynamic environment for meaningful and friendly discussions.”


The International Relations Workshop was loosely created with inspiration from the existing Methods Lunch, Data Lab, and other workshop models. "It has been particularly fun to formalize our International Relations Workshop series this year,” said Carly Wayne, Assistant Professor of Political Science and facilitator of the workshop. “It has been a really great way to build community in the department between graduate students and faculty and helps graduate students gain key professional development skills on their path to becoming professional researchers and academics.” The department continues to expand the pedagogical model through more workshops and labs in different subfields.


“We want the department to care a lot about ideas, doing the best research possible, and having a department that is about the life of the mind,” said Betsy Sinclair, Chair of Political Science.  “Our mission as a department is to be radically empathetic and intellectually ferocious.” The new workshop model is an inspiring hallmark of that intellectual ferocity going forward.