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OU Faculty and Staff Resources

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Diplomacy Lab
OU Faculty & Staff Resources

OU students and faculty on trip for diplomacy lab

The Diplomacy Lab program enables faculty from esteemed universities to aid the Department of State (DoS) in “course-source,” innovative research related to real-world foreign policy challenges. Faculty participants come from a variety of disciplines and work with Department of State officials from consulates around the world.

The Diplomacy Lab program enables faculty from esteemed universities to aid the Department of State (DoS) in “course-source,” innovative research related to real-world foreign policy challenges. Faculty participants come from a variety of disciplines and work with Department of State officials from consulates around the world. 

Previous projects OU professors have worked on include U.S. embassy architecture in Qatar, entrepreneurship in Mexico, and renewable energy in Malaysia.

Project Bid Process

  1. The Department of State releases a project menu every semester.
  2. Once the project menu is posted, OU’s Diplomacy Lab Coordinator sends the project menu out to all OU college liaisons. To contact your liaison, email diplomacylab@ou.edu.
  3. Faculty will have two to three weeks to review the project menu and submit bids to the Diplomacy Lab Coordinator. For OU, this is Jennifer Grover.
  4. Once received, the Coordinator compiles and submits bids on behalf of the University of Oklahoma to the Department of State.
  5. Applicants should expect to hear back about their project bid within three to four weeks after submitting.
  6. Once a bid has been awarded, the Department of State will contact the faculty participants directly to discuss next steps.

Tips for a Successful Bid

Proposals may be a maximum of 200 words. A few notes to emphasize in your proposal:

  • Interdisciplinary projects are highly encouraged.
  • Proposals should contain information regarding how projects/courses will be conducted.
  • If a topic seems too broad to tackle properly in a semester, the project bid should clarify the scope of the proposed project.
  • Project subjects vary by semester, so if there is one closely related to an area of expertise or research interests, proposals should emphasize that.
  • Once a project bid is submitted, the university pledges to complete the project and bids are considered final.

Incorporate Diplomacy Lab into Your Curriculum

Faculty leaders are encouraged to incorporate their Diplomacy Lab project within their curriculum as best suits their teaching needs and academic goals. Course structure varies depending on the nature of the project. Potential models include:

  • Course-Per-Topic Model: A course built around a chosen Diplomacy Lab topic, with the faculty determining whether students work collectively or in teams. The course instructor also coordinates and consolidates student work products, the final form being discussed with the relevant State Department officials before the semester begins.
  • Multi-Topic Course Model: One or more courses (whether Diplomacy-Lab-specific or pre-existing) offered in which student teams address different topics as outlined in the project announcement.
  • Independent Study Model: Credited and supervised independent study opportunities offered to small groups of students for one or more chosen projects.

Possible models for student work involve a compilation of the best portions of various projects, a class-wide revision of a chosen project, or splitting the topic into distinct pieces (i.e. country or thematic focuses) and consolidating the results into one final submission.

While the final format depends on the project’s nature and the Department of State, most Diplomacy Lab products are short policy memos with data and supporting research attached in appendices as necessary. In some cases, these may take the form of longer research papers, statistical analyses or data sets.