The institute will coordinate the design and execution of research, the creation of courses, the organization of student internships and other service opportunities, and the convening of public forums -- all centering on problems and issues of regional concern. For example, Jezierny is pursuing plans to work with government officials to find ways Princeton faculty might contribute scholarly expertise to the work of state departments and agencies.
"This institute will provide a way to match the research resources of the University with the policy needs of the state and the region," said Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the school. "It also will have the ability to focus attention on specific policy issues and to marshal resources to respond to those issues. And it will provide useful links to both students and faculty seeking to engage with the state and the region in their research and learning.
"It will allow Karen to draw on her extensive experience and contacts in New Jersey politics and policy as well as her deep knowledge of the Wilson School and the University," she said.
Jezierny previously worked as a research associate and as assistant director for budget and fiscal analysis in the New Jersey State Assembly. From 1986 to 1990, she was the University's director of community and state affairs. She served as assistant state treasurer from 1990 through 1991.
Jezierny returned to the University in 1992, joining the Woodrow Wilson School staff as assistant dean for graduate career services and executive education. She was promoted to associate dean for administration in 1999, and has managed the administrative functions for the school.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Connecticut, Jezierny earned a master's degree in city and regional planning from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
In her new position, Jezierny will be working closely with Slaughter, President Tilghman and Vice President for Public Affairs Robert Durkee. Tilghman is a co-chair of Prosperity New Jersey, a statewide agency seeking to foster economic development, in part through linkages between business and academia.
According to Slaughter, the motto of the new institute will be "Public Service Begins at Home." "This is an initiative that I am deeply committed to as dean," she said. "It is part of the school's mission to address policy issues not only nationally and internationally, but also closer to home in the region.
"Moreover, in keeping with Woodrow Wilson's basic philosophy of the states as laboratories of federalism," she continued, "there are many important issue areas where research and teaching already done at the school and across the University can profit from using New Jersey as a testing ground."
In addition to supporting Tilghman's efforts in the region, Jezierny said her short-term goals include "finding ways to bring the research resources of the University to bear on problems facing the region, by providing research opportunities for students and faculty, by providing outlets for existing or ongoing research and by generating new research initiatives."
"I also hope to use the broad 'convening power' of the school and the University to focus attention, and action, on specific issues," she said, "and I plan to find ways to advance the University's efforts in experiential learning and community service to benefit the state and region, as well as the students and the faculty."
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Editor: Ruth Stevens
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Contributing writers: Karin Dienst, Evelyn Tu
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