Integrated Cybersecurity Studies at UT-Austin: Announcing a New Fellowship for 2016-17

By Robert Chesney
Tuesday, May 31, 2016, 5:36 PM

One of my favorite parts of life here at the University of Texas at Austin is the center I direct: The Strauss Center for International Security & Law. The key thing to understand about the Strauss Center is that we’re not rooted in the law school alone. Instead, we’re a university-wide, interdisciplinary enterprise, created about a decade ago in order to link together all parts of UT that might share an interest in policy challenges relating to foreign affairs and national security. We have especially strong ties to the Law School and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, but also connections to many other schools and departments at UT, including but not limited to Liberal Arts, Engineering, and Natural Sciences. Ultimately, our task is to pursue innovative research and education initiatives where an interdisciplinary approach might shed useful light on a foreign affairs or national security challenges.

We do a lot of different things under that heading. But it’s hard to think of a better fit for this mission than the constellation of issues that gather under the heading of cybersecurity.

In our view, many aspects of the cybersecurity challenge--and especially those that rise to the level of major public-policy disputes--beg for an approach that integrates perspectives not just from computer science and engineering but also from law, public affairs, and business administration. Does that sound right to you? I hope so, because we are hiring a fellow for the coming academic year (2016-17), and would like to hear from people who find the interdisciplinary perspective appealing and who would enjoy pouring their creative energies into helping craft and teach innovative courses designed from the ground up to serve a mixed audience of grad students from all of the aforementioned disciplines.

Of course, we’d also like our cybersecurity fellow to write about and participate in current policy debates in this area. Beyond this, we do not want to be too specific, for we very much want to encourage applicants to be creative and bold in explaining what they might like to accomplish during a fellowship year in Austin. At any rate, the list below highlights some key expectations we have in mind for this position, but I want to repeat that we are interested, above all, in energetic people (at any level of seniority; pay will be commensurate with experience) who are capable of crossing at least some of the disciplinary boundaries that normally separate computer science, law, business, public affairs, and security studies, and who are eager to take advantage of the UT and Austin environments both to craft and teach bespoke courses of this kind and to pursue policy-relevant research in the same spirit.

  • Full-time residence in Austin during the 2016-17 academic year
  • Crafting one or more courses designed from the ground-up to bridge across some or all of the areas noted above
  • Teaching or co-teaching such a course (or courses) during the Spring 2017 semester
  • Collaboration with others in designing a larger interdisciplinary course sequence suited for students hailing from a variety of “home” disciplines
  • Policy-relevant research
  • Outreach to the Austin tech community
  • Full participation in the larger intellectual life of the Strauss Center

Do these missions appeal to you? Do you like the idea of living in an immensely-fun and deeply–creative city that is increasingly defined by tech innovation? Can you tolerate year-round sunny weather? If you answered yes to all three and want to explore things further, please reach out to me ( to explain your interest by close of business on FRIDAY JUNE 24th. And please pass this along to anyone whom you think might be interested. All that said: The door is open to creative proposals that might not obviously square with this vision. If you have a related idea you are passionate about and think it might be a good fit for us, make the pitch!

Note: The University of Texas at Austin is committed to an educational and working environment that provides equal opportunity to all members of the university community. In accordance with federal and state law, the university prohibits unlawful discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, including sexual harassment, age, disability, citizenship and veteran status. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression is also prohibited pursuant to university policy.