The School of Foreign Service Dean Robert Gallucci embodies the philosophy of Georgetown’s relationship with government by drawing on both political theory and practice, whether facing down Saddam Hussein’s lackeys or negotiating the twists of university politics.
Most students know that after earning his Ph.D. at Brandeis University, Gallucci entered government service and spent 21 years working in various diplomatic positions, including a stint as Deputy Director of the United Nations Special Commission for the Disarmament of Iraq in the early 90s.
His motivations are less well-known. According to a published interview from a conference at the University of California, Berkeley, Gallucci entered government service when he was “losing a little faith” in political science and hoping to understand how political theory worked in practice.
As dean, Gallucci has brought government professionals to Georgetown to prepare future public servants for practical duties as well as intellectual advancement.
“They have experiences which would give students an appreciation for the way policy is made,” he said. “Particularly when the practitioners have demonstrated in some way or the other that they are intellectually self-conscious about their experiences … they can put their experience in an analytical context.”
Gallucci has brought big-name faculty members to campus, including former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, former CIA Director George Tenet and former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake. Less publicly, he has brought international aid experts from the World Bank and other international financial institutions to add their experiences to the faculty.
“[Lake] taught my class on a theoretical basis like any other professor would, but being able to back it up with a personal example gave the theory a lot of credibility,” Dan Joyce (SFS ‘06), a former Voice staffer said.
The slight, grey haired dean isn’t afraid of controversy. Take the recent debate surrounding the hiring of former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, who played an important role in planning the war in Iraq, as a Distinguished Professor. Gallucci says it is still “highly likely” he will offer Feith the job. A majority of SFS faculty opposes the decision, however, arguing that they were not consulted by the dean.
Gallucci first spoke with Feith about coming to Georgetown while the undersecetary was still part of the Bush administration, and he argues that the need to keep those discussions private prevented him from speaking to faculty.
While he does acknowledge that he could have spoken to faculty sooner, Gallucci argues it is his prerogative as dean to handle unique hiring situations. Believing that faculty reject Feith for certain decisions he made as part of the administration, Gallucci thinks the former undersecretary would be an important voice in campus debate.
“[Feith] could defend, as well as explain, those decisions [behind the Iraq War]. Not many faculty on campus would attempt to defend them, myself among them,” Gallucci said.
Professor Charles King, the chair of SFS Faculty, has been a spokesman for faculty who oppose the appointment. He shared his views with The Voice earlier in the year.
“One of the essentials of faculty governance in a university is that the faculty themselves should determine their membership,” King said. “A dean’s making an unvetted faculty appointment, even for a limited-term position, violates that principle … Our search for diversity should go beyond adding U.S. government officials to the faculty roster, regardless of those officials’ political affiliations.”