University of Pittsburgh
May 6, 2013

Pitt Vice Provost for Graduate Studies to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award From the European Union Studies Association

Alberta Sbragia, also professor of political science, Jean Monnet Chair ad personam, inaugural holder of the Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg University Chair, and former director of Pitt’s European Studies Center and European Union Center for Excellence, to be honored for scholarship, mentoring, and promoting European Union studies

PITTSBURGH—Few scholars of the European Union have enjoyed careers as inextricably linked to the process of European integration, over as long a time period, as has University of Pittsburgh Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Professor of Political Science Alberta Sbragia.

From conducting research interviews in Brussels as Germany took the first steps toward demolishing the Berlin Wall, to publishing highly regarded research on the continent’s political processes, to mentoring generations of European Union scholars, Sbragia has had an incalculable influence on the field of European Union studies.

Sbragia’s contributions will be formally recognized when the European Union Studies Association confers on her its Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Field of EU Studies at the organization’s 13th Biennial Conference, May 9-11 in Baltimore, Md. Sbragia chaired the European Union Studies Association, the foremost national association for experts in that field, from 1993 to 1995. The association is now headquartered at Pitt.

“The executive committee of the European Union Studies Association was unanimous in its choice of Dr. Sbragia, given her work mentoring students, her own scholarship, and also for being so instrumental in bringing the European Union Studies Association to Pittsburgh and giving it a permanent home,” said Michelle Egan, vice president of the European Union Studies Association, associate professor in American University’s School of International Service—and Sbragia’s first doctoral student. “Dr. Sbragia is very well known for promoting young scholars and doctoral students, for building up European Union studies at Pitt, and for attracting scholars and practitioners to the University,” Egan added.

Sbragia, one of the world’s foremost experts on European politics and economics and a leading authority on the teaching of international affairs, joined Pitt’s faculty in 1974, teaching American and European urban politics and policy.

In 1983, she was a visiting associate professor at Harvard University; she returned to Pitt the following year to become the inaugural director of Pitt’s West European Studies Program, now Pitt’s European Studies Center, a post she would hold until October 2010.

In 1998, Sbragia was named director of Pitt’s European Union Center, one of the original 10 such centers in the United States funded by the European Commission. In 2005, the center was elevated to the status of a European Union Center of Excellence. Sbragia served as director until October 2010.

“Professor Sbragia has been and continues to be a preeminent scholar on European politics, but she also is a visionary leader in European studies,” said Larry Feick, senior director of international programs and director of Pitt’s University Center for International Studies. “It was through her efforts that we were able to establish centers at Pitt on Europe and the EU and were able to bring to campus (twice!) José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission.”

Sbragia’s strengths as a teacher and mentor have been recognized internationally through such awards as the Jean Monnet Chair ad personam, granted in recognition of her teaching and research related to the European Union, and Universitywide through the 2013 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring, the 2001 Apple for the Teacher Award, and her appointment as the inaugural holder of the Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg Chair (2006 to 2010). Numerous students mentored by Sbragia have secured tenure-track positions at top-tier institutions nationwide.

Sbragia has authored and edited several books, written numerous book chapters and articles, and has presented more than 200 papers and speeches around the globe. Her book Debt Wish: Entrepreneurial Cities, U.S. Federalism, and Economic Development (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996) was nominated as one of the year’s best books by the American Political Science Association’s Urban Politics Section Best Book Committee. Sbragia’s research has been supported by numerous grants from American and European sources.

Sbragia earned her undergraduate degree from Holy Names College in Oakland, Calif., after spending her junior year studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. She earned her PhD in political science from the University of Wisconsin, where her doctoral studies included research in Italy as a Fulbright Scholar.

At the European Union Studies Association conference, Sbragia will give a keynote address at a May 10 luncheon to be hosted by Pitt, with about 200 conference participants in attendance. There, Sbragia will formally receive the lifetime achievement award from European Union Studies Association chair Amie Kreppel.

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