University of Rochester

Political Scientist Named Director of University's Polish Studies Center

November 15, 2007

Randall Stone, associate professor of political science and an expert in international political economy, has been named the director of the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies at the University of Rochester. Stone, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1993, is the author of two books and many of his articles have been featured in top political science journals.

"Stone is a talented scholar and researcher with deep knowledge of Central Europe, especially the politics and economics of Poland," said Frederic Skalny, a director of the Louis Skalny Foundation, which endowed the center and continues to support it. "Randy's leadership role at the Skalny Center will substantially advance the Center's mission and the importance of Poland and Central Europe within the 'international relations' field of study that the university is considering. His experiences, accomplishments, and administrative skills make him a superb choice as the director of the Skalny Center."

An academic meeting place for teaching and research, the Skalny Center brings together faculty and students to study both the historical legacy and current transformations within Central Europe. The center focuses specifically on Poland, which played a central role in the conflicts of the 20th century and has emerged since the collapse of communism as a growing market economy, a consolidated democracy, and one of the key players in the newly enlarged European Union and in the NATO alliance.

Stone plans to build on the existing programs of the center, with the objective of forging a stronger scholarly presence in the field of Polish and Central European studies. The center's work will increasingly focus on international relations, the politics of economic reform, and the consolidation of democratic institutions in Central Europe.

"The center will play an important role in one of the most significant curricular innovations that is considered in the College's strategic plan, the possible development of a new major in international relations," Stone said.

Stone speaks Polish, in addition to German and Russian, and has frequently traveled to the region since the mid-1980s. For his first book, Satellites and Commissars: Strategy and Conflict in the Politics of Soviet-Bloc Trade, Stone spent a year in Warsaw, Moscow, Prague, and Budapest, working in archives and conducting more than 100 interviews with former communist officials. His second book, Lending Credibility: The International Monetary Fund and the Post-Communist Transition, which focuses on Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and Bulgaria, took him back to the region for extended stays to interview new political and economic leaders. He spent the 2003-2004 academic year in Berlin on a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, and he visits Poland every summer.

Stone is the winner of numerous fellowships, research grants, and prizes, including a major grant from the National Science Foundation. Satellites and Commissars won the Helen Dwight Reid Award from the American Political Science Association, and Lending Credibility was awarded the Ed Hewett Book Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.

Stone succeeds Ewa Hauser, who was director of the center from its inception in 1994 until July 2007.