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Jennifer S. Schiff - Western Carolina University. Cullowhee, NC, US

Jennifer S. Schiff

Professor | Western Carolina University


Jennifer Schiff's research is in comparative water policy around the globe, with a concentration on policies targeting water scarcity.





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Reaction To President's Speech On Syria




Dr. Schiff came to Western in 2010 as a faculty member in the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs. She loves being exposed to new countries and cultures (and foods!), and that started when she had the opportunity to live in Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore many years ago. Dr. Schiff holds a Ph.D. in International Studies from Old Dominion University, and at Western, she teaches a number of classes in international politics, which focus primarily on matters of international development, environmental policy, and diplomacy. Additionally, her scholarship analyzes comparative water policy around the globe, with a specific concentration on policies targeting water scarcity and the human right to water. Dr. Schiff is also very interested and active in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Dr. Schiff's research is two-tiered. First, comparative water policy around the globe is the primary focus of her research, with a specific concentration on policies targeting water scarcity, decentralization, and the human right to water. Second, she studies the organizational culture of political science departments, both in terms of their partnerships with other university entities, and in terms of their relationship to international studies programs.

While at Western, Dr. Schiff has taught Global Issues, International Political Economy, International Environmental Politics, Model United Nations, Politics of Asia, Politics of Ethnic Conflict, Simulations in Diplomacy, Introduction to International Studies, and International Studies Capstone.

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (8)

International Studies

Politics of Ethnic Conflict

Model United Nations

International Political Economy

Global Issues

International Environmental Politics

Politics of Asia

Simulations in Diplomacy

Accomplishments (5)

UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching (professional)

2020 Western Carolina University

Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award (professional)

2017 Western Carolina University

College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Award (professional)

2013 Western Carolina University

Excellence in the Teaching of Liberal Studies Award (professional)

2012 Western Carolina University

Grand Prize Award – Graduate Student Paper Competition (professional)

2009 International Studies Association/South

Education (3)

Old Dominion University: Ph.D., International Studies 2010

Cleveland State University: M.A., History 2001

University of Virginia: B.A., History 1997

Affiliations (2)

  • American Political Science Association
  • International Studies Association

Languages (1)

  • English

Media Appearances (1)

Political science professor Jennifer Schiff named one of UNC System's top teachers

WCU Stories  online


Jennifer Schiff, associate professor of political science and public affairs at Western Carolina University, has been named one of the top educators in the University of North Carolina System.

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Articles (5)

Implicit alignment: India's National Water Policy and a human rights-based approach to water management

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water

2021 As a potential solution to water scarcity, the United Nations advocates for a human rights-based (HRB) approach to water management, characterized by a focus on the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation, stakeholder participation, and the realization of water equity for traditionally marginalized communities. Although most states around the world suffer from some form of water scarcity or stress, not all governments have officially recognized the validity of an HRB approach to water management.

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The WRIS System: A Framework for Designing and Implementing Simulations in an Online Course Environment

Journal of Political Science Education

2019 Global politics simulations are most often employed within a course via face-to-face student interactions, but they can also be integrated into a broader course model and implemented effectively for online and distance learners. To that end, this article proposes the WRIS system as an organizational framework for online course design to include a simulation component.

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Measuring the human right to water: An assessment of compliance indicators

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water

2018 According to the United Nations, over a billion people lack access to clean drinking water. As a call to action regarding deficient water availability, the UN has recognized formally the prescriptive norm of a “human right to water” within treaty legislation for over a decade.

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“Wicked Problems” in General Education: The Challenges of Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Civil Discourse

The Journal of General Education

2019 Wicked problems have multiple causes, require multifaceted solutions, and have no clear ending point at which the problem is truly solved. Encouraging respectful discourse on campus presented itself as a wicked problem at [institution name removed for the purposes of blind review] when, at the Martin Luther King, Jr. unity march in January 2018, several bystanders hurled racial epithets at the march's participants.

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Reconciling Decentralization: The Human Right to Water, India’s Yamuna River, and the Challenge of Transboundary Governance

Journal of Human Rights Practice

2018 Clean freshwater access is a concern that is global in scope. The international community has codified the human right to water within a number of legal agreements and regimes, but the right remains sparsely implemented within states. With this in mind, this article examines the case of the Yamuna River, one of India’s most polluted waterways, and asks if the Indian government maintains the capacity to abide by the international water rights policy to which it has tacitly agreed.

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