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Mark A. Boyer, Ph.D. - University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT, US

Mark A. Boyer, Ph.D.

Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor and Executive Director | University of Connecticut


Mark A. Boyer studies environmental policy and global-local linkages. His research focuses on climate adaptation from global to local.


Mark A. Boyer is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor at the University of Connecticut and serves as Executive Director of the International Studies Association (www.isanet.org). Throughout his career as a scholar-teacher, he has actively sought the integration of teaching, research and service in all his professional activities. Public goods theory is fundamental to much of his teaching and research, as he seeks to bridge the theory-practice gap and help students to do so, as well. In addition to an array of journal articles, his books include International Cooperation and Public Goods (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993) and Defensive Internationalism (University of Michigan Press, 2005; co-authored with Davis B. Bobrow). His most recent, and on-going, research project, Adapting to Climate Change is currently under contract with the University of Michigan Press. His professional awards include the UConn Honors Program Faculty Member of the Year (2015), the International Studies Association’s Ladd Hollist Award for Service to the Profession (2009), the UConn Provost’s Outreach Award for Public Service (2006), the UConn Alumni Association’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Graduate Level (2004), the UConn Chancellor’s Information Technology Award (2001), the American Political Science Association’s Rowman & Littlefield Award for Teaching Innovation (2000), a Pew Faculty Fellowship in International Affairs (1992) and an SSRC-MacArthur Fellowship from 1986-88. He also served twice as editor for ISA journals: International Studies Perspectives (2000-2004) and International Studies Review (2008-2012; co-edited with Jennifer Sterling-Folker).

Areas of Expertise (6)

Simulation and Experimental Methods

Climate Change

Global-Local Linkages


Environmental Policy

Political Economy and Public Goods Theory

Education (3)

University of Maryland: Ph.D., International Relations 1988

University of Maryland: M.A., International Relations 1985

Wittenberg University: B.A., Political Science 1983






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Media Appearances (4)

Trump could use a semester abroad

Hartford Courant  online


Some of his most offensive statements since he’s been in office focus on characterizations of other countries and their citizens. Whether calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” or recurrently linking Islam to terrorism, such abusive generalizations demonstrate at best a simplistic view of the world and its diverse peoples. These demeaning generalizations are even raising safety concerns for non-American students and others who wish to travel to the United States.

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Mark A. Boyer: Not America first, but rather America irrelevant

Stamford Advocate  online


America first is quickly becoming America irrelevant. Few expected this only six months into the Trump presidency that “America first” would develop into such a swift path to global irrelevance for the United States. But the events of the past two months have made it abundantly clear that other global powers are prepared to (and capable of) moving forward on a wide array of initiatives that will increasingly isolate the United States and supplant its world leadership.

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Trump’s Travel Ban Hits Close to Home for Corporate Travelers

New York Times  online


Mark A. Boyer, executive director of the International Studies Association, would ordinarily spend this week pulling together the final details for his group's annunal convention, which usually draws about 6,500 social scientists and academics and kicks off in two weeks in Baltimore.

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Thought of science actually informing policy may be gone

Times Union  online


The world has been recurrently focused on Paris for over a year now. First, there was on the tragic terrorist attack at Charlie Hebdo in January 2015 and then the November attacks at several venues around the city. In December, shaken by these attacks, the world tuned in for news from the COP21 climate talks.

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Articles (11)

Serious issues need a serious approach for solutions

Hartford Courant


“To Everything … There is a season … And a time to every purpose under heaven” or so the Byrds’ song goes. If we take these words to heart, we are most certainly now in a season for serious people. I write this even while knowing that the news cycle is dominated daily by some of the most unserious people I can imagine. This fact draws one into sadness, even though there are glimpses of hope amid the on-going chaos.

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Mark A. Boyer: NATO works: That may surprise you

Hartford Courant


As we watch current events unfold in Central Europe, NATO is working just as it was designed in 1949. That might surprise you. But as the adage goes, NATO was formed “to keep the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans down.” Created as a Cold War structure to help confront Soviet aggression, NATO was also seen as one piece in the post-World War II global architecture aimed at avoiding another world war. In cooperation with organizations such as the IMF and World Bank and more, these structures helped solidify an American view of the global community that remains fundamental to global politics today.

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Opinion: Here’s to a boring 2021

Hartford Courant


The year 2020 has been tough for an optimist like me. But then, it’s been a tough year for pessimists and everybody in between. I live in rural Connecticut and can socially distance with ease. So, I am truly blessed. Even so, there are so many things that drag me away from feeling blessed. First, there is the extraordinary loss of life around the world, including the United States’ high number of COVID-19 fatalities, even though the U.S. touts its health leadership. Most of us know someone who has contracted COVID-19, died or continues to experience complications.

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With everything else going wrong, the climate crisis is being downplayed. But it’s the most important thing.

Hartford Courant


Our country is in the midst of so many crises, it’s difficult to keep track of them all or to discern which one is the most serious. We remain engulfed in a pandemic whose severity has been exacerbated by staggering incompetence in the White House. We watch an unprecedented series of tropical storms rattle the southern United States. We see the most urban violence in at least a generation, stoked by irresponsible rhetoric from the highest levels of government. And all this makes the fires in the western United States feel like just another fire season.

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Nature abhors a vacuum. Trump keeps filling it.

Hartford Courant


Nature abhors a vacuum. This phrase dates back to Aristotle but remains especially apt in these troubling times. Wherever you turn in your daily life, the truth of this phrase is ever present and helps explain our current mess. And wherever you see a vacuum, Donald Trump seems to be nearby.

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Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, are we witnessing the death of science?

Hartford Courant


I’ve spent my life exploring the world in various ways. From my love of nature and the outdoors to my career as a social scientist, I’ve spent much of my life trying to understand the natural and social forces around me. Although I am “just” a social scientist, as my chemist-daughter often points out, I still approach the quest for knowledge using data and methods of analysis drawn from the science we are all taught in school from a very young age.

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Opinion: What Trump didn’t learn in kindergarten

Hearst Connecticut Media


In the hallway of my sister’s first apartment after college in the 1970s, she hung a large poster with the heading “All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten.” For a kid in high school at the time like myself, this seemed an odd thing for a college graduate to advertise. But as I read the text of the poster, I eventually recognized its wisdom and later came to know it as a compilation of writings by Robert Fulghum. Over the past few years, Fulghum’s credo (his term for the work) has come to mind many times, most recently watching Trump behave badly so often and so brazenly. At no time has his penchant for poor behavior been more on view than in the past couple of months while coping with the global pandemic. It’s clearer and clearer to me that Trump didn’t learn very much in kindergarten.

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The Climate Adaptation Imperative: Local Choices Targeting Global Problems?

The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability

2015 When confronted with the demands of global climate change, what causes some policy-makers to move the climate adaptation agenda forward in their communities, while others seemingly get little accomplished? To answer this question, we first discuss work on policy-drivers in a coupled human–natural systemic context. This summary review of past research helps us develop a set of competing and complementary explanations for why some communities aggressively pursue climate adaptation policies, while others do less.

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Designing Transboundary Conservation: Navigating Sovereignty and Ecosystem Scale in the Guiana Shield

International Studies Perspectives

2015 The aim of biodiversity conservation is the protection of flora and fauna. Within the borders of a given state, such protection is usually facilitated by national laws. In the last 50 years, international legal instruments have sought to recognize transboundary ecological degradation. Solutions need to address the globalization of ecological damage through a paradigm shift in the conceptualization of state sovereignty and biodiversity.

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Global Climate Change and Local Action: Understanding the Connecticut Policy Trajectory,

International Studies Persepctives

2013 Climate change is the signature global issue of our time. This is not just because of climate change itself, but also because of the host of socioeconomic and physical impacts that will result from rising temperatures globally. But fundamentally for scholars of international relations, climate change confronts the policy limitations of sovereignty and its implications for global action directly.

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Increasing interest in social studies: Social perspective taking and self-efficacy in stimulating simulations

Contemporary Educational Psychology

2008 This study examined the potential of simulations to bolster interest in middle school social studies classrooms. Using a pre–post-design, we examined 305 middle school students (49% female) who participated in the web-based GlobalEd simulation. In contrast to the motivation declines middle school students usually experience, participants in this simulation became more interested in social studies. We investigated four hypotheses as to why these increases may have occurred. We found no support for the possibility that, (a) students’ interest in a particular issue area or (b) their increased valuing of the subject matter, were related to their increased interest. However, results suggested that, (c) the challenging nature of the activity and (d) students’ increased propensity to engage in social perspective taking may have bolstered their interest in social studies. The discussion explores future research directions and whether implications for classroom teachers are warranted given the correlational nature of the research.

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