Nancy L. Ruther has served as Associate Director of the The MacMillan Center since 1988 and as Lecturer in Political Science at Yale University since 1994. From 1981-88, she served as Associate Professor (Public and Development Management) at the University of Connecticut as well as Associate Director of the Institute of Public Service International. She began her career as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development serving in La Paz, Bolivia (1974-1979). She has worked as a development consultant, management trainer and researcher in Portugal, Costa Rica, Ghana, Pakistan and other countries over her career.
Her longstanding research interest has focused on how federal policy affects the international capacity of the U.S. higher education system. Beyond her book, Barely There, Powerfully Present: Thirty Years of US Policy on International Higher Education (Routledge, 2002), she completed a study in 2006 for the National Academy of Sciences on the Department of Education’s Title VI and Fulbright Hayes programs in international, foreign language and area studies. Tying together her interests in higher education policy and overseas economic development, she co-organized an international conference at Yale that resulted in a special issue of the Journal of Higher Education in Africa entitled African Higher Education: Implications for Development (Fall 2004).
She earned her doctorate from the University of Massachusetts in higher education and public policy in 1994. She earned a master's degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University. She also received a master's in international affairs and a bachelors degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.
In 2006, her monograph, U.S. Government and Higher Education: Bridging the Gap in International Expertise came out as a MacMillan Center Working Papers series. Earlier, she co-authored a monograph for the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs with Louis Goodman and Kay, entitled Undergraduate International Studies on the Eve of the 21st Century (1995). She served on the Group of Advisors of the National Security Education Program from its inception to 1998. She has served on numerous standing and special committees at Yale related to international, area and language studies degree and related programs.
In addition to teaching at Columbia and the University of Connecticut, Ms. Ruther developed and taught the required introductory course for the Master's students in International Relations at Yale from 1995-2004. She has served on several non-profit boards including Strategies for International Development, based in La Paz, Bolivia and Washington, D.C. (1996-present).