Analytic education for civilian careers

Analytic education has become the new buzzword in universities across the world.

We offer universities a course in Structured Analytic Techniques for Policy Analysis and Strategic Threat Assessment

for inclusion in Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes related to International Relations, Foreign Affairs, and Public Policy Studies.

Course Syllabus

For those who prefer to cut straight to the bone, here is our sample Course Syllabus.

Core SAT concepts

For those looking for the Big Picture, here is a 30,000 feet overview of Core SAT concepts.

Exciting SAT Issues

If you are rather more interested in getting a bit more detail regarding what Structured Analytic Techniques are all about, welcome to Exciting SAT Issues.

More of Exciting SAT Issues

If you stay being interested, here you will find More of Exciting SAT Issues.

Case Studies

On our Case Studies page, we will periodically publish own analysis of current international policy issues and strategic threats that were prepared using different structured analytic techniques.

In our course students will:

Be introduced to the subject of structured analysis as a distinct methodology for the analysis of international policies, foreign affairs issues and strategic threats.

Get an opportunity to practice their newly acquired knowledge

In three group home projects students will get hands-on experience in using specific structured techniques to help them overcome mindsets, organize information, diagnose problems, explore different ways of thinking, and produce credible estimates for the future.

Learn the basics of critical thinking and analytic writing skills that can enhance learning outcomes when applied also to other academic subjects.

That’s right, this course provides plenty of actionable knowledge that students will be able to use across disciplines to execute different kinds of analytic tasks related to their studies.

  • Structured Analytic Techniques (SAT) represent a set of simple but powerful reasoning-enhancing tools developed by the intelligence community that over the past decade have been released into the civilian analytic domain.
  • Long a mandatory component of intelligence analyst training, SAT education is advancing to become requisite analytic education also for non-vetted civilian analysts. A growing number of leading universities include it in their degree programmes.
analytic education is based on team work
analytic education helps to solve puzzles and riddles
  • Led by the pioneering work of Richards Heuer Jr, Katherine Hibbs Pherson and Randolph Pherson, many brilliant minds have contributed to SAT rising in prominence. Our course materials are backed by a universe of collective wisdom.

We have incorporated elements of the SAT body of knowledge into various pages of this site
with some general author and source attribution in the Notes.

We invite colleagues to provide more precise and detailed references to their work as they find appropriate by contacting us at:
mail@analytic-education.com.
We will be delighted to promptly and gratefully incorporate all additional information into the Notes.

Here is what makes our approach to analytic education different.

our analytic education gives actionable skillsWe raise our students on raw bear-meat, studying real-life politics. Our case studies describe real actors and real events. Homework projects deal with real issues.

Policy analysis and strategic threat assessment can be unsettling as it deals with disturbing motives and controversial actions. Regardless, we do not believe there is any benefit in hiding the harsh reality from students by constructing bland proxy actors that pretend conducting invented strategies in thought up situations.

A unique feature of our method is emphasis on teamwork. Structured Analytic Techniques are facilitators of collaboration among analysts. Students in our course experience drinking collaboration from the hose.

All three home projects during the course are team projects. While typical university courses focus on individual learning and reward individual accomplishment, our students are taught the importance and the power of working in a group, in  pursuit of a common objective. Contemporary analytic work is precisely that – a team act built around group commitment and collaboration.

Teamwork is a quick and ruthless teacher of discipline and responsibility.

Those students who intend to take it easy and enjoy the ride without breaking a sweat will promptly realize that a falling out with their team will inevitably have dramatic consequences for their chances to complete coursework and get a good grade.

We do not do any hand-holding nor interfere in team workings. Our courses are consciously styled after the conditions of the real world where the only thing important to the client is the timely delivery of an actionable analytic product. Stress levels on our courses tend to be high. We feel stress is good, because future analysts need to learn how to function under duress.

Last but not least, we also teach students both risk-taking and accountability. The analytic profession is unthinkable without the willingness and the ability to go out on a limb. Our analytic education reflects this reality.

To become an analyst, one has got to have guts, this profession is not for faint-hearted. However, it equally shuns reckless and impulsive risk-happiness. The fine balance between risk and responsibility can be learned only through practice. And practice we provide aplenty – completing course project work demands from a good student some estimated 50 hours.

CASE STUDY

Our approach to analytic education is different. Here is a summary of our teaching methods

Raw bear-meat as staple diet

Our case studies explore disturbing and sometimes scary phenomena, foreign affairs practices are ruthless and often brutal.

Emphasis on group work

Three group projects are included in every course.

Focus on group commitment and collaboration

Staying in a team is the only chance of surviving the course.

Emphasis on practice

There will be at least 50 hours of practical work.

Steep learning curve and stress

Time pressure is high, an error in planning can lead to a disastrous outcome.

Emphasis on responsible risk-taking

While teams are at liberty to offer judgements that policy makers may find difficult to stomach, students will be held accountable for frivolous treatment of real-life sensitivities.

Our teaching methods are equally well suited for conducting weeklong boot camps for budding analysts in Government positions.

As a matter of fact, our syllabus is relevant for anyone working or intending to work in a role related to policy development – broadly defined. SAT help produce more creative and robust policy advice aimed at informing policy judgments and selection of courses of action.

Course evaluation by students

Students show great appreciation of our analytic education course

As a quick recap,
our analytic education course teaches how to:

Deal with complex, incomplete, and ambiguous information

Recognize cognitive biases and learn how to mitigate their impact

Better understand the intentions and capabilities of adversaries—including criminals, terrorists, and foreign governments

Conduct more creative and comprehensive analysis by identifying and examining alternative outcomes

Identify key assumptions, uncertainties, information gaps, and potential changes that would alter key assessments and predictions

Foreign affairs analysts need techniques to compensate for the complexity of international developments, widespread deceptive practices and the inherent limitations of the human mind.

Understanding the intents of foreign actors is challenging, especially since they attempt to conceal them.

Today’s strategic threats reflect an unprecedented degree of complexity and fluidity. They increasingly involve non-state hostile actors and rogue groupings that have displayed “transformer” capability adapting to international efforts aimed at denying them operational freedom.

Globalization has led to dramatic increases in the diversity of outcomes creating a plethora of possible futures.

ALL VALID ARGUMENTS FOR LEARNING STRUCTURED ANALYTIC TECHNIQUES.

Our instructor’s CV is available on request

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