The McCourt School of Public Policy is pleased to welcome new faculty and a new Waldemar A. Nielsen Chair in Philanthropy.

Paasha Mahdavi, who recently completed his Ph.D. in Political Science at UCLA, joins the McCourt School this fall as an assistant professor. 

His research interests include comparative political economy, political methodology, and energy politics, and his most recent work investigates the cross-national political determinants and consequences of oil nationalization.


Raphael CalelRaphael Calel was the Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics.

He is an applied economist working on environmental and climate change policy evaluation. His most recent work investigates the economic impacts of emissions trading programs, especially the EU Emissions Trading System.


Elizabeth BorisElizabeth Boris joins the McCourt School as our new Waldemar A. Nielsen Chair in Philanthropy. Professor Boris comes to the McCourt School from the Urban Institute where she was the founding Director of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy.

“I am honored to carry on the tradition of The Nielsen Chair in Philanthropy. Waldemar Nielsen was a friend whose contributions to philanthropy have inspired many,” said Dr. Boris.  “Joining the McCourt School provides an opportunity to continue my research and interact with the next generation of nonprofit and philanthropy leaders.

During her time at McCourt, Professor Boris will work on research and analysis that will lead to a study summarizing her understanding of policy that affects the philanthropic sector. She will also teach a class on these topics during the spring semester.

Jacobus CilliersThe McCourt School also welcomes Jacobus Cilliers to the teaching faculty. Professor Cilliers has a Ph.D. in Economics from Oxford University and was a Rhodes Scholar. Professor Cilliers will be teaching courses in the MIDP program this year.

“We are thrilled to welcome such a diverse and distinguished group of scholars to the Hilltop,” said Edward Montgomery, dean of the McCourt School. “we look forward to their contributions to our community.”