Poli Sci welcomes new faculty

The political science and international relations department is in the process of expanding its faculty with the addition of three new professors over the 2013-2014 school year. In September 2013, Eunju Kang was hired as a tenure-track assistant professor, teaching classes in American politics. According to Department Chair Jeffrey Koch, a second assistant professor Karleen West will begin teaching in the fall 2014 semester. The department is looking to hire a one-year visiting professor as well.

The political science department is hiring now after two professors were denied tenure, according to Koch.

“Part of it is, also, when the recession hit, we had a freeze on hiring, but now things have loosened up so that has allowed us to do a lot of hiring,” he said.

These two professors were chosen after an extensive hiring process in which each position received around 150 applicants. Koch explained that, during this process, the department and school administration discuss what the department needs and places advertisements highlighting those needs. A search committee then reviews the applications, bringing the amount of applicants to a manageable number. These applicants, usually around three people, meet with the department as well as teach a class and meet with a group of students.

“We try to evaluate them on their abilities as a scholar and their abilities to teach in a classroom, as well as if they seem like somebody who would be a good colleague in the sense of working well with others,” Koch said.

West, who will begin work in fall 2014 in a tenure-track position, is currently teaching at West Virginia University. West specializes in comparative and Latin American politics.

Kang previously taught at University of California, Los Angeles, Claremont Graduate University and California State University at Fullerton. After spending over 10 years in California, one might find it a difficult decision to move to New York, but Kang said that was not the case.

“It was really impressive when I visited because everyone I met, especially the students, were happy about and proud of their school and professors. Hearing all the positive things from happy campers, students and faculty members, it was not a difficult decision to make. I decided to join the community,” she said.

Kang specializes in American politics and currently teaches American politics, American public policy, public administration and American social welfare policy classes. But this isn’t all she hopes to teach at Geneseo.

“I would like to have in-depth seminars from which students produce their own research at the end,” she said. “I want my students to develop analytical perspectives to apply to real politics, not just memorizing the details. I try to train students in that way by giving them relevant questions and challenging them to think further.”

Koch expressed high hopes for the department’s newest additions, saying, “[The department] hopes they’re going to do things that help Geneseo succeed. We want them to be good teachers and work with students, we want them to be knowledgeable in their areas and we want them to be active scholars and to help the department move ahead.”