Robert W. Murphy Professor of Political Science
2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401-4999
At Knox Since: 1995
Chair of Latin American Studies, Robert W. Murphy Chair in Political Science
How has interacting with students affected your own academic interests and research?
As the College has always been very good about letting me develop courses that reflect my evolving interests (even when they are far from my original job description -- like courses on Al Qaeda and the Middle East), I have the opportunity to work a lot of the stories from years of field research into my courses. And working with students makes me a better writer I think, as my students are always one of my audiences whenever I write.
What surprises you about Knox students?
I'm not sure this is surprising, but I love the cultural freedom at this place. One of my favorite explanations for why a student chose Knox was that, when she visited as a prospective, she liked the fact that Knox students were so "un-fashionable." There is little pressure to conform to a particular style.
Do you have any advice for students who are considering studying at Knox?
There are huge numbers of opportunities here to work closely with professors, something that wouldn't happen at a big school. And everyone should participate in a study abroad program. It is the only time in your life that you receive financial aid to live in another country, and it would be silly to miss that opportunity.