Terry Chapman, Class of 2001
I attended classes at the LaFollette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for one year, and then attended the Ph.D. program in political science at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Assistant Professor, Department of Government, The University of Texas at Austin.
Some of the Rewards and Challenges of this Position:
This is a fantastic position if you enjoy having a flexible schedule, teaching students, and conducting fascinating research. You set your own agenda (within some fairly loose parameters), and you prove your value by creating knowledge. The position can sometimes be stressful because of the pressure to publish, and because of the "politics" of academia. At a large school like UT teaching is probably not emphasized as much as research, but it is still important, especially for the Government department, which currently has over 2,000 majors (nearly the size of the entire IWU student population). I enjoy teaching upper division undergraduate courses and exposing students to debates about international affairs.
Your most Exciting or Worthwhile Experience in this Position:
Working on my book, which is about why governments go to great lengths to secure approval from international organizations for a variety of foreign policies, has been fun and exciting. I recently held a workshop for outside scholars from the University of Chicago, the University of Pittsburgh, and the Ohio State University, along with fellow UT faculty, to come and critique my manuscript in advance of sending it out later this summer for (hopefully) publication. I also presented portions of this work last year during job interviews at the University of Texas, the University of Pittsburgh, Harvard University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Maryland, as well as several professional conferences, receiving feedback from many political scientists and top international relations scholars. The experience of working on an original research project of this length has been very invigorating.
How did the education you receive from Illinois Wesleyan's Political Science Department help prepare you for this position?
the political science and economic faculty at Illinois Wesleyan prepared me well for graduate school in political science. In particular, I had been exposed to the logic and tools of social science research early on and was encouraged throughout my time at Illinois Wesleyan. The senior seminar, supervised by Kathleen Montgomery, was especially helpful in this regard.
Advice You Would Like to Give to Wesleyan's Current Political Science Majors:
Think broadly about what you would like to do with your degree. There are a number of noble and personally rewarding pursuits for political science majors that provide adequate financial compensation, so you should not feel obligated to pursue a specific professional track because you think it is what political science majors "are supposed to do." Rather, you should follow your interests as far as they may take you and don't hesitate to reevaluate of shift course later on if need be.