Bryan’s experience covers international relations and comparative politics, with emphases on political violence and terrorism, democratization and environmental politics.
Professional Title: Associate Professor of Political Science, Director of the Social Sciences Division
Areas of Academic Focus and Expertise: Political Science, international politics, political violence, comparative politics, research methods
Area of Work and Concentration at Lesley: Social Sciences Division (current division director)
Representative List of Recent Courses Taught: Introduction to Political Science; U.S. Politics; Comparative Politics; Global Issues and Challenges; Introduction to Globalization
Education: BA, PhD, University of Iowa
Representative List of Recent Publications / Exhibitions:
Teaching Philosophy: I am not one to settle on one way of teaching, or on one particular set of books for a course, or on a particular view of students, or on a particular form of scholarship, or on one outlet for my work. I acknowledge my background and training, yet I seek to improve continually as a professional. All aspects of the educational enterprise should be open to review and improvement, whatever the stage of my career. In short, I do not dichotomize anything about teaching or scholarship (right way v. wrong way; lecture v. discussion; facts v. critical thinking, journal article v. book v. a local, public, weekend workshop); the goal is to find the right mix at the right time for the current students and the current issue under study—elusive targets. I see students as partners in the learning process, some more driven than others, all with other lives outside of my class or my department or my college. Students are people with complex reactions to the challenges I encourage them to face; some embrace them, others are made uncomfortable. Students are growing up in a very different time than I did: different norms and mores, different economic and societal pressures. These differences make a significant difference in the assumptions I can make as an instructor; they force me to reassess how it is I am trying to reach them. So I see myself as an expert in some things and more of a facilitator in others. I guide, but don’t dictate. I challenge in order to promote self-discovery and intellectual growth, in students and myself. I make explicit connections to classroom material and the world. I make mistakes; I learn from students; I love learning and try to demonstrate that enthusiasm. Learning is the epitome of the term ‘process.’ It is not a set of practices, a set of facts, or even a set of skills. It is the ever-changing process of coming to know: the material, oneself, critical thinking, empathy, the importance of connections. We learn when we try and sometimes we learn when we least expect it. Getting students, and myself, comfortable with that unpredictable process might just be the most important thing of all.
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