Poli Sci Department Showcases Fresh Talent
Two Linfield political science professors received faculty awards for their dedication and scholarship.
Three faculty rewards are given out each year to three different professors, usually in different departments, to award those who have proven their dedication to Linfield’s students and fellow staff
This year, however, two of them went to assistant professors of Political Science Patrick Cottrell and Nicholas Buccola.
Prestigious as it is that two professor’s from the same department won the awards, the acknowledgment is made even more notable given the fact that both professors have been at Linfield for less time than the majority of their students.
Cottrell, who has only been teaching at Linfield since 2008, won the Allan and Pat Kelley Faculty Scholarship Award before the start of the Fall Semester.
He said that he felt particularly honored, as the Kelley scholarship does more than simply provide a plaque and bonus. It also relieves the recipient of his or her course load for the following semester.
For a professor who is as focused on research as Cottrell, this comes as a huge advantage.
“Time for faculty is a massive commodity … you need time for research, but, of course, teaching always comes first,” Cottrell said.
Without classes to teach this semester, Cottrell plans on spending all his time focusing on research, and on the books and articles he is working to publish.
Already an accomplished name in academia, he has had articles published in Foreign Policy Analysis, the European Journal of International Relations and International Organization.
In addition, he is finishing a book on the legitimacy of international institutions and weapons-ban treatise.
Cottrell credited the award to his ability to use his experiences from the professional world in a classroom setting.
Before graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a doctorate in political science in 2007, Cottrell served in the State Department’s Bureau of Non-Proliferation and with then-Deleware Senator Joe Biden on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
“Though my experience was a decade ago, it still informs my research and helps me provide students with connections between the classroom and the world they live in,” he said.
Nicholas Buccola, who has been teaching American politics since 2007, also felt fortunate to receive the Samuel H. Graf Faculty Achievement Award.
While not offering a course load relief, the Graf Award will provide him with a monetary bonus and acknowledgment of his extracurricular work in spearheading several new programs at Linfield.
Pizza and Politics, a political lecture program that meets a few times a semester, has been Buccola’s brainchild during the last two years, and he is now bringing in more than 50 people, on average, to each session.
This program has been instrumental in increasing campus awareness of politics and international issues, according to Chairwoman of the Political Science Department, Dawn Nowacki, who said she was thrilled that Buccola took the lead on getting it started.
Further, Buccola has also been organizing meetings for the faculty of
various departments to come together and share their research with each other.
“He kind of knows how to just pick up the ball and run with it,” Nowacki said.
Like Cottrell, Buccola also juggles his teaching and extra-curricular programs with his own research and outside projects.
He is finishing up his first book about the prominent 19th century African-American orator and abolitionist movement leader Frederick Douglass.
In addition, he has been working collaboratively with students on various research projects to both increase the students’ knowledge of research methods as well as his own on various topics.
“Linfield doesn’t have a grad program in ‘poli sci,’ so it’s a cool thing to be able to share these collaborative research projects with students,” Buccola said.
The two winning professors also stressed that neither of them would have won their awards without the steadfast leadership of Nowacki.
Never having won a faculty award herself, Nowacki often comes across as a silent leader, more interested in seeing her students and
faculty succeed then winning awards for herself.
“If the students are successful then I feel successful,” she said.
In 2008, political science department was dealt a double blow when then-chairman of the department Howard Leichter retired, and former professor David Gutterman left to teach at Willamette University in Portland, Ore.
While concerns were raised as to what the losses meant for the future of the department, Nowacki said she believed these concerns have been put to rest with the successes of the department over the last few months.
“Our guys winning these awards shows that the department is just as strong as it used to be … and shows we’re on a strong
trajectory,” she said.
All three professors hope that the success of Buccola and Cottrell will help the department gain more prestige in the college and across the country.
“Hopefully this sends a message that we’re a small but sturdy department excited about teaching and helping students’ work,” said Buccola.
The third faculty award, the Edith Green Distinguished Professor Award, went to Garry Killgore, chairman of the Health, Human Performance and Athletics Department.
Matthew Sunderland can be reached at email@example.com.