Dr. Lori Cox Han – Political Science, Chapman University

My philosophy has always been
that as a political scientist and as a faculty member, my
two main responsibilities are to educate our students,
but also to continue my research agenda as a scholar. And the research that I
do informs my teaching, but sometimes my teaching
helps to inform my scholarship. Whether it’s my presidency class
or my women in politics class, there have been times when
I’ve been lecturing and hearing students talk and
they’ll ask me questions, and all of a sudden the
light bulb in my head will go on and think
that’s a question I think I should really look
at in my own research. I have a brand new
presidency text coming out. It’s called Presidents and
the American Presidency, based on some of the
research that I have done. I’ve done extensive research
in presidential libraries across the country. And so I rely on archival data
to show what really happens in the presidency day to day. In the preface of the
book, I make a point of thanking all of the
students who have ever taken my presidency class. I’ve been teaching at the
university level for about 15, 16 years. So much has changed
in medium politics. I think scholars just
starting to contemplate what all this new
technology means for what we know
as voters and how we participate in the process. It matters whether you’re
just looking at one candidate speaking, or you looking
at a split screen when they’re speaking,
because if you see the reactions
from the other person, is that changing what you’re
hearing in the debate. If you’re watching
it online and you see blog comments
or Twitter comments, is that changing what you’re
taking from the debate? And I think we know
the answer is yes. So that’s one of the
themes that I’m really starting to focus
on, particularly in my medium politics
class, but also how it relates to how
we elect a president. We have our majors doing
a lot of different things when they graduate. Some take the path
where they really want to get involved in politics
or the governing process. We have a lot of other students
who obviously go to law school. Actually we have
a lot of students who are business
majors and either a double major in political
science or a minor. One student I’m thinking
of in particular ended up double majoring in
film and political science, because he’s in the
documentary program. I always make the argument
of why political science is the best major on campus. It has so many important links
to all the other real world implications of what we do. I think it’s just that linchpin
to global competitiveness and this understanding
and knowledge of the world in which we live.

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