Dr. Kevin Freeman wins UNC System Award for Teaching Excellence
May 16, 2019
Dr. Kevin Freeman has a profound impact on his students—both in and out of the classroom.
He connects with his students. He is a mentor and is responsible for preparing countless students for a political life beyond UNC Pembroke. Fellow colleague Emily Neff-Sharum describes Freeman’s classroom experience as transformative.
“I can’t tell you how many students walk through this department and seem lost at the beginning of the semester, but once they come out of Dr. Freeman’s class they hit the ground running. They become leaders on campus, fully taking advantage of what UNCP has to offer.
“It takes someone special to be transformative and that’s what makes Kevin a great professor.”
Freeman, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, is the recipient of the 2019 UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was presented with a commemorative bronze medallion and a $12,500 cash prize at spring commencement. Freeman will give the keynote address at winter commencement in December.
Established by the Board in 1993 to highlight the importance of teaching, the award recognizes the extraordinary contributions of faculty members in the UNC System.
“It’s nice to be selected,” he said. “I am very appreciative of being recognized by the awards committee. I am pleased that they saw things they liked in my portfolio. I am honored to represent UNCP as our representative for the award this year.
“At a school like UNC Pembroke, where teaching is so important, I think it’s an even greater honor.”
Freeman’s lectures are filled with spirited debate mixed with humor. He uses levity as a teaching tool.
“I try to keep a fairly relaxed, comfortable classroom environment that makes the students feel welcome and not afraid to ask questions,” he said. “I try to get students to laugh. I tell a lot of bad dad jokes. I tell a lot of jokes that are related to the material. There are no sacred cows in my class.”
Freeman has remained active on campus since joining the faculty in 2004. He has taught study abroad courses in Berlin, Germany, and Tokyo, Japan. He serves as the faculty athletics representative and has previous experience as a faculty associate for men’s soccer and baseball programs. For the past 10 years, he served as the public address announcer for UNCP football home games.
An advisor to UNCP’s Model United Nations team since 2009, Freeman has helped build the team into a recognized leader in regional competition. Model UN is developing student leaders. The last four SGA presidents at UNCP all have Model UN experience.
When asked what he loves the most about UNCP, Freeman didn’t hesitate.
And like many of his students, Freeman, is a first-generation college student. His father served in the U.S. Air Force, so his family frequently moved from state to state. Freeman was born in Wichita, Kan., attended elementary school in Germany, then it was on to Colorado, Nevada, California, Georgia and North Carolina. He graduated high school in the Philippines.
It’s no surprise that his specialty is international relations. He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics with minors in German and European studies from Vanderbilt, and earned his master's degree in international relations from Baylor. He holds a doctorate in political science from Alabama.
Freeman is married to Carole Graham, an assistant professor and pre-law advisor in UNCP's Department of Political Science and Public Administration. They have a son, Carter.
Dr. Neff-Sharum, department chair, labeled Freeman a ‘model professor.’
“He is a role model for not just our department, but is a shining example of what it means to put students first. We have a special mission at this university to help fully develop students for all aspects of life. Some students come through the front door and need a challenge. Others may come in and not have the confidence or the social skills to thrive. Dr. Freeman is able to give student efficacy in their life–the belief that they have the power to act and their actions will have impact.”
Emergency Management and Our Role in Sustainability
May 16, 2019
Check out Dr. Robert Schneider's podcast interview with EM Weekly: https://sitchradio.com/emergency-management-and-our-role-in-sustainability/
The EM Weekly Show. Hosted by Todd De Voe and we are all about bringing news, interviews discussing trends and issues that impact Emergency Management, First Responder’s, military, education, public safety, communications, disaster volunteer organizations, public health, humanitarian groups, NGOs, professionals, students, and researchers.
January 16, 2019
Please give Melissa a big congratulations for being awarded the Curriculum Development Award from the Center for European Studies, which is a center housed in UNC Global. Melissa has been given a grant to work on innovative classroom practices for her course, International Organizations, which is utilizing an EU simulation as part of the learning experience.
January 17, 2019
Congratulations to Dr. Martin Mayer on being awarded the Artinian Travel Award for the Southern Political Science Association Conference today. He attended this week and presented a paper today that was written with our undergraduate public administration student, Jacob Newton.
November 28, 2018
Dr. West's first book has been published by Rowman & Littlefield. The book, titled Legislator Use of Communication Technology: The Critical Frequency Theory of Policy System Stability examines the confluence of communication technology and public policy.
“Legislator Use of Communication Technologyoffers the most complete explanation of a policy feedback loop, so far, in public policy literature. Students and established scholars alike will learn important insights into concepts they have used or seen but perhaps not fully understood, such as negative and positive feedback loops, disturbances, and policy systems theory. The concepts are explained with an engineer’s precision and then applied to a new database on state legislative communications strategies, supplemented with extensive interviews with legislators and their staffs. As new communications technologies continue to alter the landscape of politics, this book provides important information about how legislators communicate with their constituents, lobbyists, and each other, and why this matters.” —Frank R. Baumgartner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and co-author of Agendas and Instability in American Politics.
Political use of communication technology is rapidly changing the nature of politics; one need look no further than United States President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter to realize the impact that communication technology is having on political processes. Communication technology has long been recognized as part of the policy feedback process, but until now, has received relatively little focus, often relegated to a line or two in a policy process theory system diagram labeled “feedback.” Using data collected from state legislators across all 50 U.S. states, Legislator Use of Communication Technology: The Critical Frequency Theory of Policy System Stabilitytakes a fresh look at the role that communication technology plays in the policy process by applying natural science control and electrical engineering concepts such as bandwidth, latency, phase crossover, and positive and negative feedback to develop the critical frequency theory of policy system stability. This theory suggests that every policymaking institution has some critical frequency of communications from the policy environment that once exceeded, causes the policymaking process to become unstable and speed up. Additionally, interviews with legislators uncover many novel and interesting examples of the use of communication technology in the policy process. For example, legislators note that lobbyists sitting in legislative chambers listening to floor debates are actually texting questions and answers to legislators as they debate; legislators participating in this process are acting as policymaking puppets for the lobbyists sitting in the gallery. This singleuse of a communication technology has the capability of changing the very nature of what it means to be a legislator with lobbyists acting as surrogate legislators.
UNCP professor publishes new book ‘When Science and Politics Collide: The Public Interest at Risk’
March 20, 2018
Dr. Robert O. Schneider
Robert O. Schneider, UNCP Professor of Political Science and Public Administration, has written a new book just released (March 2018) by Praeger publishing.
When Science and Politics Collide: The Public Interest at Risk is both a timely and interesting treatment of a contemporary controversy.
There are many who suggest that some in the present government of the United States are waging a political war against science, and the stakes in that war are increasing.
Professor Schneider demonstrates that when it comes to areas in which science and politics must interact there are and have always been political and economic interests pushing to spin the relevant science to their advantage. Likewise, these interests may distort or deny the science to protect their profit margins or political objectives.
“This is problematic,” he says, “when Americans are easily persuaded in today’s hyperpolarized and toxic social media environment to abandon rationality for ideology or misinformation manufactured to confuse and persuade them. Science simply has not been able to compete with that in what has become a post-fact era.”
In an examination of five contemporary examples, the case is made that many of the ways in which science and politics typically communicate and interact simply do not effectively serve the public interest.
Some of them actually result in great harm. It explains that whether policy disagreements are about things such as climate change, vaccines, pandemics, or hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, scientific knowledge and expert advice is necessary to improve and/or save lives—and poor, ideologically motivated policies that deny science can doom them.
The book demonstrates that a too often contentious relationship between policymakers and science is the inevitable product of the two very different worlds that politicians and scientists live and work in.
“The scientist is focused on the grand questions of the universe,” Schneider says, “while the politician is concerned primarily with the minutia of the moment.”
As a result, he says, they occupy two very different and often incompatible realities.
Schneider makes the case that America’s historic commitment to scientific progress, human rights, and democracy itself are at risk to the extent that scientific knowledge cannot be distinguished from fiction or be seen as superior to ideological opinion.
He emphasizes the importance of science to intelligent public policymaking. The book concludes with recommendations for creating a more perfect union between scientific truth and political agendas. This will require better efforts from scientists, politicians, the media, educators, and citizens alike.
“Science and politics will always occupy different worlds,” Schneider concludes, “but reality should, to the greatest extent possible, be the same for both. When the two learn how to collaborate intelligently, the prospects for humanity always improve. But too often, in our contemporary political culture, the mixing of science and politics is like mixing acid and sulfides. The results are often and regrettably toxic.”
FACULTY RECEIVE GRANT TO STUDY CHRISTIAN ZIONISM
-September 2017: Motti Inbari (Philosophy & Religion) and Kirill Bumin (Political Science & Public Administration), have received a $4000 Micro-Grant for the study of Christian Zionism from the Academic Engagement Network. The grant will support a student research assistant, supplies, travel to and board at conservative evangelical conferences in the United States. The conferences include an annual meeting of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a visit to Liberty University, and possibly travel to the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in June-July 2018.
Evangelical Christianity is the largest of all religious movements in the United States. It is also known as a movement that is highly engaged in American politics, mostly identified with the Republican Party. Exit polls have shown that in the 2016 election, about 80% of all Evangelicals voted for Trump.
Conservative Evangelists are also known for their strong support for Israel. In this research the goal is to gain a better understanding of this support by conducting surveys and focus groups. This research is intended to build knowledge about evangelical Christians/Christian Zionists and their views on a range of matters such as on Israel, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Temple Mount, settlements, and Jews in general. We believe that the results of the research can provide very helpful data in thinking about anti-Semitism in America, and especially in the South.
Congratulations Dr. Bumin!