Published: May 18, 2020
Chris Jorde headshot

Congratulations to Christopher Jorde, winner of the Graduate Part-Time Instructor Award! 

This award recognizes excellence in graduate student teaching. Chris Jorde speaks about his teaching philosphy: 

 "As an instructor my primary objectives are twofold: first, I seek to encourage interest in and deepen students’ knowledge of some aspect of the political world and, second, I try to impart political science as a method of inquiry that expands students’ analytical toolbox and enables them to critically assess current events and better understand the world around them. To accomplish these goals I use a variety of teaching methods to appeal to different learning styles and to engage all students. 

In my experience, regardless of their majors, students come to political science classes with some interest in current politics. In my classes I dedicate a significant amount of time to discussing these contemporary issues, but I cover them in the context of broader political science paradigms and theories that offer a deeper causal understand of how and why a given political event occurred. My Western European Politics class highlights this approach with earlier classes dedicated to understanding institutional, cultural, and rational choice models of political behavior and the entire second half of the course dedicated to covering current events. For example, we discuss the growth and structure of European Union institutions and then use that framework to explain and understand recent challenges like Brexit, the Euro crisis, and the refugee crisis. 

Furthermore, my assignments are designed to introduce students to real world political science and to progressively develop students’ capabilities to analyze, and ultimately produce, political science research. In-class exercises and early homework assignments ask students to identify key arguments, data, and variables and to assess the authors’ conclusions. Building on these short assignments, final research projects require students to propose an original research question, collect data and conduct an empirical analysis of their proposed hypothesis. Beyond the scope of political science, these assignments refine students’ abilities to think critically, to craft clear arguments, and to utilize appropriate evidence in their own writing."

Read more about Chris Jorde, and about all of this year's award-winners, on the Graduate School website