“I had never thought to be a teacher, but they (Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg) were looking for teachers so I was teaching political science there, and had a good time,” said Jessica Vivian said about her first teaching job.
Before coming to teach at Monmouth College, she did different types of government work, including going to work in the Peace Corps out of college and going to Sudan for refugee relief. She went to Zimbabwe to write her graduate school dissertation, and worked with the United Nations both before and after her time in Zimbabwe.
Her teaching career moved down the road from Hill Correctional Center to Monmouth.
“They asked me to teach a course here and I liked it here, too.”
To her, one of the most important aspects of a political science class is students learning to do their own evaluation of what matters to them.
“I want to see people examining their political positions,” she said. “I’m not looking to have everyone come to a middle, but I want to have people who understand, who are being real, and are owning their beliefs, but not while hating the other guys, bottom line.”
Though political science is not of interest to everyone, for non-political science majors who do decide to take a class to try it out, the four different professors, according to Vivian, all specialize in their own different part of political science. Professor Audette focuses on American politics, Professor Nelson’s classes focus on an in-depth look at certain issues such as environmental science, Professor Johnson focuses on a hands-on role in elections and learning how to do things in politics. As for her own classes, Vivian describes them as a way to understand how power works and how things change in political systems.
Julie Briones – Contributing Writer