Luther Administrators discontinue search for political science professor

Or%C3%A7un+Sel%C3%A7uk+is+currently+completing+his+Ph.D.+at+Florida+International+University.
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Luther Administrators discontinue search for political science professor

Orçun Selçuk is currently completing his Ph.D. at Florida International University.

Orçun Selçuk is currently completing his Ph.D. at Florida International University.

Photo courtesy of medyascope.tv

Orçun Selçuk is currently completing his Ph.D. at Florida International University.

Photo courtesy of medyascope.tv

Photo courtesy of medyascope.tv

Orçun Selçuk is currently completing his Ph.D. at Florida International University.

Hope Gilbertson, Staff Writer

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Luther College Administrators have chosen to discontinue the search for a tenure-track position in the political science department opting instead to hire a visiting professor. This decision was based upon enrollment and class sizes within the major.

The political science department is eager to introduce the new visiting professor, Orçun Selçuk.

“I am glad that it worked out,” Associate Professor of Political Science Carly Foster said. “The hiring process was longer than we expected it to be, but I think in the end we got a really good candidate. His research has a lot to do with populism and populist leaders, so he has an interesting topic that I think students will learn a lot from his classes and it is a very timely focus. I am very optimistic that this will be good for Luther students.”

Mareda Smith (‘19) was a part of the senior seminar that was going to help pick the tenure-track professor.

“Candidates came through and did their teaching demonstration with our class,” Smith said. “I know that there was one candidate that all of the students were really excited about and the department I believe was planning to offer them the position, but then the college said that they couldn’t offer a tenure-track position anymore.”

Tenure-track is a professor’s pathway to job security and more time at a college or university. This trajectory typically begins with being an assistant professor, leading into an associate professor, and then finally a ‘full’ professor. A non-tenure-track position is typically of fixed or limited term teaching, these professors are usually called temporary or visiting.

The department currently has two full-time professors, Foster and Professor of Political Science Michael Engelhardt, as well as part-time Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Political Science Rachel Brummel, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science Melissa Martinez.

Kyle Brusco (‘22) | Chips
Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science Melissa Martinez teaches students in a global politics class.

Stephen Hadaway (‘21) has a few concerns regarding the smaller faculty and its potential effects on classroom experience.

“In reality, I think it will just mean for the political science classes that we need to take, there will be more people per classroom, which makes some of the classes less useful,” Hadaway said. “I took foreign policy which was really fun because there were only 12 people in the class, so everyone got to discuss things all the time, whereas in my global politics class we can’t really do much because there is about 30 of us.”

While students are excited to welcome the new professor, Smith is concerned about the difficulty of forming close relationships with visiting professors.

“There are a lot of students who are really seeking mentorship and guidance in research in the department who haven’t been able to find that,” Smith said. “We have talked as a group of political science majors about the frustration of feeling like we have lost a lot of great professors and they aren’t being replaced very quickly.”

According to the Florida International University School of International and Public Affairs’s website, Selçuk is currently finishing up his Ph.D. in political science with a dissertation in the dynamics of public opinion popularization and will be joining Luther at the start of the next school year. In the fall semester, he will be teaching two sections of global politics and a section of democratization.

Selçuk looks forward to joining the campus and aims to expand and diversify students’ knowledge of the world.

“I am looking forward to broadening the students’ vision about the world by introducing contemporary issues in Latin America, Middle East, and other regions to them,” Selçuk said in an interview. “I want my students [to] consider themselves as global citizens in a highly complex world.”

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