Kevin E Lucas
I am a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota's Department of Political Science. I defended my doctoral dissertation, titled "Programmatic Political Competition in Latin America: Recognizing the Role Played by Political Parties in Determining the Nature of Party-Voter Linkages," in October 2015. My research interests include a broad range of topics involving party system development, voting behavior, representation, democratization, and economic development, with a focus on Latin America. My dissertation examines variation in the extent to which programmatic party-voter linkages have developed in contemporary Latin America. I argue that elite political agency, rather than political and socioeconomic characteristics associated with the standard “sociological” model of party system development, best explains why programmatic party-voter linkages have developed in some Latin American democracies but not in others. More specifically, I contend that the presence of a unified Left that has achieved electoral success by actively promoting its ideological distinctiveness is the common link that explains the development of programmatic political competition in El Salvador, Chile, and Uruguay, the three Latin American democracies where strong programmatic party-voter linkages are observed. My experience teaching ESL classes in Ecuador and El Salvador, serving as an instructor for ESL pedagogy courses at El Salvador's Universidad Don Bosco, and leading various training workshops while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador ignited a passion for teaching. My subsequent experiences teaching Political Science and International Relations courses at the University of Minnesota and at SUNY Geneseo have led me to identify my role in the classroom as that of a facilitator. My primary goals are to provide students with the tools and motivation they require in order to further their academic and professional development, and to transmit a general passion for learning. More specifically, I aim to (1) increase students’ familiarity with the government institutions and social identities that shape political outcomes, (2) spark students’ interest in the central themes of the course, and (3) improve their abilities to synthesize arguments and information contained in written material, become critical consumers of such material, and be able to formulate and support their own arguments regarding political issues. I consider myself a very versatile teacher. I have already taught courses on "Third World" Politics, Democratization, Government and Politics of South America, Civil War and Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights in a Global Perspective. In 2016-17, I will add three more courses to this list: Comparative Politics and Geography, European Politics, and the Politics of Immigration.