June 2020 Newsletter

Photo of apple blossoms

Dear alumni,

I sincerely hope all of you have been staying safe during this global pandemic and have been keeping what Professor Emerita Joan Tronto would call the “ethic of care” in the forefront of your thoughts and actions. And after my introduction, please see the work that some of our faculty, graduate students, and fellow alumni are engaged in.

In the Department of Political Science, we have been adapting to our new reality while maintaining our commitment to teaching. Professor Lisa Hilbink has been a prime example of this. During Professor Hilbink’s seminar on Latin American politics, students responded to a “Theme of the Week” each Wednesday. Some were serious, like identifying an organization or initiative that gives one hope. Others were fun, such as #MyOnlineClassInSixWords. “It takes time when we do it,” Professor Hilbink explains, “but it has been a nice way to get to know more about the students, to build some community, and to provide some much-needed levity at this time of isolation and anxiety.” I am proud of each one of our instructors for their efforts this spring.

Our faculty members have also been sharing their expertise and developing new courses around the COVID-19 pandemic. Read or listen to commentary from Professors August Nimtz, Kathryn Pearson, and Christopher Federico. This summer Professor Tanisha Fazal is teaching The International Relations of COVID-19 and Professor Catherine Guisan is teaching European Responses to Catastrophes: War to COVID-19.

Alumni like you know what a huge impact Professor Raymond “Bud” Duvall has had on our lives, our careers, and even our very identities. Most recently, Bud’s efforts were rewarded with the University of Minnesota President's Award for Outstanding Service. After nearly 44 years as a mainstay of the Department of Political Science, winning teaching awards, and promoting interdisciplinary dialogue, Bud is retiring this spring. I hope you will join us in giving Bud a retirement gift that will preserve his legacy for years to come in our department.

I am also saddened to report that Robert Holt, former chair of our department and dean of the University of Minnesota Graduate School, passed away on Saturday, April 25. In addition to his scholarship and his positive impact on graduate education, Bob will be remembered as a fun-loving world traveler, a master griller, and a deeply kind and caring man. In remembrance, please consider giving to the Robert and Shirley Holt Discovery Fellowship that helps support exceptional graduate students in the Department of Political Science.

Finally, I would like to share a few words on the indefensible killing of George Floyd. The past month has been extraordinarily difficult for all of us following the murder and the anguished aftermath. Words cannot convey the horror of what we witnessed in that awful video. The pain runs deepest for those in our Black community who have been impacted by police abuse and brutality throughout our history. I was heartened to see so many people from all walks of life rise up in protest against police brutality—including many of our faculty, students, and staff members.

We have a very long way to go to make the communities we reside in more fair, just, and accountable. I recommend strongly that you take a look at Professor August Nimtz’s reflections on these events.


Paul Goren
Professor and Chair

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