I’m Julie George. I teach political science and have been at Queens College since 2005. My areas of academic specialization are post-communist politics, especially former Soviet politics, ethnic conflict, democratization and state-building. I teach our introductory Comparative Politics course (which concerns the political structures inside countries, examined in comparison globally), classes on post-Communist and post-Soviet politics, Transitions to Democracy, and a course on the Politics of Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide.
One aspect of teaching that is of particular interest to me is the extent to which we as instructors should interject ourselves and our opinions into the subject matter. On the one hand, it’s important to be mindful of the power dynamic in the classroom (we give the grades, after all) and maintain an air of objectivity, but on the other hand, I’ve noted that professors who are open with their own views are able to stimulate discussion and engage students willing to take on the challenge of disagreeing with them quite meaningfully.
I realize this probably doesn’t come up in all classes and that political science as a field is probably an area where it comes up a great deal, but I’m curious how the group or any student readers think about such things? Are there good ways for a professor to be opinionated in the classroom?