By Ed Osborne
The American Council on Education (ACE) announced today that William Salka, professor of political science at Eastern Connecticut State University, has been named an ACE Fellow for the 2017-18 academic year.
Salka, who resides in Somers, CT, joined Eastern’s Political Science Department in 2000 after receiving his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Northern Colorado. In addition to teaching undergraduate courses, he has also served as chair of the Political Science Department and as president of Eastern’s University Senate. Salka is in his fifth year as the director of the University Honors program and also chaired the University’s strategic planning process that produced the latest 2013-18 Strategic Plan. He is the coordinator of accreditation in preparation for Eastern’s next re accreditation review, and is also co-chair of the Senate committee assigned to improve assessment of Eastern’s academic programs.
“As a scholar, teacher, faculty leader, mentor and role model, Dr. Salka continues to serve Eastern and the greater academic community with distinction,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “Bill has demonstrated an intellectual depth and possesses outstanding leadership skills that I know he will develop and expand during his ACE fellowship.”
Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration through its distinctive and intensive nominator-driven, cohort-based mentorship model. Nominated by the senior administration of their institutions, 46 fellows were selected this year following a rigorous application process.
“This is an incredible opportunity and honor, and I would like to thank President Núñez for nominating me,” said Salka. “This fellowship has helped develop many leaders over the past five decades, and I hope to bring new skills and ideas back to Eastern to help in our ongoing efforts to provide a high quality liberal arts education to all of our students.”
Nearly 1,900 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program over the past five decades, with more than 80 percent of fellows going on to serve as senior leaders of colleges and universities. The 2017-18 class will kick off its work this fall as ACE prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018.
“Fulfilling higher education’s 21st century mission depends upon a visionary, bold and diverse global community of institutional leaders, and the ACE Fellows Program plays a key role in cultivating these leaders,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. “The diverse and talented 2017-18 Fellows class demonstrates why the program has made such a vital contribution for more than a half-century to expanding the leadership pipeline for our colleges and universities.”
The program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, visits to campuses and other higher education-related organizations, and placement at another higher education institution to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year.
During the placement, fellows observe and work with the president and other senior officers at their host institution, attend decision-making meetings and focus on issues of interest. Fellows also conduct projects of pressing concern for their home institution and seek to implement their findings upon completion of the fellowship placement
On March 8, 2017 Meaghan McFall-Gorman received an award for winning the Elections 2016 Blog Competition. Dr. Mendoza-Botelho and Dr. Krassas were happy to present the award to Meaghan for her excellent post on the rift between Donald Trump and the Republican Party in the 2016 election. Meaghan is a senior English and Political Science major who has written blog posts on a variety of topics in the past. In this particular blog post Meaghan wrote about her experiences at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2016, and particularly the perception of Donald Trump at the conference. I caught up with Meaghan after she received the award, and we talked how perceptions of Donald Trump have changed since last year. Meaghan had an interesting outlook on the topic because she was able to attend CPAC in 2017 as well as 2016, and she thought President Trump was extremely well received this year. She explained that the change in perception of Donald Trump over the year was a complete turnaround from 2016 when he didn’t attend the conference allegedly because of threats of a walk out planned by conference goers. Meaghan thought that President Trump’s 2017 CPAC address was a very presidential call to action. She appreciated him focusing on unity rather than a usual call to arms. Another one of her favorite moments from the conference was an International Relations panel featuring Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus because even though many people see the two as opposing each other, she thought the two complemented each other well in their views and approaches.
After graduating Meaghan is enrolling at her graduate school of choice, Queens University in Ontario, to pursue a Master’s Degree in English Literature and Language.
By Mark Marcy
It was nice to see a full attendance at Pizza and Politics the other night for the discussion with keynote speaker, Dr. Tom Hayes. The discussion centered around the historical rising power of the presidency, the use of executive powers to circumvent the partisan divided congress, and what we can do as citizens to check the rise of authoritarianism.
To open the discussion, Dr. Hayes, outlined the historical gains in power of the presidency and how congress has allowed the president obtain these additional powers. The power of the purse lies in the hands of the House, but presidents often present a proposed budget for the House to then push through congress. While congress is the legislative branch, many legislative issues originate in the executive. And, as the de facto leader of the party, the party coalesces around the president to further the presidential agenda.
As the evening wore on, it became clear that Dr. Hayes was not enamored with this current administration, questioned the capabilities of President Trump, and implied that the current administration is led by Steve Bannon and Steve Miller, advisors to the president. While this is a harsh view of the administration, I must agree that this seems to be the case. A few examples of instances where an administration that rises from outside government was uninformed about the nuances in the working of government (such as, the first Muslim nation ban), as well as a few examples of a president that didn’t know the basic’s like; the nuclear triad (among others). Dr. Hayes suggested that the most powerful way, we as citizens, can voice our concerns about this rising authoritarianism, is to VOTE (as well as peacefully protest).
The audience had well thought out informed questions indicative of a group of polisci majors having a chat session. It was awesome!
By James Dignoti
In late February the Eastern Conservative/ Libertarian Club attended the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor Maryland
just outside of Washington DC. Having also attended the conference last year there are some similarities and differences between the two conferences for several different reasons. The highlight of this trip by far was being able to see President Trump and Vice President Pence speak. We also got to see several other good conservative speakers and had the chance to meet some of the speakers.
As far as differences between last year’s conference and the conference this year was that this year felt more like a victory rally for conservatives while last year there were several Republican Presidential Candidates still competing for the nomination, this year, there was much more unity within the party having won.
The Trump speech was by far the highlight of the Conference. He came out to a strong ovation by the crowd. The speech however, felt more like a rally than a speech from the President. President Trump was very engaged with the crowd and in his speech highlighted what he is going to do in his Presidency. President Trump addressed several policy areas including immigration and the Middle East. President Trump also addressed the media and how the media has treated him.
Besides the speeches by both Trump and Pence, there were also several other great speakers worth noting. One really good panel discussion was a discussion of the Constitution with Senator Ted Cruz and Radio Host Mark Levin. They discussed the importance of protecting the Constitution. There was also a very good discussion about Women and Politics with Trump’s Campaign manager Kelly Anne Conway and Mercedes Schlapp. Furthermore, there were several other panel discussions and speeches concerning several different issues including, Abortion, Defense and The Second Amendment.
The conference also had an anti-establishment feel and a new Republican feel to it. There were very few establishment speakers at the conference this year and the Majority of the Speakers supported Trump during the General Election. This overall was a great week and our club is fortunate to have the opportunity to attend this conference every year. We are also grateful to our Advisor, Professor Vasillopulos for attending this conference with us every year. It is very beneficial to our Political Education and we are able to meet many amazing people at this conference every year.
By Philip Hoeps
Over the past two weeks two of our Professors Martín Mendoza-Botelho and Chris Vasillopulos, held talks on the topics of peace and war, respectively, at UConn, for the Center for Learning in Retirement (CLIR). These talks were derived from their courses in Fall 2016, Theories of War and the Politics of Peace.
Professor Vasillopulos’ session focused on the implications of war. Are the costs of war, both monetary and humanitarian, worth any potential accomplishments? He approached this question by analyzing the gains and tolls of both World Wars, as well as other modern conflicts. He also examined the aspects of human nature that can lead us to enter into wars or continue wars that had effectively already been decided.
Professor Mendoza-Botelho’s session began with a discussion of the systematic study of peace, in what is a relatively new field of study which came about largely to analyze the tentative peace that was maintained throughout the cold war in response to nuclear threat. The notion of peace can be largely narrowed down to two main categories, positive (harmonious) peace, in which there is a high level of well-being and social justice; and negative peace which is merely the absence of war. In this regard, Professor Mendoza-Botelho pointed out the well-known fact that the US has been at war for 222 of its 239 years since independence, despite this, the overwhelming majority of Nobel Peace Prize recipients were Americans (around one-fourth), an obvious disparity.
We wanted to thank CLIR event coordinators Steve Kenton and Cathy Cementina for inviting our Professors to speak at UConn, and if you have any questions, feel free to stop by during their office hours, and keep an eye out for these courses when they run again!
By Alaina Torromeo
On April 7-9 three of Eastern’s Polisci students Alexandra Cross, Sabreena Croteau, and Erin Drouin presented their research at the 30th Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at the University of North Carolina Asheville. Eastern had 11 students accepted, a prestigious honor considering that the selection process was so competitive, with over 4,000 submissions. According to the conference “…the work of the students accepted to present at this conference demonstrated a unique contribution to their field of study.”
Alex’s paper (mentor Dr. Martín Mendoza-Botelho) “Straightening Out the Russian Mold: How Russian Nationalism Intersects with Homophobia,” focused on how the government of this country has entangled homophobia and nationalism. Sabreena (mentor Dr. Caitlin Carenen History) presented her Honors Thesis, “Influence and Interference: U.S. Foreign Policy towards Saudi Arabia 1956-1971.” Her work examines the beginnings of the U.S.-Saudi alliance, looking to uncover how the U.S. government felt about the relationship and how the American populace felt about it. Erin’s research (mentor Dr. Nicole Krassas) “From Tradition to Twitter: An Analysis of Traditional Media and Social Media Coverage of Sexual Assault on College Campuses” explores the use of modern media in contentious issues.
Eastern Professor Carlos Escoto, who attended the Conference with this group commented that “…the ability of Eastern students to learn from the work of other students from across the country is informative.” He remarked that there is something invigorating about the ability for students to participate in a conference of this size and to interact with other student scholars. Research and scholarly activity are seen as desirable skills by employers and graduate schools and presenting your research at a national conference is seen as a culminating activity.