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Dr. Theresa Schroeder
Greetings! Welcome to my page. Here you will find some background information about me and my journey to Radford University, the philosophy of teaching I bring with me in to every classroom, my research interests, and where you can find my published work. I am glad you found my page and I look forward to seeing you in one of my classes!
I hold a Doctorate of Philosophy in Political Science from the University of Kentucky, a Masters of Arts in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from the American Military University, and a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from The Ohio State University. Yes, you read that right, I have a degree in nursing. Here’s my journey from nursing to political science. Upon graduation from The Ohio State University, I commissioned into the United States Air Force Nurse Corp, serving during the heart of the Global War on Terror. Caring for our war fighters, fighters of today as well as yesterday, gave me a front row seat to see the many ways war impacts humankind. And as General Sherman so eloquently said, “War is hell.” So, instead of attempting to heal the wounds caused by war, I realized that I would much prefer to focus on why wars happen in the hopes of being able to prevent future wars from occurring. Idealistic, maybe, but this led me to study international relations with a focus on conflict and peace processes. My teaching and research interests reflect my background and experiences as a real-life woman warrior.
I teach a variety of courses in International Relations and Comparative Politics. In addition to learning the science behind political science, I apply real world scenarios and help students develop skills that will be needed after college in all of my courses. My goal is for students to hone their ability to conduct research, think critically, and effectively communicate both written and orally. To accomplish these goals I use teaching tools such as written papers and oral presentations as well as innovative teaching practices. Below you will find a sampling of the various practices utilized in my courses.
POSC 241: Theories of International Relations
To better understand how countries operate within the international system, a system of anarchy, the students participate in a week-long simulation exercise. Students are grouped in countries. Each country has its own military and economic capabilities as well as unique internal characteristics. Acting as the political leaders of their assigned countries, students engage in international relations, signing trade agreements, building military alliances, and even collectively combatting rebellions and pirates. This exercise allows students to gain first-hand experience with international relations, which enables them to more fully comprehend the complexity of both the study and the practice of international relations.
POSC 350: U.S. Foreign & Defense Policy
Students get to step into the role of our foreign policy makers during a 2 week simulation. Students take on the role of Secretary of Defense, or State or many other roles and decide what the actions the U.S. should take to address a real world situation. Each student must create a recommendation and then work collaborative with the other group members to determine which course action to present to the President and Congress. The simulation promotes critical thinking and enhances students’ ability to work in groups.
POSC 461: Latin American Politics & Government
In addition to gaining a general understanding of the regions, students become experts on one particular country in Latin America. Students conduct research on the history of democracy and identify the most pressing issue to democratic governance their assigned country currently faces. Students then determine 3 possible policies the country could implement to address the issue they identified. Students then present their case study and policy recommendations to the class, educating their classmates. Throughout this project, students hone their research and critical thinking skills as well as practice their written and oral communication skills.
I am passionate about conducting research since research allows me to answer new and exciting questions. I hope to pass on my enthusiasm for research to my students, encouraging them to dive in to their own research projects as well as giving students the opportunity to work with me on my projects. I believe learning the research process and understanding what makes research sound is a valuable skill for students’ futures.
In general, my research explores the interaction of international and domestic security concerns on women in politics. Specifically, my research focuses on the reciprocal relationship between gender equality and the maintenance of security. Arguably, security is one of the most important human needs and the security sought can be at the state level as well as at the individual level. This need for security influences different types of human behavior including supporting different types of political leaders. Typically men are viewed as more capable of maintaining security. As a result, this perception can be a barrier for women becoming political leaders at all levels of government when security is a concern, leading to few women being in positions of political power. Since men are believed to be better at maintaining security, the push from women’s movements for greater female representation, and gender equality more generally, can be inhibited when security is a substantial concern. To study this important topic, my research draws from the female representation literature in comparative politics but brings international forces in to give a more thorough understanding of factors that influence women’s status. Thus, my research helps bridge the gap between international relations and comparative politics by investigating how the international system influences domestic politics as well as how domestic realities can block international forces. I use cross-national data along with in-depth country case studies to test my theories. My research can be found in the Journal of Conflict Resolution and Studies in Comparative International Development.
Feel free to contact me or stop by my office during office hours if you have questions or wish to discuss my courses or current events. Or, maybe I’ll see you at a Political Science Society event!
Dr. Schroeder's CV