Sparking students’ interest in political science is not difficult, said NIU political science professor Andrea Radasanu.
Having them consider the historic and philosophical implications of decisions and events that shape our world is a challenge.
“The courses I teach are not required, so students who are in my classes already have interest in the subject,” Radasanu said. “I want to take their interests further and have them think about the global implications about what’s going on in the world. I strive to engage in such a way as to widen the scope of their opinions.”
Knocking down the walls of their opinions is one of the reasons Radasanu earned this year’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Awards.
“When I heard I won, I was happy and honored,” she said. “To me, it’s moving to know I inspire students.”
Radasanu has taught at NIU since 2006.
In addition to teaching such classes as “War, Empire and Ethics” and “Liberalism and Its Critics,” she is the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Political Science.
She also has served as adviser to NIU’s Model United Nations Club. The club allows students to serve in the role of representatives from countries around the world, argue ideologies and trade ideas.
“Through my engagement with the club, I try to expose students to a global perspective and to give them confidence about presenting their positions,” she said. “They attend conferences, listen to speakers from other nations and are better prepared with a global perspective.”
Because of the club, students say they know the world better.
“She was able to incorporate new and refreshing ideas successfully reinvigorating the club and its executive board,” Shehzad Merchant told nominating committee members. “Dr. Radasanu’s ability to motivate the club on an organizational level, as well as to reach out individually to its members, set an example for the rest of the club to follow.”
Her students also laud her for challenging them to step out of their comfort zones and consider the global village in which we live.
“Students are not only encouraged, challenged and given a top-notch education, but also respect and admire the openness and thought-provoking environment she cultivates,” Susie Thomas told to the award nominating committee.
“One reason I was able to see the connection between political philosophy and policy decision was because Dr. Radasanu always gave her time to me,” Benjamin Isaak Gross told committee members. “She would not only answer my questions, but she engaged me in discussions.”
A native of Toronto, Canada, Radasanu received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. She lives with her husband, Lewis, and her son, Jacob.