Professor of History and Political ScienceJoined USJ: 1993
A visiting Fulbright Professor of Political Science at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria during the Spring 2012 semester, USJ’s Kenneth Long is highly acclaimed for his examination of the “extent to which peoples’ expectations of government are shaped by their political culture,” — which differs dramatically from nation to nation.
How the population perceives its relationship with government, Long says, impacts a nation’s ability to solve its problems. American government, he explains, was designed to make change difficult as a way of preventing tyranny, which has led to a culture of mistrust of government. But Long says when students learn that different political cultures are addressing problems considered intractable here, it “can lift their despair.”
Seeing the Differences, Up Close
A respected author of influential books and articles in his discipline, Long is currently at work on a book delving in part into Islamophobia in Europe and America, especially during eras of economic peril. Stressing that, “places are really quite different,” he encourages students who have not traveled to do so, as a means of extending their view of “what is possible in life.” His own international expertise provides “far more compelling stories” to share with students than theories in textbooks, and encourages the critical thinking that he considers vital to their future.
Analytical Thinking for a Lifetime
Long does not provide students with a road map of “what’s important” in the curriculum – rather, he challenges students by urging them to “engage the material critically.” He prefers that students not find answers through an internet search, suggesting that their careers – and their lives – will benefit from an ability to listen, synthesize, analyze, and communicate. He extends that approach to the high school students attending a high-intensity USJ summer program for students who are uncertain about their college prospects, teaching an academic curriculum and what it takes to succeed. “You can see the transformation,” he says, “from ‘college is not for me’, to ‘it certainly is.’”
Ph.D., The University at Albany
M.P.A., Syracuse University
B.A., The University at Albany