Dr. Matthew Stein, College of Southern Nevada –

Meet Dr. Matthew Stein

APSA member since 2018-present

Lecturer at the Department of Social Sciences

University of Southern Nevada

How did you get to know APSA? When did you become a member of APSA, and what prompted you to join?

I was introduced to APSA as a PhD student at Temple University. The (terrific) chair of the political science department, Robin Kolodny, made sure that PhD students and candidates had APSA membership. While that inspired my initial membership, I rejoined APSA when I began looking for a full-time academic job, networking opportunities, and learning resources. It is not always easy to keep your finger on the pulse of the field as a graduate student or at the start of your academic career. It has been and continues to be valuable to be involved with APSA and some of its relevant sections.

How have APSA membership and services been valuable to you at different stages of your career?

The most obvious way APSA has advanced my career so far is that I found my job through APSA’s eJobs database. When I attended the APSA annual conference in 2019, the roundtable session “Applying for a Job at an Education-Oriented Institution” was incredibly helpful in preparing me for the part of the academic job market I wanted to pursue. It was so helpful that I asked to sit across the table – I volunteered to be on the 2024 panel – as a way to show my gratitude, the benefits of working at a community college and help job seekers. Although I am only at the beginning of my career, being a member of the APSA and a member of the Political Science Education Section has kept me informed and helped me connect with like-minded colleagues. This in turn has led to fruitful collaboration between institutions that I hope will continue to flourish.

Can you tell us something about your professional background and your research?

I am an instructor in the Social Sciences Department at the College of Southern Nevada (CSN). We are one of the top 10 largest community college systems in the United States and are designated a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) and Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

I received my bachelor’s degree in philosophy from CUNY Hunter College in my hometown of New York City. I also received a graduate degree in government and politics from St. John’s University in my own borough of Queens, NY. I received my PhD from Temple University in Philadelphia, where I received excellent mentorship and guidance from Heath Fogg Davis. My dissertation project often combined disparate strands of empirical political science and political theory while creating an existential lens through which to analyze the motives and actions of the Black Lives Matter movement and the alt-right. While social movements and racial and ethnic politics remain central concerns and interests of mine, my current work is rooted in the Science of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), the pedagogical preparation of political science doctoral students, and the availability of political theory courses in doctoral programs.

My most important role as a community college faculty member is teaching, and I wear that like a badge of honor. While I am currently working on multiple research projects, I take my classrooms – online and on the ground – seriously. Teaching is perhaps the greatest privilege of academic life and I strive to empower students to fight for the changes they want to see in their socio-economic and political world. We must protect and expand American democracy in the face of authoritarian threats and global decline, and promoting civic engagement is one way I am working to achieve this goal. Likewise, I believe we must ensure that all institutions (not just educational institutions) are diverse, equitable, and inclusive of all peoples. Again, this is a central theme in many of my courses, because realizing the lofty ideals of freedom and justice for all can only occur when our socio-economic and political institutions and practices meet the needs of all.

What programs or events would you recommend to people who are not members of the association, and why?

Like many in my position, the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference (TLC) has been a tremendous resource. I have yet to attend the standalone conference, but my experiences at the APSA-TLC panels, workshops and reception were all excellent. TLC, and the Political Science section, is made up of scholars from all parts of our discipline, from all methodological backgrounds, from different types of institutions, and all of whom are welcoming. It’s easy to feel like an outsider as a community college faculty member attending a research conference. I definitely found a home in TLC.

Is there anything else you would like people to know about you or the work you do?

If I may be cliché, John Donne famously wrote:

No man is an island,

Entirely of itself;

Every man is a piece of the continent,

Part of the gist.

Thanks to the mentors I had, I was able to support my students. I believe that we should always pay tribute to the people who have helped us along the way, and that we should always walk the talk. My mentors, Rosalind Petchesky, Frank Le Veness, Barbara Ferman, Heath Fogg Davis, and many others, should always be recognized for their contributions to this field and to their students.

My greatest achievement is the success of my students. I am proud to say that since I began teaching in 2017 (while a graduate student), I have supported students who received one of my school’s Outstanding Student Awards, a Baccalaureate Scholarship & Award, and the Harry S. Truman Scholarship have earned. . My students have interned in Congress, completed the Washington Semester Program, presented their work at conferences and symposia, and been accepted into advanced degree programs (MA programs, MPP programs, and law schools).

I would not be where I am today without the care and concern of my mentors and without the students who enrolled in my courses. I am eternally grateful to both groups.

The APSA Member Spotlight Program features one member each quarter in the APSA Member Magazine, Political Science Today. Nominations for the award (including self-nominations) can be submitted by members and non-members of APSA. Read more here.

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