On August 30, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Martin Edwards, Associate Professor in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, and the School’s newly chosen Department Chair.
Dr. Edwards spoke passionately about his aspirations as the new chair. He emphasized his hope to bring continuity and to build upon the legacy of previous chairs. When asked about how he plans to make decisions, he stated that he strives to think about the folks who were department chairs before him would act and plans to follow their lead.
The new department chair believes his experience teaching sophomores in the last academic year was very constructive. By teaching, Dr. Edwards noticed that some sophomores are not as connected to the School of Diplomacy as he would like them to be. As an example, he said that some sophomores connect with the freshman studies career center more than with the Diplomacy one. He intends to close this gap.
In his conversations with new incoming freshmen, Dr. Edwards attempted to connect them with the resources offered in McQuaid Hall, including his own office. By connecting students more to these resources, he believes they will have a higher chance of academic and professional success.
When asked about new plans or projects for the School of Diplomacy, Dr. Edwards emphasized that his focus is now on the short-term and upcoming weeks. His current priority is to listen to as many students as possible.
While he has been the new department chair since July, there were fewer students on campus than usual during the summer. Thus, he believes it is important that he can connect with students now and discover opportunities for improvement. He does have specific ideas himself but would like to listen to other people’s ideas first and make decisions by consensus.
Dr. Edwards also discussed how he plans to make incoming freshmen feel more connected to the School of Diplomacy. In all his meetings with freshmen students, he made sure that these students were familiar with him and Dr. Younger.
Dr. Edwards noted that internships are one of the main reasons why students choose to come to the School of Diplomacy. Thus, the School will think about ways to get students to notice and take advantage of the opportunities that are available to them well before they graduate.
Additionally, Dr. Edwards recognized that the increase in the freshmen class for the second year on a row may become a source of concern. To counter any possible difficulties, he stated that the School of Diplomacy will pay close attention to the number of classes offered and if a class is full ahead of schedule. The School will possibly add new sections to fit students’ needs.
He also suggested that it is possible that in the future, the School of Diplomacy may have a bigger adjunct faculty. Nonetheless, Dr. Edwards expressed his desire to welcome all new and returning Diplomacy students. He encouraged students to reach out to him and make sure their voices are heard.