Journal 17 September 2011
September 18, 2011
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Whether or not I stay in the Deep South beyond the short run (1-3 years) will totally hinge on whether I enjoy my job and produce in and outside of the classroom . I think Montgomery can work in the medium run (4-6) if I am thoroughly happy with work and nothing equally attractive surfaces, other things being equal. Something better would be another military school or a liberal arts college. I doubt seriously that I’ll find something that will pay me as well and provide the type of perks that I receive at the Air War College. I am at the moment enjoying my job. However, the acid test will come when I start teaching.
My teaching load this year is three courses. I’ll pretty much teach one class at a time from mid October until mid May. The first class I’ll be teaching is a team-taught course called National Security and Decision Making. Basically, the course addresses the determinants of U.S. foreign security policies. The curriculum is set and, mercifully, I do not have to give a lecture for this course. The faculty does hold a seminar for each instructional period (IP) and professors lead individual seminars of 16 or so officers. A member of our faculty or a guest speakers delivers a lecture for each IP. A two hour seminar immediately follows. I teach, on average, twice a week and each course has 16 IPs. The same structure governs the third course I teach, Global Security. This course is essentially a regional security studies class that examines U.S. national security issues in different regions of the world. I am in charge of the Latin America IP and lecture.
The second course that I teach is called Regional and Cultural Studies (RCS). I am entirely responsible for its design and content. The neat thing about this one, at least for this year, is that we will have budget to take our students on a field studies exercise to three Latin American countries for approximately two weeks. I selected Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. Depending on costs, we might have to shave it to two countries, either Mexico-Colombia or Colombia-Brazil.
Next year I will also offer an elective that I will design this year. The tentative title of my course is something like this: “Varieties of Weak States and U.S. National Security.” It will look at failing states around the world that pose the gravest threats to U.S. national security. I agree with my comparativist colleagues that the concepts of “weak” and “failing” states are mushy and need to be sharpened. This is something that I’ll be thinking about a lot this year as I read for this class and think about my next major writing project(s). This course will have to be approved by the AWC Dean.
When I started writing this post I did not intend to summarize my teaching agenda. This, however, is what came out for this journal entry. At least you all know what’s on my mind tonight: my work.