Research Writer Interview With Brett
About Faculty Membership, Political Philosophy, and International Relations
Tell us something that you would like us to know about you.
I am a former adjunct and visiting faculty member at The Evergreen State College, a small public liberal arts college in Olympia, Washington. While at Evergreen, I created and taught interdisciplinary classes and programs that brought together the social sciences and humanities in the context of a particular theme. During one year, for example, I taught a class called The Automobile and the Environment in which students learned about the history and politics of oil, the invention of the automobile, the history of manufacturing, the Clean Air Act, and the relationship between transportation and land use planning. (These are all areas in which I developed expertise as a policy analyst in the Washington State Legislature.) Students also read selected poems to help them understand more fully why Americans feel so passionately about driving and owning automobiles.
I also taught more narrowly focused classes at Evergreen. My politics and literature class, for example, took up such themes as “community and the individual” and “power and responsibility,” and drew upon the works of authors like Plato, Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Ibsen, Dürrenmatt and Huxley. My Strategic Management class introduced students to the global economy, financial institutions and strategic business practices by teaching them skills in accounting, economics, and business planning.
For several summers I was one of three faculty members who co-taught a writing retreat for undergraduates in rural Washington State. For one week, students spent each day writing creative pieces, either prose or poetry, and then sharing the rough work each evening around a campfire. Early each morning one of the faculty members lectured on one of a variety of topics relevant to writers, such as writing haiku, finding a voice, and writing “accidentally-on-purpose.” My lectures were often about the creative imagination and writing.
What are your interests and academic background?
Since graduate school I have continued to study the field of political science, but I have also expanded my intellectual interests by reading broadly in other fields, such as literature, sociology and communications. For years I have used the Internet to learn painting, graphic arts and photography from masters in their fields.
I have a very strong academic background. I hold a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), all of which are in political science. Before transferring to UCSB, I was an English major at Colgate University, a small prestigious liberal arts college in Hamilton, New York. While a graduate student at UCSB my work in political science focused on four subfields: public law, public administration, political philosophy and international relations. After completing my course work, I wrote a dissertation that took up an enduring controversy among legal scholars regarding the proper role of the United States Supreme Court in the American democratic system of government, i.e., whether the court’s judicial review ought to be activist or retrained. The title of my dissertation was Judicial Review: The Perspectives of Justice Warren, Stewart and Rehnquist.
Why are you an excellent research writer?
I am an excellent research writer because I love intellectual forays and reporting them in thoughtfully organized essays. I am a careful writer who loves to put pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard. I am particularly adept at writing because of my strong academic background and my eclectic interests and educational experience. Though I have a lot of formal education, I would argue that my greatest intellectual achievements have occurred because of my life-long love of learning.
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