The American Political Science Association has selected Michael Genovese to receive the 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award, marking just the fifth time in the APSA’s history that it has conferred the award. Genovese is a professor of political science at Loyola Marymount University, where he holds the Loyola Chair of Leadership Studies. He also directs the Institute for Leadership Studies and is president of the Global Policy Institute at LMU. The award recognizes his outstanding contributions to undergraduate education and was presented at the APSA’s annual meeting and conference on August 30, 2017.
“This is a well-deserved honor for a truly dedicated teacher-scholar and leader,” said Robbin D. Crabtree, dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at LMU. “The high-impact experiences that Michael Genovese offers students don’t just look good on a resume; they are the kinds of liberal arts encounters that change students’ lives.”
Enriching student education through engaging experiences and dynamic opportunities has been the hallmark of Genovese’s 36-year teaching career at LMU. Genovese developed both the Global Policy Institute and the Institute for Leadership Studies, which offers transformative programs ranging from a summer at Oxford University to internships in Washington D.C. Genovese also pioneered the Hansard Scholars Program, which sends students to the prestigious London School of Economics and Politics and connects them to internships in the House of Commons.
“My goal is not just to impact [students] by my teaching in the classroom, but to get them out there and experience things…to give them opportunities to really grow while they’re at LMU,” said Genovese, citing the Jesuit tradition of educating the whole person as a driving philosophy. “What I’ve tried to do is globalize the consciousness of our students.”
Genovese has been instrumental in securing scholarship funding for the Institute’s many programs, but he is well aware that not every student can participate. That’s where his passion for experiential teaching shines. He regularly has students participate in role-playing exercises and hosts prominent guests in his classes, including members of Congress. “As much as I try to bring them out to the world, you also have to bring the world to them,” he said.
The author of more than 50 books, including the award-winning “Leadership Matters” (with Thomas E. Cronin; Paradigm, 2012), Genovese sees research and writing as essential to his work as an educator. “We’re here not only to transmit information that’s already known,” he said. “We’re here also to help create knowledge and to create understanding.” Genovese often brings in questions or problems he’s encountered in his work and asks students to help work through them in class. “Engaging [students] in the research I do gives them a sense of being part of it and a sense of participation.”
Looking back on a career that has included numerous awards and high-profile honors, Genovese affirmed that his students’ achievements are his greatest accolade. “When my kids succeed and I hear their stories, especially when they come back and thank me for what I contributed, that’s the reward.”