Political Science Department Welcomes New Assistant Professor

Adam Howe will be the newest addition to the political science department at MC. ADAM HOWE/COURTESY

By Rebecca Kranich, Social Media Editor

After a four month search, Manhattan College’s political science department has chosen a new assistant professor. Adam Howe, Ph.D., will replace Winsome Downie, who is retiring at the end of this semester. 

Howe is a current postdoctoral fellow at Utah State University and was a visiting professor at Fairfield University. He earned his Ph.D. from Florida International University in 2019 and specialized in comparative politics, specifically within Southeast Asia. Some of his research examines the relationship between non-democratic regimes, religious groups and the roots of political violence. 

Pamela Chasek, department chairperson of political science, states that a solid research agenda was crucial to screening candidates.

“We didn’t want to hire someone who could not get tenure, and to get it, you have to be a good teacher, but you also have to be a productive scholar,” Chasek said. “Our fears were if somebody we hired did not have a good scholarly record or have things in print, moving along, if they didn’t get tenure, we didn’t know if we’d be able to hire again.”

The opportunity to hire came after months of stalling from administration. Once Chasek received approval to begin the search process, applications poured in. 

The search committee included herself, Johnathan Keller, Elizabeth Nelson and Margret Groarke. Over 135 candidates applied from all over the country, yet only 10 received virtual interviews. The top three candidates were invited to campus to teach demonstration classes. 

Chasek explains how important classroom demonstrations are. Furthermore, Howe’s presentation led to the committee’s unanimous decision to offer him the job. She stated that students being engaged with the professor during a lecture is a key factor to determine if they’re hired.  

“The classroom performance is the final factor,” Chasek said. “It’s when you see how they are, how they engage the students and what they do in the class. Because that was our first priority. We could sense that he was a nice fit personally, but his class was just really great. And we were all really impressed with how he did that class.”

Mohammad Mattabar, a sophomore political science student, sat in on all three mock classes and chose Howe as his favorite candidate after recalling Howe’s presentation on democratic backsliding.

“He [Howe] had a nice presentation style, and it was an engaging class. I think it’s always boring when you have just a lecture,” Mattabar said. 

Howe explains that simulations are critical to his teaching style, going outside the box of lecturing.

“As an instructor, I enjoy leading simulations and having students participate because of the conversations that emerge from it, and its application of theories to the real world situations in global politics,” Howe said. 

Chasek explains that Howe’s specialty will open new avenues for class offerings. 

“It’s always good to have new blood come in,” Chasek said. “It changes the dynamics, and having someone who can come in and teach different classes is always exciting. You add something new to the mix.” 

Mattabar also explains that he would take one of Howe’s classes in the future, noting his approachability and personality. 

“I would probably take a class if I could,” Mattabar said. “I think he was a pretty nice guy. I like to be able to personally relate to professors or have someone who’s chill.”

The connection with students is not only a priority to the department but for Howe personally. He explains that he is excited to work with MC students in many ways. 

“I’m excited about everything,” Howe said. “The teaching part of it is what gets me extremely motivated. From my conversations with students in class and the ones we have outside the classroom. To me, that’s the most important part of the job and what I love doing the most.” 

In particular, Howe is planning to introduce students to new topics and encourage them in their professional journeys. 

“But I’m really excited to introduce students to new topics and encourage students to develop both academically and professionally,” Howe said. “Because Manhattan College has relatively small class sizes, I’m able to do that more effectively.”

Howe stated how excited he is to join the Manhattan College community next fall, emphasizing his eagerness to engage with students.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting new people and forming new relationships with students in the classroom, but also as a mentor,” Howe said. “I would like students to know that I pride myself on being accessible, doing my best to meet with students and getting involved right on campus.”