U.S. Congressman and district judge help teach politics coursesFebruary 7, 2008
Ten months before Cornell professor David Loebsack unseated 15-term U.S. Congressman Jim Leach in Iowa’s 2nd District, the two were block five colleagues in Cornell’s politics department. Leach team-taught Principles of American and International Politics with Professor Rob Sutherland while Loebsack was teaching U.S. Foreign Policy.
The two classes even joined for a lecture and discussion on “Iraq’s Collateral Damage” with Harvard professor Samantha Power. She is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.”
It’s common for distinguished guests to spend extended time in Cornell classrooms. Leach himself had appeared in Cornell politics classes before, including ones taught by Loebsack.
And Sutherland has taught several times with David Hansen, a judge on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The two men have co-led the course Current Cases Before the Supreme Court.
Sutherland says the flexibility of Cornell’s One Course At A Time schedule helps attract high-profile visitors, but he believes they’re drawn even more by the impact they can make.
“In the block plan distinguished visitors intuitively see that their investment of three days or five days or, more obviously, 15 days, delivers a much more powerful effect to the students than would be true under semester rules,” he says. “They are not going through the motions.”
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