I have been living in Rock Island, Illinois since moving here to take a position as a professor in the political science department at Augustana College in August of 2007. Being a part of a supportive and dynamic department such as Augustana’s Political Science Department has be a real blessing. A little while after arriving at Augustana I became one of the four principle founders and a contributing faculty member in the college’s Africana Studies program. Another one of my roles at the college is advising a number of student organizations and working closely with the administration on issues pertaining to diversity in the faculty, administration, staff and even the student body. Continually I have worked to make special efforts to reach beyond the boundaries of the Augustana campus into Rock Island, the Quad Cities community and across the country in many instances of service and outreach.
My doctoral research was on the impact of the racial wealth gap on Black political participation. Currently one of the political science department’s most popular courses is one created by me entitled, Race, Wealth and Inequality in American Politics. In addition to that course I also teach courses on The United States Government, Presidency, and Congress as well as courses on Parties, Politics and Citizenship. Right now I am teaching my first section of Introduction to Africana Studies. Working with my friend and colleague Steve Klien is proving to be a very rewarding experience.
In my scholarly work as well as in projects such as this blog I work to craft a synergy between my research interests, teaching interests and the political concerns of the community. My scholarly research continues to provide varied takes on inequality along line of race, ethnicity, gender and social class in American politics, government, and society and even in higher education. Currently, I am working on a book project on the roots, realities and legacies of inequalities in American politics and government.
Over the years prior to my move to the Quad Cities and especially since that move, I have been inspired to take a special interest in the environment directly around me. Continually I work to build connections between the Augustana community and the greater community. This is especially the case with communities of color. Whenever speaking to audience, especially those including children, I stress the need for equality of opportunity and persistence fighting for equality and excellence. It is my hope to impress upon as many young people as possible through my teaching, scholarship, service and outreach that the fight never ends.
Growing up in Baltimore, MD and going to University of Maryland, College Park for graduate studies gave me a view of politics that may have had the well-known “East Coast Bias” talked about many times in sports. It was not until moving to a small city in the midwest did Whitt realize he had been viewing politics more from inside the Beltway than as the outside as he would like to imagine. Now I have a blended view of politics. I can truly see politics from my “view from beyond the beltway.” In fact, my view is from way beyond the beltway. This newfound perspective is something I really appreciate and want to share with the world.
Over the last few years I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Steve Klien, my partner on this blog project, on a number of projects at the college. Working on learning communities where we combine courses for one group of students to provide them with a more fulfilling educational experience has served to inspire our collaboration in creating Political Denizens. Currently we are doing our Learning Community entititled, “The American Presidency in Times of Crisis.” In this learning community we combine my course on the institution of the American Presidency with his course on political communications and rhetoric. We teach these courses on alternating days to the same group of students.
Our shared interests in politics and our working relationship educating our students on various aspects of politics positions us to provide a new perspective on politics and I look forward to bringing this perspective to the world. Hopefully our work as college professors and scholars will influence what is found on this blog and will allow us to bring something new to the flooded market of political commentary. I am very excited to share my views here as well as in other venues and mediums.