Robert U. Nagel

Robert U. Nagel


My approach to teaching has one guiding principle: success means helping my students to be the best version of themselves inside and outside of the classroom. To achieve this, I build my teaching on three fundamental pillars: equity, interaction, and collaboration. I aim to create an inclusive atmosphere in which students actively participate, think independently, contribute frequently, collaborate with each other, and challenge each other. Fundamental to this is students’ recognition of each other as equals. On this basis, I encourage students to engage in dialogue that reflects both their different perspectives and their shared experiences enabling them to learn from and with each other. Putting equity and inclusion at the center of my teaching enables students to pose critical questions, mature intellectually, and challenge hierarchies. The overarching goal of my teaching is students’ intellectual and personal growth. I aim to prepare students to confront fundamental questions about political institutions, humanity, and themselves. I seek to equip students with the skills and knowledge to ask these questions, to formulate their reflections concisely, to comprehend and challenge theories, to apply them to real world cases, and to examine research questions using sound designs and appropriate methods.

I consider it my responsibility as an instructor and mentor to offer my students the same high level of support and enthusiasm that my professors and mentors have shown me throughout my academic career. I particularly enjoy mentoring students and helping them develop their research skills. I believe teaching is a privilege and a responsibility - one I take seriously. If you want to know more about what I teach and how, please get in touch I'm happy to send you my teaching statement and syllabi.

In the spring of 2022, in addition to my fellowship at GIWPS, I'm teaching a graduate class at American University:

  • Spring 2022 - SIS 622 - "Human Rights"

Together with Dr. S. Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana, I have taught an undergraduate international relations class at Georgetown University:

  • Fall 2021 - IPOL 319 - "Women, Peace and Security"
  • Fall 2020 - IPOL 319 - "Women, Peace and Securityy"

Before starting my postdoc at Georgetown, I was an adjunct professor at Clark University teaching
"Africa & the World" and "Comparative Politics of Women."

  • Fall 2019 - PSC 103 - "Africa & the World"
  • Fall 2019 - PSC 208 - "Comparative Politics of Women"

During my PhD at the University of Kent, I was a teaching assistant for an undergraduate course on quantitative methods as well as an undergraduate course on research design and mixed methods with a particular focus on process tracing. I taught undergraduate student seminars on mixed-method research design and quantitative methods.

  • PO 657 - "Political Analysis & Research"
  • PO 661 - "Fact, Evidence, Knowledge and Power"

Additionally, I have given guest lectures and invited talks at:

  • Georgia Institute of Technology (2021)
  • University of Glasgow (2021)
  • Dakota State University (2021)
  • University of Saskatchewan (2021)
  • University of Stirling (2021)
  • University of Amsterdam (2021)
  • IESEG School of Management (2021)
  • Swedish Defence University (2021)
  • Seton Hall University (2021)
  • Centre College (2021)
  • University of Maryland (2021)
  • Harvard University (2018)
  • Northeastern University (2019)
  • Williams College (2019, 2020)

What students say about my teaching:

  • "Rob did a great job of presenting material while also making it engaging and relatable to us as college students. He seemed to truly value our contributions and perspectives and wanted to learn from us too" (2021, student in "Women, Peace and Security")
  • "He handled all the material with grace, including difficult topics such as SGBV. He is incredibly kind, approachable, and humble. Would recommend his class to anyone looking for a professor who deeply cares about the material they teach." (2021, student in "Women, Peace and Security")
  • "Dr. Nagel was an amazing instructor and I really, really appreciated his understanding, kindness, and support throughout the semester. His genuine concern for our well-being meant the world and helped alleviate a great deal of stress that I was experiencing throughout the semester." (2021, student in "Women, Peace and Security")
  • "Rob has been a great instructor. He's always very friendly and understanding, and both him and Ayse constantly emphasize the importance of students' mental health and wellbeing. His PowerPoints were also very entertaining, as he used a lot of memes/GIFS to keep us entertained. I think overall he did a great job of facilitating class discussion and fostering a safe/respectful class environment." (2021, student in "Women, Peace and Security")
  • "I loved the way the class was structured. Even though there weren't any exams, the weekly country briefs forced me to pay attention to detail and use what I learned in class. I loved this course, I have no issues on it." (2019, student in "Africa & the World")
  • "Great teacher, very quick to respond to any question, email, etc. Easily one of the best professors I've had at Clark and before his class I had no interest in the topic. The way he taught made me enjoy the information I was learning and retain all of it." (2019, student in "Africa & the World")
  • "Easily the best professor I have had in college so far. Professor Nagel has a very uplifting personality and makes even the most boring topics entertaining, a skill not many people have." (2019, student in "Africa & the World")
  • "Of all my professors this semester, Professor Nagel was certainly the most invested in his students as people. He consistently expressed interest in our wellbeing and treated us all with a very high level of respect. He always lectured with enthusiasm and it was an overall joy to attend his class. Although I did not speak up that much, I thought he did a great job at creating a welcoming learning environment. I never felt pressured by other things happening in the classroom; the discourse we engaged in was always surprisingly fun, productive, and rewarding, in part thanks to how Professor Nagel mediated discussions. Initially, I was uncomfortable to discover that the class was to be taught by a white person, but I think he generally did a very good job at conveying the limitations of his perspective. This being my first semester at Clark, (and college in general) I felt very lucky to have a professor like him who offered support and advocacy. Sad to see him go but I'm sure he'll do a great at Georgetown. Overall just a really wholesome, stand up guy. :)" (2019 student in "Africa & the World")
  • "The amount of work for this class was a perfect balance between challenging and manageable." (2019 student in "Comparative Politics of Women")
  • "Professor Nagel is easily one of my favorite professors! Like I said, he clearly loves the subject material and is well–read/taught in it which also makes him great at teaching it! His next university/department/students will be lucky to have him!" (2019 student in "Comparative Politics of Women")
  • "Such a terrific professor! Professor Nagel's respect and care for us really brought this class together. He made us feel very comfortable and had an incredibly high sensitivity and awareness of his positionally to teaching this class about a classroom full of 95% females. A great sense of humor, was terrific at relating the material to the students, and made every class entertaining. His high knowledge really was reflected in this class and I feel lucky to have taken the class with him." (2019, student in "Comparative Politics of Women")