Center for Excellence Honoree: Sean Duffy

Sean DuffyIf you think you can breeze through Sean Duffy's "Introduction to Political Science" by tossing around a few prominent names, you're in for a surprise.

"We tackle the big questions," Duffy said. He asks his students things like: Why do we need government? What does it do for us? What is power? How would our lives be different if we lived under the British parliamentary system instead of the American presidential system?

Duffy, who is marking a decade of teaching in the College of Liberal Arts, said current events cause him to redesign the course each time he teaches it.

David Ives, executive director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute, says Duffy is "excellent at communicating his ideas and thoughts to students...he is open to new ideas." Ives, who co-taught a course on nuclear proliferation and peace with Duffy, nominated him for the award. "I have never taught a more talkative and engaged group of students, and I attribute it to Sean's ability to both listen and make intelligent observations," he said.

Joey Vines '07 has taken several courses with Duffy. "What makes him so intriguing is that he is so welcoming to other points of view...When he teaches, he demonstrates both sides of the issue equally, without giving away his politics," Vines said.

Duffy earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Brown University, a master's degree from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and his doctorate in political science from Yale. He joined the Quinnipiac faculty as a part-time professor in 1997 and was made full time a year later.

One of his favorite aspects of teaching is interacting with students. "I like the role of helping others develop their interests," he said.

Duffy also serves on the University's Core Curriculum Committee and is an adviser to numerous student organizations-including the student Republicans, something he finds curious as a lifelong Democrat. He is the faculty athletic representative to the NCAA, charged with making sure the University treats student athletes as students first.

Duffy, who rowed for the crew team at Brown and was a five-year member of the national kayaking team, says everyone should strive for both academic and physical achievement. He enjoys being outdoors, gardening and spending time with Linus, his golden retriever puppy. He lives with his partner in New Haven.

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