Dr. Kevin Dooley

Dr. Kevin Dooley Takes the Honors School Under His Wing

Alum and Current Professor Looks Forward to Expanding the Program

Dr. Kevin DooleyWhen Dr. William Mitchell of the Anthropology department stepped down as Honors school Dean in the spring, Honors school staff and students alike were a little nervous about who would be able to step in and continue to change the program for the better.

After interviews with Honors students and faculty, Dr. Kevin Dooley of the Political Science department was selected to be Dean of the Honors school. However, Dooley had been a part of the University long before he started teaching in a University classroom 10 years ago.

Dooley attended Monmouth for his undergraduate degree after graduating from Manasquan High School in 1996. He grew up in Sea Girt, surrounded by political science since his father was a lawyer, and his dream was to follow in his footsteps.

But Professor Rekha Datta, his freshman advisor, opened up Dooley’s mind to other possibilities in the realm of political science. After taking a few classes at the University, Dooley felt he found his niche within International Relations.

“I found a lot of enjoyment in writing rather than practicing the law. I think that I write in a certain style that is much more relatable and better suited for academics,” said Dooley. “I try to strike a balance between analysis and theory. I can weave in between both worlds.”

After graduating from Monmouth University in 1999 and then graduating Rutgers University with his Masters in Political Theory in 2001 and Ph.D in International Relations in 2004, Dooley followed through with his newly found passion and came back to the University to be an Associate Professor of Political Science.

Dooley said that he likes teaching because he “thinks college students are the funniest people in the world.” He said, “These students say things in a way most people could not get away with, and it’s refreshing. People say they’re naïve, and that’s the wrong word. They see things for what they are. I hope that some of that rubs off and that sense of wonder will stay with them for their whole lives.”

He also said that if there was one thing he could think of that he did not enjoy about teaching, he would not be a professor.

One theme that Dooley is focused on throughout his teaching endeavors is that of learning communities.

He said that students are bombarded with impersonal technology, such as Facebook and other online social networking, but when students are seeing one another and discussing material it makes them better human beings.

He said, “The more we isolate ourselves, the less we learn about one another. If we can create real communities, we can create more opportunities.”

It is this philosophy that inspired Dooley to want to be Dean of the Honors school. He wanted to be a part of a learning community and help to mold it. Some of his other plans for enriching the Honors program include creating more freestanding upper level credits, refining the Honors Proposal and Thesis process, and creating a Bachelor’s degree in Honors, which would distinguish Honors school students from departmental honors.

Terence Bodak, a senior student majoring in Political Science and History, as well as an Honors student, said, “There is no doubt in my mind that Dr. Dooley will be able to accomplish the things that he wants for the Honors school. I think that Dr. Dooley received the position for many reasons, but first because he is passionate about his students and bringing them to the next level.”

When Dooley was a student at the University, he was the President of the Political Science Club, Model United Nations, and Pi Sigma Alpha.

He stressed that he sees significant improvements in the Political Science department and the University as a whole throughout his years as a part of the University family. Dooley said, “I see more hands-on faculty willing to engage in student clubs. Also, standards have gone through the roof in terms of academic quality.”

Currently, the Political Science department has an active debate team who won Northeast Debate Team of the Year in 2010. Also, their Model UN team participates in the National Convention each year in New York City. The department also takes students on a variety of service learning trips, such as those hosted by Dr. Rekha Datta to India and Dr. William Mitchell to Argentina.

Dooley said that he is attracted to Political Science because he “wants to figure out how the world works.” He enjoys combating questions such as why do we keep having genocides? Why do certain countries keep going to war? How do different governments interact?

He said that the best lesson he learned at Monmouth was one from Dr. Saliba Sarsar’s class as an undergraduate. “He told us his attendance policy was so severe because the only time he ever missed a class was because when he was growing up in Jerusalem and a bomb blew up during the Six-Day War. I realized that at the end of the day, people around the world have a much harder experience than we do. We have no room to complain.”

Dooley describes himself as a happy, yet traditional person who maintains the idea that happiness comes from a life of continuously pursuing truth and knowledge.

Dr. Patten, who is currently working with Dooley on their book, “Why Politics Matters: An Introduction to Political Science,” said, “He has a strong work ethic, a great sense of humor, and is committed to helping our students succeed. We are excited for both Dr. Dooley and the future of our Honors school.”