Professor Spotlight: Timothy Carter

by Sotirios Doolen

This week in the Professor Spotlight, the Drew Acorn interviewed Professor Timothy Carter to help the community get to know one of its newer members. Professor Carter is a visiting professor from Villanova University who teaches in the Political Science Department. Born in Iowa, he attended Iowa State University and went to graduate school at the University of Rochester.

Q: How long do you plan on staying on staying at Drew?

“Hopefully for a while. I’ll be coming back next year…but right now I’m a visiting professor so it’s a bit more up in the air I guess”

Q: What classes are you teaching right now?

“I’m teaching three courses this semester, the Intro. to International Relations 104 and teach that class frequently. International security is closer to what I actually do so I enjoy that class and I am also teaching a class on civil wars in Africa.”

Q: What is your research focused on?

“One paper I’m doing right now looks at the conflict in Afghanistan. Climate change is bringing warming, reduced snow cover, and there’s a huge seasonality to fighting in Afghanistan. It used to be that the Taliban would take the winter off. The Taliban are poorly mechanized and they can’t really move around in the winter, and this helps us because we are highly mechanized, but global warming has brought a shorter winter season and less snow cover. So, problematically for the United States, global warming has made the Taliban a sort of year-long threat as opposed to a good-weather threat.”

“I study violence in wars, specifically how weather and climate affect violence.”

Q: What is your favorite part of Drew?

“Probably my classes, what I like is being able to teach the classes I like and people who at least seem interested in what I’m teaching. I think as a professor what you want to do is teach what you’re passionate about and then find students that also share that interest. Here at Drew I’ve been fortunate that the classes I am offering the students seem to enjoy them. So basically the people being interested in what I am interested in and that sort of mutual learning process.”

Q: What is one thing you would want students to know about you?

“Well my interests in life are sort of politics, war, and then baseball, so I’m a huge fan and the particular team I support is the St. Louis Cardinals, and I really like sort of understanding more about baseball.”

Q: What are the differences between teaching here and at a bigger school like Villanova?

“From my perspective, there’s more repetition in the students. Here at Drew, this is my second semester and a third of my students I probably had last semester, whereas at Villanova it was probably more like five percent or maybe ten percent. So as a student, there’s more anonymity so the professors don’t know you as well, which is kind of good and bad. If you’re doing poorly, maybe you want avoid your professor, but if you’re doing well, I think it gives you more opportunities to do well because you can develop a relationship with professors, and when it comes time for applying to something like law school, it makes it easier to get a letter of recommendation because they have had you in two or three classes as opposed to just one. It also makes it easier to teach because I know what my students interests are and kind of what I can call on them in class for, so in part it’s easier. It’s also a smaller campus too so it’s a lot easier to walk to things; I did a lot more walking at Villanova.”        

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