Making an Impact: Professor Brian Frederking, Ph.D.
By Brianna Berens '11
From being a McKendree alum to a career as a McKendree faculty member, Political Science Department Chair Dr. Brian Frederking has been connected to the University for a long time now.
The 2011 recipient of the prestigious United Methodist Church Exemplary Teacher Award, Frederking says he is honored and privileged. “It is surreal to me that I have been the student of previous McKendree professors who have received this award, so in this aspect, I realize from a student’s end what it is to receive good teaching.” His immediate reaction to receiving the award? “President Dennis joked that he had never seen me so speechless,” laughs Frederking. “I was totally unprepared. One of the awesome things about my job is that every day is different; you never know what to expect. This just happened to be one of those days that was wildly different from the rest.”
“It is not about the award, however it is nice to be recognized,” he continues. “It tells me that it’s OK to keep doing what I’m doing.”
"McKendree was definitely the type of school where
I could see myself making an impact."
When Dr. Frederking was notified that he received the job to come back and teach at his alma mater after he finished graduate school, he was, in his own words, “Ecstatic. It was as if the stars aligned. McKendree was definitely the type of school where I could see myself making an impact.” As a graduate of Syracuse University, Frederking’s professors expected a lot from him. Many graduates in his field were expected to move on to large universities and to concentrate on research and projects in their field. However, Frederking knew he wanted a different type of career. He definitely wanted to work at a university where he could research and keep up with different projects in his field, but he wanted to be able to use his research in a practical way and apply it to classroom discussions and lessons. “McKendree has small enough classes that I felt I could interact and significantly influence students… and in that way, change the world, as cliché as it sounds,” he says.
"I like to ask the big questions."
And he is doing just that, making a big impact in the classroom. “My favorite thing
is the interaction with the students,” he says. “I like to ask the big questions.”
In order to keep students engaged and involved, his teaching style includes class
discussions and incorporating technology. He might share a relevant video from YouTube
or encourage his students to read or respond to a blog he writes regularly.
One of the biggest challenges he faces as a political science professor is staying up to date in his field. More often than not, Frederking needs updated texts and resources to keep him and his classes on point. As chair of the Political Science Division, he has helped create a new, interdisciplinary global studies major.
Most of his projects and research deal with the United Nations Security Council ...
Outside of the classroom, his achievements include a book published in 2007, “The United States and the Security Council: Collective Security since the Cold War.” He has also contributed to journals and recently edited a book called “The Politic of Global Governance: International Organizations in an Independent World; 4th Edition.” Most of his projects and research deal with the United Nations Security Council, which he says in turn, helps him with his teaching.
Looking forward to future projects, Frederking wants to focus next on studying the Security Council in the past 20 years, specifically using the 9/11 tragedy as a marker, asking what has changed since then and what has remained the same. “I am due for a sabbatical soon, so hopefully then I will have time to work more on this,” he says. He feels that his research projects help him become more knowledgeable and informed, and in turn able to better teach in the classroom.
Always striving to give his best to his students, Dr. Frederking is the kind of faculty member who enjoys “giving back to the school that has given so much to me.”