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Mentoring as a teacher and researcher

Wendy Martinek, associate professor of political science, has been called a commanding presence in the classroom, thoroughly prepared and able to deal with the complex and occasionally controversial issues that come up in discussions of constitutional law.

Coordinator of the Department of Political Science Honors Program and adviser for the department’s concentration in politics and law, Wendy Martinek helps shape the intellectual development and choices of her students. “I often challenge my students with hypotheticals to force them to grapple with different issues of constitutional law applied to new situations,” she says. “Involving students in teaching themselves is a useful way to enhance the educational experience.” Her operative goal -- fostering a student’s own process of discovery and intellectual development.

Martinek’s door is always open to everyone and graduate students, in particular, attest to her extraordinary help in preparing them to meet professional challenges. Considering graduate students as colleagues, “albeit colleagues still acquiring the substantive knowledge and skills required,” says Martinek, “in the seminar room it means letting [them] take the lead in examining, dissecting and critiquing the literature, something all good seminars should do.”

Fellow faculty members say that Martinek’s own research into judicial politics, with a particular focus on decision making in the United States Courts of Appeals and state courts of last resort, shows the same commitment to quality and inventiveness that she insists on from her students.

Learn more about Wendy Martinek’s research and the Department of Political Science.

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Last Updated: 5/7/09