Dr. Lisa Glidden

Dr. Glidden’s office in the Marano Campus Center is small, but quaint; there is a painting of a dancer, framed but not hung; there are a few baubles on the desk; and there is a small dolly that is being used as a door stop. Door stops, Glidden explains, aren’t actually allowed in the Campus Center. Apparently, door stops are a fire hazard.

Sitting down with her, we started out simple. Who is she?

“I’m an associate professor of political science and the director of the global studies program,” she said, with a nod.

But that’s not all she is. In fact, Glidden is quite busy here on campus! Not only does she teach, she also coordinates the sustainability studies minor and involves herself in the gender and women’s studies program, where she once served as chair of the advisory board. She is the faculty advisor of the Political Science Club, as well.

“I think we’re gonna start a Model U.N.!” she added, “We’re gonna, hopefully, get that club off the ground this year.”

Despite all her extra duties, it is teaching that she loves the most. But like all of us, she wasn’t born a ready and willing teacher. During her second year of her master’s program is when she figured out that she wanted to teach. Even before then, she did many odd jobs we can all relate to!

“I waitressed for a long time!” she said with a laugh, detailing that she mostly waitressed through both college and grad school before moving on to work at the Brooklyn Law School as assistant bursar.

From there, she went to get her Ph. D at the University of Washington in 1999 before taking a break and returning to finish it in 2007. Starting out, she had originally declared chemistry as her major, but that quickly changed when she took a course on revolution and development. She decided then that political science and international culture was where she wanted to be. Still, teaching was not where she was headed.

“I really thought I wanted to work for the U.N.,” she said. “Basically you either needed a masters or experience, so I figured the masters would be quicker!”

It was only after meeting a professor, Vince Boudreau, at the City College of New York, that she was introduced to the idea of teaching.

“The thought had never even crossed my mind. Like when I was an undergraduate, I never even considered the qualifications of the people who were teaching me. I knew they were professors but I didn’t quite understand! So when he said that I was like ‘Yeah! That sounds great!’”

While finishing up her dissertation, Glidden applied to several liberal arts colleges back on the East Coast, not wanting to miss out on any opportunities. She eventually found herself in a classroom here at Oswego.

“I had to teach my sample class to my department because the day that I came in for my interview was one of the days of a really brutal winter. It was like eight degrees and no students showed up to any of the meetings! So my sample class was to the faculty of the department, which was weird.”

But she felt as though Oswego was the perfect fit for her and so did the college. With so many jobs and experiences, Glidden accumulated some great advice and ideas. “Don’t stress too much about categorizing yourself as something,” she said. “I don’t want to say there’s some destined path to be on, but I think we all have a variety of paths open to us and probably in our lives will take several different paths.”

Some of those paths might be best open if you study abroad. Glidden taught a class involving Turkey and noticed how differently students reacted to being taught the material here, in America, versus experiencing the actual cities in Turkey.

“Those same students who go abroad, it’s a whole other thing. It’s a very different kind of knowledge and understanding, both about what situation they’re in but also about themselves.”

As we wrapped up, I asked her one more time if she had anything else left to say. And she left me with perhaps some of the best advice I’ve ever heard.

“Negotiate!” she said, “Know your value and negotiate for things.”

She agreed, with an understanding nod, that negotiation can be hard. Most things in life are indeed hard, but we need to know our worth and that worth should be given all of the effort in this world.