Professor Morlang

I first met Professor Morlang after my roommate visited her for an advising appointment, and came back with the next four years of her life planned out. I desperately needed someone to help me get my life in order, so I immediately made an appointment with Professor Morlang so she could work her magic on my schedule too.

Dr. Morlang has recently received the Dr. John B. Drahmann Advising Award for her expert advising skills. I left our first appointment feeling like I could totally achieve all my academic goals and like I had everything under control. That’s just how good she is.

I’ve also been lucky to be in two of Professor Morlang’s classes, Comparative Politics and Women and Politics. In both classes, her passions shine through the lessons. Professor Morlang told me she was interested in the field of political science from the very beginning. When people asked her what she wanted to grow up to be, she would answer, “I’m going to be a Senator.” She always thought she would go into politics, in part because her parents were very politically active. She would canvass door to door with her dad for the anti-nuclear movement and was involved in environmental activism with her parents.

Professor Morlang specializes in European Politics. In high school she studied abroad in Denmark— which cemented her interest in Europe. “At the end of our year abroad, all the students took a bus trip all around Europe, and I fell in love with Vienna,” she said. So she set her sights on studying abroad in Vienna during college. When she went to visit her advisor, she was told she would never get into the Vienna program with her grades, and not to even bother applying.

So she ended up traveling to the Soviet Union and studying abroad in Hungary. She had the incredible experience of studying in Budapest the year that Budapest started to pull out of the Soviet Bloc. She said, “I was lucky to study in Hungary during such a transformative time, right before the fall of the Iron Curtain and the destruction of the Berlin Wall”.

What makes Professor Morlang such a great teacher and advisor is that she is able to help students in a really unique way through all of her own experiences. One of the problems she faced getting started on her life-journey was that she didn’t have an advisor to guide her, “There was no one to show me how to go from being a student to achieving the job I dreamed of, so I had to find my path on my own,” she said. She wound up in graduate school because she felt it was the only thing to do. Life didn’t necessarily take her where she expected, but she’s not at all bitter about it.

In advising, she said she worries about the people who at 21 have elaborately planned out the trajectory of their lives. What you want in your early 20s is totally different than what you may want in your 30s, and it’s not a good idea to close doors that you may later be interested in opening. As she knows, life doesn’t always work out the way you planned.

Professor Morlang is able to teach her Women and Politics from a very experience-driven point of view. She says its important to think through how policy affects you, how life choices are to some extent shaped by outside forces because of gender and who you are, and the role that will play in your life, “It’s hard to think about these things when you’re in your early 20s, but its good to think about it”.

I asked her what it means to be a feminist today and she responded, “The meaning of feminist today has changed, and the climate around feminism has changed. Feminism is now more accessible to young people. Feminism means a call to action. There is a sense of ownership among young feminists- there is work to do, and we have to work together to fix these problems.” 

She said it’s important to get involved. Social justice issues—the environment, immigration, etc.— are feminist issues.

If you haven’t yet met Professor Morlang, I highly recommend you take one of her classes, or hop on over to the advising website and set up an appointment with her ASAP. You’ll get to know a super interesting teacher and get your academics sorted out all at once. Score!