October 27, 2005

Shulman selected for Klingberg professorship

by Tim Crosby

ARBONDALE, Ill -- A political scientist at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will give students the opportunity to argue over and solve the world's problems, at least in a theoretical setting, when he revives the University's Model United Nations program.

Stephen C. Shulman, associate professor of political science, is reinstating the faux U.N. learning laboratory as part of his efforts using the Frank L. Klingberg Endowed Professorship. Shulman, who studies the effects of nationalism and nationhood, is the first recipient of the professorship honoring Klingberg, a professor emeritus of SIUC's Department of Political Science.

Klingberg's career at SIUC spanned three decades beginning in 1946. His work focused on international studies and included founding the Model United Nations student organization. Anonymous donors, including some of Klingberg's former students, last year gave the University $250,000 to establish the professorship in international relations.

Shulman, who joined the faculty in 1996, will hold the professorship for five years. He will focus his studies on the concept of nationalism in the Ukraine and how its people view foreign influence on its development.

"Russian and Western influence was a big issue in the presidential elections of 2004 in Ukraine. Both candidates accused the other of being supported by those influences, which were viewed as illegitimate or illegal. I'll be looking at national autonomy, which is basic to nationalism."

Shulman will spend some of the research dollars supplied by the professorship on public surveys of attitudes about nationalism and outside influence in Ukraine. He also will travel there to consult with Ukrainian political scientists and to interview residents.

"This is the kind of thing every professor dreams about – to have that ready source of research money," he said.

Shulman also will bring in outside speakers on international affairs and will create a cash prize that will go to the top SIUC student in the introduction to international relations course.

Shirley Clay Scott, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said Shulman “has many values in common with those of Professor Emeritus Klingberg and will emulate his predecessor’s scholarly and teaching commitments.”

“I am impressed with Professor Shulman’s scholarly achievements, with the strong reputation he has achieved in universities in a number of post-Soviet countries, and most of all, with his passion for his work,” she added.

Through the Model United Nations program, students become experts on a country, learning all they can about its history, culture, resources and politics. They then periodically travel to Model U.N. conferences throughout the nation, where they advocate their country's positions.

During the new chapter’s initial meeting last week, nine students expressed an interest in participating. Shulman said they will prepare for the Midwest Model United Nations conference in St. Louis in February.

"(The Klingberg professorship) doesn't just benefit my research but the broader student community," Shulman said.

Developing citizen-leaders with global perspectives and supporting and fostering faculty excellence are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.