The APSA Distinguished Teaching Award is presented annually by the American Political Science Association (APSA) to honor outstanding contributions to the undergraduate and graduate teaching of political science at two- and four-year institutions.
Dr. Charity Butcher is currently a Professor at Kennesaw State University. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Indiana University with concentrations in international affairs and comparative politics. She teaches undergraduate courses in International Relations, American Foreign Policy, and Global Security and teaches in KSU’s Master of Science in International Policy Management and in their Ph.D. in International Conflict Management programs. Her research interests include human rights, the importance of ethnicity and religion in international conflict, international rivalry, and the role of terrorism in civil wars. She has published several articles and three books. Her most recent book (with Maia Hallward), NGOs and Human Rights: Comparing Faith-Based and Secular Approaches (2021), considers how secular and religious NGOs approach human rights and has chapters focused on women’s rights, children’s rights, development, peace, and conflict, and culture. Her book, The Handbook of Cross-Border Ethnic and Religious Affinities, charts ethnic and religious cross-border connections in all bordering countries around the world. She also co-edited a textbook, Understanding International Conflict Management, with Maia Hallward. Dr. Butcher is on the Editorial Team for the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development and is on the Editorial Board for International Studies Perspectives, one of the primary journals published by the International Studies Association.
In addition to her substantive research, Dr. Butcher conducts research on the scholarship of teaching and learning and has published peer-reviewed research on active learning pedagogy, including the use of simulations in the classroom, and has contributed multiple blog posts to the Active Learning in Political Science Blog and to APSA Educate. She is the KSU faculty advisor for the KSU Model United Nations Team.
Citation from the Award Committee:
The committee received a very competitive set of nominations. After careful deliberation, the committee selected Dr. Charity Butcher as the 2021 recipient of the APSA Distinguished Teaching Award.
Dr. Charity Butcher stood out. She combines a strong commitment to innovative teaching strategies with careful examination of the effectiveness of those strategies. She seeks to continually improve her teaching skills and is also “genuinely invested in ensuring her course materials honor the principles of diversity and inclusion” and that “her classroom is a space where every student feels safe and welcome,” as stated by one of her letter writers.
Given Dr. Butcher’s strong commitment to teaching, it is not surprising that she also has a strong track record of mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students. Moreover, Dr. Butcher serves as a mentor to her colleagues, both at Kennesaw State University and in the broader profession. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she shared her expertise in online instruction with colleagues who needed to quickly adapt to the online format.
In addition to her activities in the classroom and on her own campus, Dr. Butcher actively shares her expertise through publications on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning – and this includes teaching resources that she has developed, such as her simulations. In sum, Dr. Charity Butcher is not only an outstanding educator and mentor but also seeks to enable others to excel as educators in political science as well.
APSA thanks the committee members for their service: Dr. Marijke Breuning (Chair), University of North Texas; Professor David Monda, CUNY York College; and Dr. Paula O’Loughlin, Coe College.