Professor of the Week: Jonathan Rosenberg

Professor Jonathan Rosenberg teaches Political Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Photo by Jessica Hoffman/The Sun Star

By Jessica Hoffman
Sun Star Reporter

Name: Jonathan Rosenberg
Department: Political Science

How many years have you been teaching at UAF?

“I came here in fall of ’93.”

What attracted you to teaching at UAF?

“They offered me a job (laughs), quite frankly, although I was quite excited about coming to Alaska. I liked the department and my colleagues. They were very welcoming and the students are a really interesting and diverse group.”

Was UAF your first full-time teaching position?

“Yes, it was.  I had done some teaching part-time at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara and Whittier College, but this was my first full-time teaching position.”

What attracts you to political science?

“The big questions of how people make decisions or participate in making decisions or influence decisions about critical parts of their lives. Control that people do or don’t have over important issues such as economic opportunity and political economies really is one of my key interests in a class that I teach.”

What do you think makes a good student?

“Curiosity.  Open-mindedness.  Obviously, a willingness to learn and to engage different points-of-view and perspectives.  And especially, ones they don’t agree with or aren’t exposed to regularly in their everyday lives.”

What do you think makes a good professor?

“A good professor should be able to stimulate thought; engage students in intellectual discourse and encourage students to look for connections between abstract concepts and real problems and issues and challenges in their own lives.”

What do you want students to get out of your classes you teach?

“I want them to come away from my classes with, what I like to call, informed confusion, more knowledgeable, but less certain about the subject matter in whatever the class might be.”

What do you think is the best thing about teaching here at UAF?

“The best thing, I think, is the student body.  The students are diverse in ways that are different than the word diversity is usually used on campuses around the country.  Diverse as to age, certainly as to background, the combination of students that come from big urban areas and isolated rural areas, getting them together in the same room to share experiences and perspectives.  It’s very exciting.

Do you have any recent achievements?

“The most recent publication that I’m excited about is a book that I co-authored, Political Economy of Oil in Alaska, along with two other faculty members at UAF and one at UAA.

Do you have any favorite hobbies?

What’s the best excuse you’ve heard from a student?

“I don’t know. Most of them are so conventional.  I guess, ‘my cat had emergency surgery.’  I have cats.  So I’m sympathetic to that.”

How many and what are their names?

“Two. Marley and Tosh.”

Like Peter Tosh and Bob Marley?


So, do you play reggae music?

“I play a little bit of it.  I’d like to get an opportunity to play more.  So, if you know any reggae musicians send them my way.”

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