John Moeller

Professor of political science

First year at Luther: 1981

Campus involvement: Advises pre-law students and those interning in Washington, D.C., as part of the Lutheran College Washington Consortium.

Office habits: Louis Armstrong-era music on the CD player; laissez-faire relationship with fax machines.

John Moeller is a classic facilitator. "I don't tell people things so much as I try to get discussions going," he says. "I'm interested in connections."

With degrees in Slavic languages and literature and Soviet-area studies--and an interest in the intersection of culture, history, philosophy, and politics--Moeller has taught everything from political theory to environmental politics to Paideia II.

John's strategies for engaging the inhabitants of the "Luther bubble" include symposium-style presentations and issues-oriented experiential retreats for first-year students co-led by faculty, current upperclass students, and alumni.

"If people come to campus expecting dialogue about broader issues, the conversation is more likely to continue," he says. First-year excursions could explore land use policy in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, urban planning in Nashville, or sustainable agriculture and food resources in the Decorah area. Ideas come across his desk almost daily as he navigates a vast network of colleagues and former students--many of whom he's recommended to graduate and law schools.

John thinks about these things on his crosstown walk to work. He rides his bike in the summer so he can get home faster to enjoy the long evenings, but in the winter, with the academic year unfolding before him, he likes having that time to contemplate the world both near and far. "I'm not a planner, not a visionary," he says self-effacingly, "but I think I can help students and others see the way choices are made."