Faculty and Staff

Orcun Selcuk, Carly Hayden Foster, Mike Engelhardt and Rachel Brummel

Rachel Brummel

Assoc Professor of Environmental Studies/Political Science

Education: PhD. Conservation Biology and a focus on Social Science & Policy, University of Minnesota, B.A. Biology and Environmental Studies, Grinnell College

Rachel Brummel came to Luther in 2014 and retains affiliations with both the Environmental Studies program and Political Science Department. Dr. Brummel completed her undergraduate education in biology and environmental studies at Grinnell College (2003) and PhD. at the University in Minnesota (2010, Conservation Biology), focusing on political and social facets of environmental conservation. Prior to coming to Luther, Dr. Brummel taught in the Environmental Studies program at Lafayette College in Easton, PA.

Dr. Brummel teaches courses such as Environmental Politics & Policy, Environment & Community, Rivers & Society, and a J-term course entitled “Society and the Sixth Mass Extinction.” In her research, Brummel examines political and community-level responses to transboundary environmental change. Some of her recent projects include wildfire policy in the U.S. and Australia, the politics of invasive Asian carp in Minnesota, and U.S. pollinator conservation policy.

Read Rachel Brummel's faculty story

Michael Engelhardt

Professor of Political Science

Education: Ph.D., M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison; B.A., Hope College

Dr. Engelhardt teaches courses in American Foreign Policy, American Politics, Congress and the Presidency, Political Parties and Interest Groups, Crisis Decision-Making and Global Politics. His research interests have been in the areas of military intervention and nuclear nonproliferation and he has published several articles in these fields, as well as coauthoring a text in American Politics. He also coaches Luther's Mock Trial team and is faculty adviser to Luther College Republicans.

During most January Terms, Dr. Engelhardt teaches a course entitled "It's a Conspiracy!?," which examines various political conspiracy theories using critical thinking. Students are required to write a research paper in which they critically analyze a theory not discussed in class.

Learn more about Michael Engelhardt

Carly Foster

Associate Professor of Political Science

Education: Ph.D. Political Science, University of Kansas; M.A. Political Science, University of Kansas; Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies, University of Kansas; B.A. Political Science, University of Kansas

Carly Hayden Foster joined the Luther College Political Science in 2015 and is currently chair of the Political Science Department. She has also taught at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (2007-2015) and Washington State University (2006-2007). Dr. Foster earned her Ph.D. in Political Science (2005) and Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies (2004) from the University of Kansas.

Dr. Foster teaches courses on social policy, constitutional law, gender and politics, political thought, and the Iowa Caucuses. Dr. Foster’s research interests center on gender and race as they relate to law, policy and politics. She has published work on gender and race in welfare policy, health policy, child welfare policy, elections, and political organizations.

Read Carly Hayden Foster's faculty story

Heather Frey

Academic Administrative Assistant

Heather Frey is the Administrative Assistant for the departments of Sociology/Anthropology/Social Work, Political Science, History, Philosophy, International Studies and Identity Studies. She has worked at Luther College for 19 years, spending 10 years in the Admissions Office before moving to Koren to assist faculty in the Social Sciences and Humanities programs.  She supervises 2-3 student assistants each semester and enjoys getting to know each of them. Heather looks forward to the challenges and opportunities each academic year brings.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, shopping, and lots of traveling.  She has 3 children living in Colorado and Texas, which provide her many opportunities to do that traveling!

Orcun Selcuk

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Education: Ph.D. and M.A. Political Science, Florida International University; M.A. Modern Turkish History, Boğaziçi University; B.A. Political Science and International Relations, Boğaziçi University.

Dr. Selçuk joined Luther College in 2019. He teaches Global Politics, Developing Democracies, Latin American Politics, and Research Methods. He is also the faculty adviser to Luther Model United Nations and International Students & Allies student clubs.

Dr. Selçuk’s research broadly focuses on populism, polarization, and democratization from a cross-regional perspective. Out of his research on Turkey and Latin America, he published in Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, DemocratizationInsight Turkey, ASMEA Book Notes, the Monkey Cage and the Miami Herald.

Paul Gardner


Education: Ph.D., Political Science, University of Kentucky; M.A., Political Science, Iowa State University; B.A., Sociology, St. Ambrose University

Paul Gardner joined the Luther faculty in 1985. He taught courses in Global Politics, Politics and Religion, and Terrorism and Democracy. Throughout his career he directed the Nottingham program, took six groups to Northern Ireland, spent a sabbatical semester in Poland lecturing on American foreign policy, directed the International Studies program, and taught in Luther’s Paideia I and Paideia II programs. Several years ago he developed a January term course for first year students on happiness, with the current variation titled “An Examined Life IS worth Living.”

John Moeller


Education: Ph.D., M.A., Political Science, Duke University; B.A., Lawrence University

John Moeller came to Luther College in 1981 after teaching at Texas Tech, Livingston University (Alabama) and Pan-American University (Texas). Moeller earned a B.A. from Lawrence University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Duke University. He teaches courses in law (Constitutional Law, Introduction to Law, Civil Rights and Liberties), political theory (Political Thought, American Political Thought) and environmental politics. He has also taught a number of interdisciplinary courses (Caesars’ Coin, Moral Dilemmas in Literature, Social and Political Issues in Film and Fiction, Science and Politics of Global Warming). He is especially interested in making connections between political theory and political practice, and often combines social science writings with imaginative literature in his classes.

Moeller served as professor in the Political Science Department and continues to oversee Luther’s participation in the Lutheran College Washington Semester Consortium. In the past, he has also served as a director of the Environmental Studies Program. In 2006, he was appointed as director of the newly endowed Center for Ethics and Public Engagement for a five-year term. The goal of the Center is to place discussion of and concern for public issues at the heart of what Luther College students do. The Center develops this goal through a range of activities, including a public lecture series, residencies, reading and discussion groups, and summer programming for new students entering Luther.

Moeller’s research and writing has focused on the role of the Supreme Court in the American political system, political themes in the popular Western, the ideas of Alexander Bickel, and the jurisprudence of Justice John M. Harlan II.

Jim Rhodes


Education: M.A., English, University of Arkansas; B.A., University of Michigan

Jim Rhodes joined the Luther faculty in the fall of 1968 after completing graduate course work at the University of Michigan, completing the dissertation in 1973. He had earlier earned an M.A. in English from the University of Arkansas.

Rhodes has served as chair of Political Science and the Director of Luther’s International Studies program. He follows contemporary world affairs to update his academic and teaching fields of international relations (The Politics of War and Peace and International Relations) and comparative politics (Comparative Political Analysis, Politics of Africa, Asia, and Latin America). His main area of research started out in Latin American politics but has broadened over the years to be global. Rhodes regularly contributes reviews to CHOICE, the American Library Association’s publication for college and research libraries and that has lately included a large number of books on China. He believes scholarship belongs not just in libraries but in the public square to assist leaders and citizens in developing and judging public policies. Rhodes hopes students from his courses have gained a perspective that will enable them both to be aware of contemporary international events and to judge them critically.