Faculty and Staff

Political Science Department Faculty 2012

Michael Engelhardt

Professor of Political Science

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

Mike Engelhardt arrived at Luther in 1988 after earning a B.A. from Hope College in 1979, an M.A. from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1980 and a Ph. D. from the same institution in 1984.

Engelhardt’s research interests are in the area of American Foreign Policy, with a special interest in military policy and nuclear nonproliferation. He is the author of several published articles in these areas as well as a co-author of a textbook on American Politics. Engelhardt teaches courses in American Politics, Congress and the Presidency, Political Parties and Interest Groups, Politics and the Media and has recently developed a new course on the Politics of the Middle East. He also coaches the Luther Mock Trial team and is the faculty sponsor of Luther College Republicans.

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Carly Foster

Associate Professor of Political Science

Heather Frey

Admin. Assist., Hist/Poli Sci, Soc/Anthro/Scl Wrk and Phil.

Heather Frey is the Administrative Assistant for the departments of Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work, History, Africana Studies and Philosophy. She began working with these depts. in August 2011. Before moving to Koren, she spent 10 years working in the Admissions Office as an International Admissions Assistant. She supervises 5-7 student assistants each semester and enjoys getting to know all of them.  Heather looks forward to the challenges and opportunities each academic year brings.

Paul Gardner

Professor of Political Science

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

Paul Gardner came to Luther College in 1985 after teaching at Illinois State University. Gardner earned a B.A. in Sociology from St. Ambrose University, and an M.A. from Iowa State University and a Ph. D. from the University of Kentucky in Political Science.

Gardner’s course responsibilities include Politics and Religion, Terrorism and Democracy, Introduction to the Politics of Social Policy and American Politics. Two trips to Northern Ireland in addition to the 9/11/01 attacks on America encouraged an interest in terrorism that resulted in the development of the Terrorism and Democracy course. Gardner has taught in several interdisciplinary courses including Luther’s Paideia program for first-year students.

He is currently chair of Political Science. Gardner has also directed Luther’s Nottingham Program and serves as the faculty sponsor of the Luther Democrats. During the fall of 2004, Gardner was a guest lecturer on terrorism and American foreign policy at Andrzeja Frycza Modrzewskiego College in Krakow, Poland. His most recent scholarly publication is “Ronald Reagan and the Universality of Democracy.” Gardner’s essays have also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Christian Science Monitor.

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John Moeller

Professor of Political Science

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 currently serves as chair of the Political Science Department and oversees 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 Life 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.

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Pedro Dos Santos

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Education: Ph.D., Political Science, University of Kansas; M.A., Political Science, University of Kansas; B.A., Political Science and International Business, Baker University

Pedro dos Santos arrived at Luther in 2012 after earning a B.A. in International Business and Political Science from Baker University (2004); a M.A. in Political Science from the University of Kansas (2007); a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Kansas (2009); and a Ph.D. in Political Science (major in Comparative Politics and International Relations, minor in Latin American Development) from the University of Kansas (2012). He also spent one year as a Visiting Researcher at the Research Center and Graduate Program on the America at the University of Brasilia in Brazil (2010-2011).

Dr. dos Santos' research interests include gender and politics, politics and religion, Latin American politics, electoral systems and elections, and comparative foreign policy. He has published works on women's representation in Latin America and evangelical politics in Brazil. He has experience teaching American politics, global politics, Latin American Political and Economic development, global politics and film, international studies (interdisciplinary), comparative politics, and politics of the developing world.

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James 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.