Cherie D. Maestas

Professor and Head 
Department of Political Science 
Purdue University

Click here for current CV


Teaching Philosophy: 

Teaching is fun! I love when students discover the exciting world of empirical research. They are often unaware that "textbook" knowledge is changing constantly in response to new research, or that they can be part of the process of creating that knowledge. My goal is to help students think critically about the political world and to evaluate the state of academic knowledge in order to generate interesting new research questions to explore. While I stress the importance of developing and testing academic theories of politics, I also highlight the many practical applications of these theories within the political process. Discovery is the most thrilling aspect of the education process. I actively build in opportunities for students to explore uncharted areas into my classes through practical experiences. Students have conducted original phone polls, issued press releases of their findings, developed mock political campaigns based on empirical research of "constituents" in other classes, and assisted in NSF funded grant projects. 

Undergraduate courses:


Research Intensive Bachelor's Certificate Program,
In 2008, while on faculty at Florida State University, I developed the curriculum and founded the Research Intensive Bachelor's Certificate program in the Department of Political Science at Florida State University. I am pleased that ten years later the program is still mentoring new generations of undergraduate scholars. The goal of the program is to provide a cohort-based, small group learning environment for top majors.  A select group of students enter the program in the fall each  year and progress together through two research methods classes which culminate in a presentation of their original research to the department.  Students complete the program by working on guided internships with faculty and graduate students. The program is designed to prepare students to complete the honors in the major and prepare them for graduate education. 

Select Graduate Courses:

Most of my graduate teaching is targeted toward PhD students who plan to seek applied or academic positions. Thus, I view graduate education as a combination of teaching, mentoring, and professional socialization. It is challenging for students to make the transition from being consumers of knowledge to producers of knowledge. My goal in graduate courses is to help smooth that transition by guiding them through the process of creating and completing research projects.