By James Bouffard
Since coming to Kutztown in 2008, Dr. Steve B. Lem has played an active role in the university. He served as faculty advisor to the Model U.N. Club, participated in APSCUF and now serves as the chair of the political science department. Last fall, he was elected president of the University Senate and will assume this role next semester.
Many students are unaware of the University Senate and its importance. Dr. Lem describes it as a body representing faculty, staff and students that reviews academic policies and recommends changes. It may also form task forces to address matters of concern to the campus community.
Dr. Lem broadly views his role as a “cooperative leader” who builds consensus around solutions to common challenges. According to the senate’s constitution, his powers will include presiding over meetings, appointing nomination committees and calling emergency sessions.
What does Dr. Lem plan on doing in this position? He describes his approach as policy- and outcome-driven. In particular, he plans on implementing specific policies that address the needs of all Senate constituents. Dr. Lem describes this as furthering the goals of his predecessor, Dr. Andrew Arnold, who functions with “a big picture, more global approach.”
Serving as senate president will not be the only interesting thing Dr. Lem does in the next academic year. In spring, he will travel to the Netherlands in order to conduct research with a former colleague of his.
They will focus on a variety of questions. Their topics of interest include how governments institute environmentally protectionist policies and the role of the International Court of Justice in mitigating civil wars. However, Dr. Lem notes their primary concern is the rise of right-wing parties and how these once marginal actors have become serious political contenders.
None of this should come as a surprise to students who know of Dr. Lem’s eclectic research, which ranges from Taiwanese recognition to a widely cited study on third parties. His upcoming work suggests he will continue to produce interesting findings on a variety of subjects.