The University of North Carolina at Asheville is proud to nominate Dr. Linda Cornett, Associate Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department, for the 2013 Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching award.
A dedicated faculty member at UNC Asheville for the past sixteen years, Dr. Cornett brings exceptional passion, skill, and energy to her teaching, and inspires the same in her students. Dr. Cornett uses a variety of media such as first-person narratives, movies, fiction, raw data, and academic articles in her classes, requiring her students to approach subject matter from many different perspectives. Dr. Cornett's course designs are fearless and creative, extending into multiple departments and programs such as Humanities and International Studies. In her home department of Political Science, Dr. Cornett has developed and taught courses ranging from European Politics to Model International Criminal Court. Dr. Cornett looks far beyond the bricks and mortar of ordinary instructional settings, taking students to faraway locales where they gain experience and knowledge not possible to replicate in a traditional classroom. Her classes have taken place in countries such as Honduras, Mexico, and The United Arab Emirates. She is unfazed by the logistical challenges of overseeing a large group of undergraduate students in a foreign country which include coordinating housing, meals, passport and visa requirements, medical provisions, and other factors; she does these things while still delivering rigorous academic content.
Praise for Dr. Cornett's energy and skill in teaching comes from numerous sources. A fellow professor in Political Science writes that Dr. Cornett "is the strongest proponent of undergraduate education" in their department, while another colleague comments on her ability to "use current events as raw material ... [to] guide student [discovery] ... [that allows] them to get past the superficial to the fundamental dynamics underlying a phenomenon." One recently graduated student, who received the prestigious Manly E. Wright award as the top academic performer in her graduating class, credits Dr. Cornett with helping her conceive and develop the World Affairs Club, a student organization that still exists at UNC Asheville seven years later. Another former student, now a PhD candidate at the University of Rochester, describes Dr. Cornett as "an exceptionally warm and generous human being... who has incredibly high expectations for her students and works tirelessly to see that students succeed."
Dr. Cornett is a dedicated mentor of undergraduate research projects, guiding students in presentations regarding political and economic trends in Latin American countries. Dr. Cornett's teaching represents the true spirit of liberal arts instruction by challenging her students to discover the value of crossing many physical and intellectual borders and learning as much as possible about the world beyond those boundaries.
Dr. Cornett received two advanced degrees in Political Science from the University of Washington, earning the PhD in 2000 and MA in 1990. She received her BA in Political Science from Transylvania University.