Faculty Spotlight

November Faculty Spotlight with Substitute Instructor, Joselyn Muhleisen

November 15 Faculty Spotlight

Joselyn Muhleisen is a political scientist with research interests in international organization, the European Union, regulatory regimes and more. She is also a multilingual world traveler. Undoubtedly, her research, expertise and approach to the world aligns with the Baruch College School of Public Affairs theory-meet-practice approach. She tells us about what drew her to the School, her divergent roles of student and teacher, and how her language skills have surprised bilingual students.

You're a world traveler and can speak five languages in varying levels of proficiency. How does a global view help you teach your students?
Since our Baruch students are incredibly "global" themselves, both in terms of their origins and their interests, I could not imagine teaching them proficiently without a global perspective. Specifically, I think it helps me make apt comparisons and draw from a wide range of examples. I connect my research and experience to the classroom by comparing elements of the US political and policy process to those of the European Union (EU).

My language skills also mean that sometimes when my students are trying to covertly speak in another language about me or the class, I can surprise them by responding to them in that language; their reactions are priceless.

You've worked at numerous CUNY institutions over the past 5 years. What drew you to Baruch College, and more specifically, the School of Public Affairs?
The School of Public Affairs has such a unique place at Baruch College and within CUNY. I'm drawn because my fellow faculty members are from diverse disciplines, some are even practitioners, and because the coursework and scholarship at the School focus on real world issues and empirical knowledge. This contrasts sharply with other schools and departments that focus more on theoretical approaches to problems, which is generally less messy and substantially less appealing to me.

I am also a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs (BSPA) alumna which gives me an added stake in the success of our students and, I hope, a unique perspective.

In contrast to some of their peers at private institutions, most Baruch students are motivated to achieve things in their lives and are not sitting around waiting for someone to hand them a job or an internship; I would rather spend my time working with a motivated, "hungry" student body than an entitled, complacent student body.

What research do you hope to accomplish in the coming years?
Currently, my primary research goal is completing my dissertation which is about the nature of EU-US cooperation in international financial regulation before and after the financial crisis of 2008. The next related project I would like to work on is about regulation through trade and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

What is it like to occupy the simultaneous roles of doctoral student and Substitute Instructor?
On one hand, it is difficult to serve as a full-time faculty member and find time to finish my dissertation; most of my classmates writing their dissertations almost go into hiding for one to two years and just research and write.

But on the other hand it keeps me motivated. Last year I served as a co-advisor for an undergraduate honors thesis student and I found that the advice I was giving my advisee was relevant to my own dissertation process.

My colleagues at the School of Public Affairs are also very encouraging and generous with their offers to help me in any way they can. I have about 50 mentors!