Dr. Edward Gimbel is a Political Science professor. He is in his third year teaching at UW-Whitewater.
What’s your educational background?
I got my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa- Major in Political Science and Minor in Philosophy. Then I got both my Master’s and my PhD in Political Science from the University of Minnesota.
What courses do you teach here?
I teach a couple sections of Global Perspectives, and then I teach most of the courses in Political Theory or Political Philosophy- Introduction to Political Theory and a series of historical courses, so Ancient and Medieval Political Thought, Modern Political Thought, Contemporary Political Thought, and then next semester I’m teaching American Political Thought.
What are your research interests?
Most of my research is in the Philosophy of Social Science, so I’m kind of interested in how the social sciences differ from the natural sciences. There’s a real tendency in the social sciences to try to be as much like the natural sciences as possible, but my approach as a political theorist tends to be in a different area, looking less at the quantifiable and more at the values and those sorts of things that are really essential to politics.
What inspired you to become a professor?
A couple things. I decided to go to grad school because I felt like there was more that I wanted to learn about Political Science. It was one of those things that I figured out as I proceeded through my major as an undergrad: the more that I learned, the more that I realized I didn’t know. In terms of pursuing a career as a teaching professor as opposed to just doing research or working in a think tank, it was mostly just the experience of having some really good professors that I enjoyed taking classes from as an undergrad. I really wanted to do what they did. I wanted to have the influence on student’s lives that they had on mine.
What do you like most about teaching?
I like being able to think about big issues and big topics that I’d be thinking about anyways, and to do it while engaging with younger people who are thinking about the same topics. It’s exciting to be able to talk to younger people and get some of their thoughts while sharing some of my background and knowledge; helping us have a little more informed population in general.
What do you like most about UW-Whitewater?
The size is great because there is a kind of sense of community. I like that there are so many faculty members who are so devoted to making it a really high quality teaching-centered kind of University. I’ve worked in a couple places that were much more focused on research, and teaching seemed like kind of an afterthought. That’s definitely not the case at Whitewater. We’re here first and foremost to teach people, and that’s why I got into higher education.
What are some of your interests outside of teaching?
I am interested in cycling, and getting outside in general, so road biking, mountain biking, hiking, that kind of stuff. I’m also interested in music, so I play guitar and couple of other instruments poorly but it’s fun.
Who’s your favorite artist/band?
I listen to a lot of stuff in a bunch of different genres. Lately I’ve been listening to Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.
What is something your students may be surprised to learn about you?
One of my favorite things to talk to students about that’s sort of surprising is that I actually started out my undergrad career as a Biomedical Engineering major. I came out of high school knowing that I was good at math and science, and engineering made sense. So I went that way and realized that I kind of hated it. I did a little searching around and found something that worked better for me. I think there’s something to be said for college being an opportunity to find yourself.
Who inspires you and why?
I find my mom really inspiring because she sacrificed a lot for my siblings and me. Having that example of someone who really devoted their life to making the lives of other people better and easier is something that I never tire of appreciating.