Illinois Wesleyan political science professor Kathleen Montgomery was recognized for her excellence in teaching at the Honors Convocation. Nominated by the faculty, Montgomery was named the 2015 recipient of the Kemp Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence.
“I was surprised and gratified to be chosen for the Kemp Award. Illinois Wesleyan has a talented and dedicated faculty, so to be selected from that pool is a genuine honor,” said Montgomery.
Montgomery teaches courses in comparative politics with an emphasis on post-communist Europe, advanced democracies, comparative method and women and politics. Provost and Dean of the Faculty Jonathan Green quoted one of her nominators in the presentation of the award saying Montgomery’s contributions “are not only in her area of expertise. She also effectively contributes to general education by regularly delivering some of the most exciting Gateway Colloquium on our campus.”
Twice named Student Senate Professor of the Year, Montgomery acknowledges the difference of the Kemp award, “The people I’m going up against are doing the same work that I am doing— professional peers and friends I respect deeply. I think that’s what makes the Kemp such an honor.”
The nomination and selection process for the Kemp award involves faculty peers who assess the impact of candidates as fellow professionals: how they innovate in the curriculum, participate in programs like Gateway, engage in faculty-student research collaboration and more generally contribute to the campus intellectual and collegial environment.
“Professor Montgomery is one of the most brilliant and enthusiastic professors I’ve had at IWU. I’ve likely learned more in one semester of her course than I have in most of my time here,” said junior Lisa Mishra. “I’ve never regretted missing a class quite as much as I have with her—she really makes you love learning.”
Outside of teaching Montgomery also is a frequent reviewer of academic journals and has published her own work. Montgomery’s current research interests focus on populist radical right-wing parties in Europe. Montgomery’s publication, Women’s Access to Political Power in Post-Communist Europe, co-edited with Richard Matland, is widely cited in the academic literature and used in graduate courses at the Central European University in Budapest.
Montgomery’s most recent project is a student-faculty research collaboration with senior Political Science major Ryan Winter, which was made possible by an Eckley Summer Fellowship.
“Ryan is finishing his research on Christian Religiosity and Voting for Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe through an Independent Study this semester,” said Montgomery. “The plan is to work that paper up for co-publication at the journal Religion and Politics. Fingers crossed!” The project emerged from a 300-level seminar on populism that Ryan took last year.
Montgomery has an article under review at the journal Patterns of Prejudice on the rise of the Hungarian far right party, Jobbik. “I’m currently trying to knock out a set of revisions on a gender politics paper with my Hungarian co-author, Gabriella Ilonszki, but it is slow going in the season of term paper grading!” said Montgomery.