In the spotlight: Sean Duffy looks to bring meaning to students

Melissa Scagliola

Following the completion of his master’s degree, Sean Duffy, assistant professor of political science, worked in Washington, D.C. It was during this time that he had a discussion with his father about how he wanted a job to not only be his job, but to be his life.
At Quinnipiac, Duffy has found more than just a 9-5 job. He found a job that has become a part of his life and has meaning for both him and the students he helps to educate.
Duffy has been a full-time professor at Quinnipiac University since 1998. He liked Quinnipiac’s focus on teaching and the amount of contact he would have with students. Quinnipiac was a growing college and the political science department was new.
Duffy says he liked joining a growing institution where he could help shape the direction it took as it grew. He continues to enjoy teaching in a small department, but does admit he would like to see it grow larger. He enjoys teaching a variety of political science classes rather than specializing in one or two courses, as he would have to do in a larger department.
Like other professors, Duffy has objectives for students. He would like students to get the most out of their Quinnipiac education and be prepared for the world outside of college.
“I want students to be excited about the world, and I want them to be able to make informed decisions,” he said. “I would like them to have the self-confidence and knowledge to be leaders.”
Another role Duffy takes at Quinnipiac is serving on the Core Curriculum Committee of the Faculty Senate. The Core Curriculum Committee is looking into the part of the Quinnipiac curriculum that makes up the credits students take outside their majors.
Students currently take a core curriculum of 50 credits that include EN101, EN102 and MA117, and an additional distribution among five traditions: Humanistic, Artistic, Social and Behavioral, Scientific and Economic and Managerial.
The Committee is examining what can be done to make a Quinnipiac education even more meaningful outside of a student’s major, Duffy said.
The core curriculum will be restructured to achieve what the faculty sets as its goals for what students should be and know when they leave Quinnipiac. The new core curriculum will be implemented in the fall of 2005.
Duffy received his bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 1984. While an undergraduate, Duffy admits to having been a reluctant political science major, but he enjoyed the major more once he took an interest in particular aspects.
He enjoyed theory but says he found some classes tedious, though he enjoyed learning and liked to travel. He stayed interested in political science as he learned more about other places and political systems.
After receiving his master’s degree in 1986 from John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Duffy worked in Washington, D.C. for three years with the Agency of International Development. He earned his doctorate from Yale University in 1997.
While Duffy is highly active with academics, he is also involved in bringing one of his outside interests to Quinnipiac students. Duffy has been active in the sport of rowing for over 20 years.
“I think it’s a great sport,” said Duffy. “I would love students to have the opportunity to row. This sport allows for 40-50 participants at a time, instead of only a few players on a team, and Rowing is good for learning focus and self-discipline.”
Duffy began by advising a group of students who wanted to start a rowing program. At Quinnipiac the activity is at the student club level now, but Duffy would like it to come off that model and eventually have the possibility of being a varsity sport.
For the future, Duffy has goals for both this university and himself. For Quinnipiac, Duffy would like the university to become better known for its excellence and its graduation of well-rounded people. For himself he is still looking to develop his own area of expertise in political science with that standing as his medium term goal.
With the effort and activity Duffy gives to Quinnipiac, his job looks more than just meaningful to him. Duffy also looks to bring more meaning to both programs and students here.