International Relations

international relations group

If you want to be globally aware, debate pressing issues such as war, disease, diplomacy, poverty, human rights and trade, and prepare yourself for a career overseas or with any number of government or international organizations, then international relations may be the major for you. Majoring in international relations will position you competitively for work in the foreign service, non-governmental and international advocacy organizations, and environmental and humanitarian agencies.  Our program will teach you to grapple successfully with complex global issues and international challenges in an increasingly interdependent world, training you for responsible global citizenship and international engagement.

The international relations major at Saint Michael's is built on small classes, extensive student-faculty interaction, and close mentoring and guidance by faculty who are leading scholars in their field. The program includes learning and co-curricular opportunities specifically designed to enhance the international content of your education, including semester and short-term study abroad, international internships, service learning and civic engagement projects, and leadership in student clubs and service organizations devoted to international citizenship.

The international relations major has six components:

  • Three core courses - Introduction to International Relations, Introduction to Comparative Politics, and either Introduction to American Government or European Political Thought
  • Four international relations electives in political science, including American Foreign Policy or Politics of the World Economy
  • Four breadth or area courses drawn from anthropology, business, economics, geography, history, humanities, religious studies, or sociology
  • Two research or integrative courses - Research Methods and Senior Seminar
  • Four semesters of a foreign language
  • An international relations experiential learning practicum

Jeffrey Ayres, PhD

Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College
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Founders Hall 105
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B.A. University of Virginia
M.A. and Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Areas of Expertise:

Globalization, Global and Regional Governance, International Relations, Social Movements and Contentious Politics, Canadian and North American Politics

Courses I Teach:

  • Globalization and Resistance
  • Global Governance
  • Global Problems
  • International Relations
  • Politics of the World Economy
  • Social Movements and Contentious Politics
  • U.S. Foreign Policy

Michael Bosia, PhD

Associate Professor of Political Science
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M.A., Ph.D. Northwestern University
B.A. California State University

Courses I Teach:

  • Democratic Transitions
  • Film and Politics
  • France and Empire
  • Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • State Violence and Justice
  • The Politics of Food
  • Comparative European Politics
  • Comparative Politics of Oppression

My Saint Michael's:

Staying focused on the ethics of political action keeps me grounded in events, and working on campus and in the classroom helps me evaluate my research, assess my writing, and share my interests.  Teaching brings my research and professional experience into conversation with students as they develop their own sense of ethics and knowledge. Before starting doctoral studies, I was a staff director in the California State Senate working with communities affected by HIV/AIDS, which drove my interest in marginalization, social movements, and the state. At Saint Michael's, I have worked with faculty, staff, and students to bring speakers to campus addressing human rights, LGBT politics, gender identity, international development, food politics, political violence, and democratic process in important contexts around the world.  I am currently co-adviser for Common Ground, our LGBTQI and Ally student organization

I am interested in politics at the intersection of global and  local, especially where grassroots movements connect with and contest the nation-state. This includes activism addressing issues of identity, like race, gender, and sexuality, questions of marginalization and citizenship, and processes of community building and participation, such as those evident in responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and more recently in the new politics of food.  These concerns touch on theories of democratic practice, postcolonial politics, economic and political reform, and political accountability.  As well, they are specifically linked to the ethical nature of politics, and the role of culture, myths, and stories in social action.  I have conducted field research in France, Uganda, and Egypt, and travelled to India, Ecuador, Argentina, Spain, and Cuba as part of my educational responsibilities.  I am active in both the American Political Science Association and the International Studies Association where I have organized panels of scholarly research and roundtables on topics important to the profession.  I have served as Program Chair and President of the Organized Section on Sexuality and Politics at APSA.  I also speak frequently in the community and on campuses about LGBT politics, state homophobia, and the politics of food, in particular, the emerging food system in rural Vermont, where I lived for 10 years and was a co-founder of Claire's Restaurant and Bar.

Mauro Caraccioli, Ph.D.

Visiting Instructor of International Relations
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Saint Edmund's Hall 131
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B.A., Florida International University
M.A., Florida International University
Ph.D, University of Florida

Areas of Expertise:

Political Theories of Empire and Nature
History of International Political Thought
International Environmental Relations
Latin American Politics

Courses I Teach:

Introduction to International Relations
American Foreign Policy
Politics of the World Economy
Global Environmental Politics
International Environmental Ethics


William Grover, PhD

Professor of Political Science
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Saint Edmund's Hall 344
Box 214
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Ph.D. University of Massachusetts
B.A. Moravian College

Areas of Expertise:

American politics, Political Institutions, Political Economy, Environmental Politics

Courses I Teach:

  • The American Presidency
  • Congress and the Policy Process
  • Introduction to American National Politics
  • Introduction to Politics
  • Political Economy and Democracy
  • Political Economy and the Environment
  • The Politics of Labor
  • A River Runs Through It: The Literature and Craft of Fly Fishing (First Year Seminar)

John Hughes, PhD

Professor of Political Science

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Saint Edmund's Hall 346
Box 164
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M.A., Ph.D. New School for Social Research
B.A. William Paterson College of New Jersey

Areas of Expertise:

American Constitutionalism, criminal justice, international terrorism

Courses I Teach:

  • American Constitutional Law
  • American National Politics
  • Civil Liberties
  • Criminal Justice
  • Senior Seminar: War on Terrorism, Capital Punishment

Joseph Kroger, PhD

Professor of Religious Studies
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Ph.D. McMaster University
M.A. St. Louis University
B. A. University of Dayton

Areas of Expertise and Scholarly Interests:

Christianity’s encounter and dialogue with other cultures and religions; Christianity in Latin America, specifically Liberation Theology in Central America and Catholic Christianity in Mexico; Mesoamerican culture and religion; Philosophical foundations of Hinduism and Buddhism, Michael Polanyi’s Thought on Science and Religion.

Courses I Teach:

  • Aztec Goddesses and Christian Madonnas of Mexico
  • Buddhist Religious Thought
  • Christianity and World Religions in Dialogue
  • Hindu Religious Thought
  • Liberation Theology
  • Varieties of Christianity

Richard Kujawa, PhD

Economics Department Chair, Human Geography Minor Coordinator, Professor of Geography

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Saint Edmund's Hall 359
Box 144
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M.A., Ph.D. University of Iowa
B.Sc. Brunel University, London

Courses I Teach:

  • Introduction to Human Geography
  • Urban Geography
  • Political Geography
  • Economic Geography
  • The Geography of Water
  • Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Studies
  • Urban and Regional Planning

My Saint Michael's:

In my classes, advising and in the human geography program, one-on-one contact is encouraged. I encourage students to present their findings to external audiences and professional conferences. I help students with graduate school applications (especially those in Urban and Regional Planning). In the past few years, I have helped Saint Michael's graduates successfully apply to Cornell, Rutgers, SUNY-Albany, Kansas State University, the University of Iowa and several others. I also have some connections for internships in the local area.

Hands down, my favorite thing about this college is the class sizes. At Saint Mike's I am able to shorten the distance between my role as faculty member and expert, and my role as motivator and mentor. I see part of my job as a salesperson for the power of intellectual growth and lifelong learning. I work hard each and every day to make the sale!

Adrie Kusserow, PhD

Professor of Anthropology

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Saint Edmund's Hall 237
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Ph.D. Harvard University (Anthropology)
M.T.S. Harvard Divinity School (Tibetan Buddhism)
B.A. Amherst College, Phi Beta Kappa

Areas of Expertise:

Medical and Psychiatric Anthropology, Refugees, Globalization and Poverty, Modern Day Slavery, Anthropology of Refugees, Anthropology of Religion, Social Class in America, Anthropology of Global Media

Courses I Teach:

  • Culture Illness and Healing
  • Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking
  • Refugees
  • Social Inequalities


I am a cultural anthropologist with special interests in refugees, social inequalities, poverty, anthropology of religion, culture, illness and healing, social class, ethnographic poetry and anthropology of the child. I strongly encourage both service work and community engaged learning to be an integral part of my anthropology classes. I am also a strong proponent of study abroad and have taken students to Sudan, Uganda and Bhutan.

Robert Letovsky, PhD

Professor of Business Administration and Accounting

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Jeanmarie Hall 149
Box 273
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Ph.D. Concordia University
M.B.A. University of Toronto
B.Comm. McGill University

Areas of Expertise:

Case development focusing on business/government relations and sustainability

Courses I Teach:

  • Business Policy & Strategic Management
  • International Business
  • International Marketing
  • Marketing

My favorite class to teach is International Business because it focuses on the nexus between business and public policy. The course gives students an opportunity to see the connections between the right kinds of public policy and economic development, and the wrong kinds of public policy and economic hardship. The course also focuses on the global trading system and is the gateway for students to understand the role that free trade and open markets has played in reducing poverty and promoting economic progress.

Diego Mattos-Vazualdo, PhD

Assistant Professor of Modern Languages: Spanish

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Klein Hall 104
Box 351
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PhD in Latin American Cultures and Literatures, The Ohio State University
Licenciatura in Latin American Literature, UMSA, La Paz, Bolivia

I am from La Paz, Bolivia. I joined Saint Michael's College in the fall of 2010 after having spent five years in Columbus, Ohio, studying and teaching at The Ohio State University.

Areas of Expertise:

Latin American Literatures and Cultures; Latin American Cultural Studies, Indigenous and Colonial Cultures of Latin America, Globalization Studies, Theater and Film

Courses I Teach:

  • Beginning and Intermediate Spanish
  • Advanced Grammar and Composition
  • National Culture and Identity in Latin America: Myth and Continuities
  • Latin American Testimonial and Autobiographical Narratives
  • Latin American Poetry: Masters of the Word: Maestros de la palabra
  • Globalization and Latin America

Shefali Misra, PhD

Assistant Professor of Political Science

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Saint Edmund's Hall 351
Box 151
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Ph.D. Brandeis University
M.A. Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
B.A. University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India; ;

I joined Saint Michael's as an assistant professor of political science beginning with the Fall 2009 semester. I was formerly a financial and political journalist for four English-language national dailies in New Delhi, India, for 11 years. In that role I covered several ministerial meetings of the World Trade Organization in Singapore, Geneva and Seattle, and spent two years reporting for home newspapers from London, Brussels, Geneva, Berlin, Bonn, Paris, and Singapore.

I was visiting assistant professor of political theory at Oberlin College for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Courses I Teach:

  • Introduction to Politics
  • Senior Seminar on Multiculturalism in Theory and Practice
  • Western Political Thought

Tara Natarajan, PhD

Associate Professor of Economics

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Saint Edmund's Hall 355
Box 234
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Ph.D. University of Nebraska at Lincoln
M.A. University of Bombay, India
B.A. Sophia College, India

Areas of Expertise:

Applied research on development and poverty: food, agrarian change, capitalist transformation, development activism in India.

Courses I Teach:

  • Development Economics
  • History of Economic Thought and Policy
  • Microeconomic Theory
  • Senior Seminar
  • World Economies

My Saint Michael's:

I like the fact that my students and I have a truly meaningful student-teacher relationship. They know me and I know them. Our college engenders mentoring as an ethos which when combined with manageable class sizes, makes it really possible for me to contact students personally and let them know that I care, not only about their understanding of the subject but also their well-being as a person through their educational experience.

After 10 years of being a faculty member here, I have realized how much this connection with students, matters to me. The kind of personal investment we make in each one of our students is a mutually reinforcing process between students, faculty and all those who are connected with students outside of classes as well, all of which is embedded in our evolving institutional ethos and collective values.

Patricia Siplon, PhD

Professor of Political Science
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Saint Edmund's Hall 347
Box 372
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Ph.D. Brandeis University
B.S., M.S. Utah State University

Areas of Expertise:

HIV/AIDS; health policy in developing countries; U.S. domestic and international health policy and foreign aid policy; sub-Saharan Africa (particularly Tanzania). : I am a long-time AIDS scholar and activist and I am the faculty adviser to Saint Michael's chapter of the Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC).

Courses I Teach:

  • Introduction to American National Politics
  • Research Methods
  • Global Politics of the AIDS Pandemic
  • First Year Seminar: Global Studies
  • Intro to Public Policy; HIV/AIDS in East Africa
  • Parties, Elections and Political Participation
  • Senior Seminar: African Politics
  • US Health Policy

My Saint Michael's:

People here take the mission of the college seriously. We sometimes debate the meaning of the mission, but even that suggests to me that we care about what it means and how we make it come to life on campus. Saint Michael's College has been very supportive of my attempts to integrate my teaching, scholarship and service into everything I do. I feel like I have the opportunity to build on the great work of others who have been here longer than me and who have been working on social justice in and outside of the classroom for many years. I also appreciate the chance to work intensively with students who are interested in going beyond the material taught in a class to do service and experiential learning, as well as research and advocacy work.

I like to think that many of the students in my classes and in political science generally are there because they want to help improve the world, and they're interested in learning the tools for doing that. I appreciate that so many of them are open to new ideas and growth opportunities while they are here.

My favorite course to teach is PO 351-- Politics of the Global AIDS Pandemic. This course lets me combine my strongest interests as a teacher, a researcher and an activist. It draws students from all kinds of majors, and gives us all an opportunity to have an extended, semester-long conversation about a critical global problem, and what we plan to do about it.

I think that both PO 351-- Global Politics of AIDS and PO 352-- HIV/AIDS in East Africa are pretty unique opportunities for students. Both allow students to look at a very important issue in depth, and both give students opportunities to put their knowledge into action through advocacy and service learning. PO 351 is a prerequisite for PO 352, which actually takes students to East Africa for a 2-3 week period. I have also done many independent study and independent research projects with students who got interested through these classes and wanted to keep going.

Peter Vantine, PhD

Assistant Professor of Modern Languages: French

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Klein Hall 114
Box 227
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M.A., Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison
DEA Université de Genève (Switzerland)
B.A. Amherst College

I joined Saint Michael's College in the Fall 2011 semester.  I have taught at The University of Saint Thomas (MN), Macalester College (MN), and Indiana University.  I have lived in Paris and Dijon, France, as well as in Geneva, Switzerland.  Among other scholarly projects, I am working on a book tentatively titled Entre fantaisie et réalisme: texte, contexte et métatexte dans les premiers romans et les nouvelles des frères Goncourt (Between Fantasy and Realism: Text, Context, and Metatext in the Early Novels and Stories of the Goncourt Brothers).

Areas of Expertise:

Nineteenth-century French literature (poetry, theater, novels) and culture, particularly print and visual culture.

Courses I Teach:

Beginning, intermediate, and advanced language, culture, and literature courses in French and Francophone Studies

Current semester:

  • Advanced Conversation
    Fourth-Semester French
  • Topics in French Literature (The Nineteenth-Century French Novel)


Having myself chosen to attend a small liberal-arts college as an undergraduate, I believe deeply in the value of a closely-knit academic community in which professors are wholly engaged in the life of the college, and in which learning thrives within and beyond the walls of the classroom. In addition to helping students acquire concrete language skills and analytical abilities at all course levels, I strive to share my enthusiasm for and insights about French language, culture, and literature. 

While my research on nineteenth-century French literature always informs my courses on that particular historical period, more generally my scholarly endeavors feed my own intellectual curiosity, passion, and critical judgment, which I then hope to inspire in my students. Futhermore, I attempt to remain up to date with work on foreign language acquistion and pedagogy, while also sharing my own experiences with colleagues both informally and at conferences.  I believe that excellent teaching is always a work in progress, a constant process of renewing, reworking, and refining one's practices.  Students, in turn, are not only the targets of such efforts but are also sources of invaluable feedback about how to improve them.

International relations majors must complete an international-themed practicum: a semester abroad or faculty-led study away experience, an internship at an agency such as the Vermont Council on World Affairs or Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, or an alternative experiential learning activity such as a MOVE international service trip.

Study Abroad

International relations majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad either for a full semester or a short term study trip.  Recent short-term study trips led by political science faculty have included the annual Parliamentary field trips to Ottawa, Canada; a summer academic study tour to Navdanya's Farm, an organic training center in the city of Dehradun, India; and multiple service trips to the Ilula Orphan Center in Tanzania.


Academic internships allow students to earn academic credit and gain essential vocational and career experiences each semester in non-profit organizations and government agencies.  Local organizations supporting international relations internships include the Vermont Council on World Affairs and Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program. 

Student-Faculty Research

Saint Michael's encourages students to pursue independent research and there are many opportunities for close student-faculty research collaboration and mentoring.

You will find Saint Michael's alumni working at the State Department as a foreign service officer (Michelle Kayser, '08), the Peace Corps in Guatemala (Alyssa Malone, '12), international fair trade advocacy (Andrew Driscoll, '09), as well as in the U.S. Senate (Senator Patrick Leahy, '61). 

Careers for international relations graduates include:

  • U.S. State Department Foreign Service
  • International aid agencies
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • United Nations
  • Research and think tanks
  • International business, education and journalism

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