Faculty Profile

Patricia Siplon, PhD

Professor of Political Science
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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.

I do research on HIV/AIDS, particularly in East Africa. In recent years, I have had six opportunities to take students or alumni with me to East Africa or other developing countries to do research and/or service work. My students benefit from the real-life examples I bring in to classes on research methods and American government, especially foreign policy and its impacts. My academic background is also enhanced by my involvement with two national AIDS advocacy organizations: Health GAP, based in New York City, and Global Justice, based in Washington, DC. I serve on the board of directors for both organizations, and am the board's co-chair for Global Justice.

I am co-author of The Global Politics of AIDS (Lynne Rienner Publishers, February 2007). I am also co-author of Drugs into Bodies: Global AIDS Treatment Activism (Praeger, 2006).

I was awarded a Fulbright award to Jordan from the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, a 12-member Presidentially appointed board, funded by the U.S. Congress. I am teaching for a  full year in the University of Jordan's American Studies Program in 2011-2012. I had a prior Fulbright in Tanzania in 2005, to pursue my research interests.

Life Off Campus:

I enjoy international travel, ice skating and hiking.

Favorite Quote:

"Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." - George Bernard Shaw

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