Scott Waalkes, professor of international politics, has been teaching at Malone since 1998. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Calvin College before completing his master’s and Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. Get to know this soccer-loving professor known for his unique laugh.
Aviso: What’s your favorite aspect of teaching at Malone?
Waalkes: The students. They keep me fresh. Trying to communicate with each new generation of students is this constantly invigorating challenge. Now we’ve got the Millennial generation that’s grown up with social media and the internet, so how do I relate when I can remember a day when there was no internet. It keeps me on my toes.
Aviso: How did you end up at Malone?
Waalkes: It was the only tenure-track job offer I received when I applied in 1998. I applied for the position, got the interview, and had a wonderful and great time. I’ve been here ever since.
Aviso: What’s the most beautiful place you’ve been?
Waalkes: Italy. Italy is amazing. The beauty of everyday life is woven into life there. It’s the natural beauty and the historical beauty. It’s not just one. People value beauty in everyday life, so buildings are constructed with aesthetics in mind. Wherever you turn, it seems like you’re surrounded by beauty.
Aviso: Who is your favorite soccer team?
Waalkes: I really like the US Men’s national team. That’s my favorite team to watch. I also like Arsenal and Liverpool in England.
Aviso: Tell me about your family.
Waalkes: I have a wife, Michelle, and we’ve been married almost 25 years. We have three kids. A son, 23, and two daughters, 20 and 19.
Aviso: If you could be any political leader from history, who would you be and why?
Waalkes: That’s tough. That’s like asking me which kid is my favorite kid. Harry Truman is really interesting given the time he was president right at the beginning of the Cold War. He is our last president to have only a high school education. He was widely hated at the time, but 50 years later, historians boosted his reputation. I’d rather be hated at the time and appreciated later for doing the right thing. I respect that.
Aviso: What is something students would be surprised to learn about you?
Waalkes: I had a very large beer can collection when I was a child. They were kind of popular things. I had a display case. I had over a 100 different ones, and I had some really obscure ones.