Tabitha M. Benney

Curriculum Vitae Biosketch

Tabitha M. Benney portrait
  • Assistant Professor, Political Science Department
  • Affiliated Faculty, University of Utah, Center for Global Change and Sustainability
  • Affiliated Faculty, Environmental and Sustainability Studies, University of Utah

Teaching

Current Courses

Fall 2017

  • LAS 6970-001 Thesis Research
  • LAS 6975-001 Independent Study
  • POLS 5710-001 Intro to IPE
    Location: UNION 323 (A Ray Olpin Union Bg)
  • POLS 6710-001 Intro to IPE
    Location: UNION 323 (A Ray Olpin Union Bg)
  • POLS 6850-001 Field Sem Intntl Rel
    Location: BLDG 73 106 (BLDG 73)
  • POLS 7970-020 Thesis Research-PhD

Spring 2017

Teaching Philosophy

I was fortunate to begin developing my teaching philosophy as a student in the Certificate in College and University Teaching (CCUT) program, an extensive teaching certification program I attended while in graduate school at UCSB.  Through this experience, I have come to value intellectual exchange (in its many forms) as my toolbox for teaching and learning.  To encourage interaction, I often experiment with a variety of learning approaches and materials.  The ability to relate to students, even if on the most basic of levels, helps build an invaluable rapport in the classroom; cultivating personal chemistry facilitates better classroom discussions and improves performance.  Perhaps most importantly, forming a positive working relationship with a class creates an environment in which students feel comfortable in taking risks, both in their writing and in their contributions to discussions.

There are four primary ways in which I structure a class in order to foster my student learning goals.  First, I typically have students write a comprehensive research paper that requires them to think through the concepts they have learned in class and to evaluate how and when certain tools or techniques should be applied to a given problem.  Second, I use case studies in class when appropriate so that students can see how various actors have addressed specific types of problems and the trade-offs they faced in using that approach.  Third, I encourage students to learn how to communicate effectively through writing, oral communication, and group activities.  These are skills that all professionals need and students at the university level should have the ability to use a variety of communication styles.  Finally, I also try to use my own professional and research experiences to inform my teaching.  Over the course of my career, I have lived and worked on real policy issues in over 20 countries.  This real life experience is invaluable and enables me to bring stories, research, and data from my work into the classroom.  This allows students to see how academic research can be brought into an applied setting and how it can inform the political and policy process.  This in turn fosters greater interest, comprehension, and attendance from my students.  In these various ways, teaching allows me to never stop learning, and these experiences continue to guide my personal teaching philosophy.

Courses I Teach

  • POLS 2100 - Introduction to International Relations.
    The main goal of this course is to introduce students to the field of international relations. This course is introductory and was designed for students with no previous background in the study of international relations. Topics include the determinants of state power and the conditions that foster conflict and cooperation in international politics. This course counts towards the certificate in International Relations.
  • POLS 5310 - The Politics of Sustainable Dev in Costa Rica.
    This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of sustainable development and draws upon the most recent developments in economics, politics, and sociology. It describes the complex interactions between the world economy and the Earth's physical environment, and addresses issues of environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive development. As one of the most prominent examples of successful sustainable development, Costa Rica will be used as our case for this course. Students will gain a broad overview of the key challenges and potential solutions to achieve development in the 21st century.
  • POLS 5322 - Environmental and Sustainability Policy.
    This course is organized into four parts. In Part I, students will be introduced to the history and political timeline of modern environmental politics. An overview of common problems associated with environmental politics will also be explored. In Part II, students will be introduced to the actors and issues that dominate the domestic environmental policy arena. Similarly, Part III explores key actors and issues faced in the international environmental policy arena. In the final section of the course, students will explore a variety of environmental regimes, including global warming, nuclear waste, deforestation, and chemical pollution. The goal here is to consider the opportunities and obstacles regimes face. Arguments focusing on population, economic development, income inequality, and consumption rates will be discussed and analyzed with respect to their role in environmental degradation.
  • POLS 5710 - International Political Economy.
    The main goal of this course is to introduce students to the field of international political economy. This course is introductory and was designed for students with no previous background in the field. The focus of this course is on the politics of international economic relations, which has an International Relations designation. Alternative analytical and theoretical perspectives will be examined for their value in helping to understand and evaluate the historical development and current operation of the world economy.
  • POLS 5750 - The Rise of Global Capitalism.
    The goal of this course is to understand the historical and political impacts of global capitalism. This course will assess the rise of capitalism and the global capitalist system over the last two hundred years through the interplay between events, economic theories and government policies. To fully understand this phenomenon, the course is divided into three sections. We begin by exploring the historical, political and social impacts of the Industrial Revolution. Next, the course investigates the rise of the modern capitalist system and the issues, actors and institutions that enable its global impact today. The final section of this course focuses on the field of Comparative Capitalism and the geopolitical implications that result from varying forms of capitalism. Here, the emphasis is placed on the similar and dissimilar ways political forces influence the structure and process of industrial development in the countries studied.
  • POLS 6322 - Environmental and Sustainability Policy.
    This course is organized into four parts. In Part I, students will be introduced to the history and political timeline of modern environmental politics. An overview of common problems associated with environmental politics will also be explored. In Part II, students will be introduced to the actors and issues that dominate the domestic environmental policy arena. Similarly, Part III explores key actors and issues faced in the international environmental policy arena. In the final section of the course, students will explore a variety of environmental regimes, including global warming, nuclear waste, deforestation, and chemical pollution. The goal here is to consider the opportunities and obstacles regimes face. Arguments focusing on population, economic development, income inequality, and consumption rates will be discussed and analyzed with respect to their role in environmental degradation.
  • POLS 6710 - International Political Economy.
    This seminar is intended to provide a systematic introduction to the political economy of international relations. Readings and writing assignments are designed to explore the usefulness of alternative analytical and theoretical perspectives in addressing the central questions of actor behavior and system governance in the world economy. The aim throughout the course is to encourage students to read and think critically when addressing the literature of International Political Economy.
  • POLS 6750 - The Rise of Global Capitalism.
    The goal of this course is to understand the historical and political impacts of global capitalism. This course will assess the rise of capitalism and the global capitalist system over the last two hundred years through the interplay between events, economic theories and government policies. To fully understand this phenomenon, the course is divided into three sections. We begin by exploring the historical, political and social impacts of the Industrial Revolution. Next, the course investigates the rise of the modern capitalist system and the issues, actors and institutions that enable its global impact today. The final section of this course focuses on the field of Comparative Capitalism and the geopolitical implications that result from varying forms of capitalism. Here, the emphasis is placed on the similar and dissimilar ways political forces influence the structure and process of industrial development in the countries studied.
  • POLS 7004 - Research Methods and Design.
    This course is a graduate level introduction to the formal process of systematic political research and research design. “Research design” is about proposing research projects that are significant and feasible and that will produce contributions to ongoing scholarly conversations. We will focus on the research process (i.e., formulating a research question, assessing the current state of knowledge, identifying the appropriate research design, hypothesizing, operationalization of concepts, and data collection) and data analysis and testing. Through example and application, students will develop a working knowledge of basic research strategies and applications.

Teaching Projects

  • Women In Politics: Supporting Female Graduate Students in PS. Project Lead: Tabitha Benney. Collaborators: Lina Svedin. CSBS Dean, Scholars Strategy Network, Department of Political Science 07/01/2015 - 06/30/2017. Total Budget: $500.00.
  • Study Abroad Program Development in Costa Rica. Project Lead: Jennifer Watt. 01/15/2015 - 05/31/2016.
  • Women in Political Science Mentoring Project . Project Lead: Tabitha Benney. University of Utah 10/22/2014 - 06/30/2015. Total Budget: $3,000.00.