Edelstein Embraces New Role as Faculty Chair
Associate professor David Edelstein didn’t get into SFS as an undergrad, although he’s not holding any grudges. “I was fortunate enough to get a job at a school that I was really excited about in a city that I was happy to live in. It worked out and I’m very happy that it did,” says Edelstein, the newly elected chair of the School of Foreign Service faculty.
It's an exciting time to think about new things.
Equivalent to a department chair, the faculty chair is responsible for general issues related to the faculty and serving as the faculty’s voice to the School. While this requires some administrative work – conducting merit reviews and hiring new faculty, for example – there are also broader responsibilities that include involvement in strategic SFS planning.
“There are no major curriculum changes in the school without faculty. The faculty is heavily invested in this place. We care a lot about the direction where it goes,” Edelstein says.
Edelstein’s own passion for teaching comes from his long-time interest in international security and foreign policy. As a child, he watched the news when he was home alone to combat a quiet house. It wasn’t long before he started bringing up the topics at the dinner table – not something you’d expect from the average eight-year-old. “There was something about the news that always fascinated me,” Edelstein says.
Introduction to International Relations has been Edelstein’s favorite class to teach; he notices right away how many students arrive on the Hilltop precisely because they want to take classes in international relations. “It makes a big difference that they want to be there and want to learn,” says Edelstein, who has been at Georgetown for eight years.
Edelstein’s most recent book is Occupational Hazards: Success and Failure in Military Occupation. He’s researching the issue of military exit strategies and working on a book about the time horizons of political leaders and security issues. But for now he’s mostly focusing on teaching and learning the ropes of the faculty chair position. “It’s been a challenge. It’s a really interesting time to be in this job. Almost everybody in the Dean’s Office is new in their roles or their jobs. It’s sort of an exciting time to think about new things, and we’re not wedded to the ways things were in the past,” Edelstein says.
Edelstein can often be found cooking, eating out or watching sports – probably a Philadelphia team.