Hillsdale College pro­fessors and stu­dents for the Van Andel School of States­manship on March 25, 2019.
Dr. John Grant

Just as Aris­totle empha­sized ethics and strong lead­ership as nec­essary for com­mu­nities to prosper, so does the pol­itics department at Hillsdale College.

Asso­ciate Pro­fessor of Pol­itics John W. Grant took over as chairman of the pol­itics department this summer after teaching here since 2010. With prior admin­is­trative expe­rience at the Uni­versity of Dallas, Grant said he is enjoying his new role.

“I really like the stu­dents, I’ve got great col­leagues, and I think we have a mission that is noble and good,” he said.

Tonight, Grant will deliver a lecture titled “Con­serving Lib­er­alism? The Con­ser­v­ative Debate on Lib­er­alism and Foreign Policy” at 7 p.m. in Lane 236.

Grant has taught over 20 courses at Hillsdale, including American Foreign Policy and Modern Political Phi­losophy 1, as well as pol­itics elec­tives. He said he has enjoyed all the courses he has taught and is teaching, noting his War and Pol­itics: Post World War II as espe­cially enjoyable.

Senior and pol­itics major Luke Grzywacz has taken several courses with Grant and appre­ciates the professor’s vibrant teaching style.

“He’s the greatest, and his ‘Grant Rants’ are also fan­tastic,” he said.

Grzywacz said that Grant’s com­mentary on modern pol­itics that he weaves into the lesson on classic books helps develop his overall under­standing of pol­itics. Grzywacz has dubbed his dis­cussion of modern pol­itics as “Grant Rants.” The way he com­mu­ni­cates with and lec­tures to stu­dents is special, he said. He also likes to study under pro­fessors who connect current events to lec­tures.

Although Grant is extremely intel­ligent, Grzywacz said, a quality his lec­tures make obvious, his teaching style and demeanor make him very approachable.

“He’s a great choice to be pol­itics chair,” he said. “He’s very friendly and approachable, and I’m sure that carries over to his col­leagues.”

Grant said that in 20 years of teaching, he has seen some big changes in his stu­dents and their needs. Earlier in his career, stu­dents were more spirited. Now, he said, stu­dents are more agreeable and friendly.

“You’re sup­posed to get along,” he said. “Here, I like the civility, I like the friend­liness.”

And they are a busy group as well. Unlike even 10 years ago, Grant said, stu­dents often ask for letters of rec­om­men­dation for summer intern­ships, whereas they used to ask solely for graduate schools. The emphasis on finding an internship and involving oneself in campus in so many dif­ferent ways is new.

“When I was in school, I don’t think I was as stressed as a con­tem­porary student because I worked, studied, and socialized too, but I wasn’t planning my appli­cation for this, that, and the other thing,” he said. “And I didn’t know anybody else who was.”

Despite taking over as chairman, Grant manages to teach the same amount of classes: three per semester. But now he now also coor­di­nates con­ver­sa­tions between the admin­is­tration and the rest of the department.

“That’s what I’ve expe­ri­enced here with the deans and the provost,” Grant said. “They’re very col­legial, and they want to talk through things to solve issues.”

His col­league, former Chair of the pol­itics department Mickey Craig, said Grant is per­forming the job well.

“I’m very happy he was willing to take on the job,” Craig said. “I’m also very happy to be relieved from the respon­si­bil­ities of the chair.”

Before coming to Hillsdale, Grant taught for 12 years and served as the dean of student life at the Uni­versity of Dallas. Of his dif­ferent roles, he said he prefers teaching far more than working in admin­is­tration.

His role now, as pol­itics pro­fessor and chairman, allows him to do both.