University of the Ozarks Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Mark Scully has been named to the 2015 edition of “40 Under 40: Professors Who Inspire,” which is presented by the higher education website NerdScholar.
Nerdscholar is the higher education branch of NerdWallet, a consumer finance website. According to the Nerdscholar website, the second annual “40 Under 40” list of professors “were chosen based on their ability to captivate and engage student in the classroom, their outstanding involvement on campus and in the community, and their overwhelming passion for the subject matter.” Nominations were collected through student, alumni and faculty recommendations following an open call to several hundred colleges and universities across the country.
Scully, 28, who has taught at Ozarks since 2014, was recognized as being the youngest professor on the list. The website praised the Ozarks professor for helping students “get acquainted with their own thoughts and the thoughts of their peers, even when they clash.”
“I’m very flattered to have been selected as a professor who inspires, and I appreciate having the confidence and support of my peers and students who spoke on my behalf,” Scully said. “It is truly a privilege to teach at the Ozarks. I am inspired each day by my fellow faculty, from whom I have a lot to learn about excellence in the classroom, and by our students, whose eagerness to learn is a constant encouragement to make myself a better professor who can continue to serve our community.”
One of the students who took part in the nomination said, “Dr. Scully is more than a professor. He is a mentor and friend who is walking with me throughout my educational growth as a political science major.”
He was also described by his students as engaging, passionate and challenging.
“I love teaching because it’s an opportunity to help students understand a little something more about themselves and their peers,” Scully said. “Politics is such a neat way to do that because whether or not we know it, most of us have some opinion about what’s right and wrong, what’s just and unjust. The classroom is a great place for students to try to work through what they think about politics and why. Hearing some of the opinions of their classmates really helps students learn more about themselves—especially because they often find out that their peers have different opinions. As a class, once we’ve gotten out what we think and what our peers think, we can start to ask about what’s better and worse in the different answers we give to life’s tough questions.”
“In all this, I’m really very pleased if I’ve ever helped students understand themselves a little better, since, at this point in their lives, they don’t need all the answers. But they do need to know how to ask the right questions, and the first question is ‘what do I believe and why?’ And an added bonus is that in this whole process, the students always help me understand myself better by pushing me to ask more incisive questions, and try to formulate more satisfying answers.”
Scully earned his Ph.D. from Baylor University and his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s College in New Mexico.
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