Faculty Spotlight: Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, Associate Professor of Political Science at USF St. Petersburg
April 10, 2012
Pursuing new avenues to bring the international perspective to her classroom, Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, Associate Professor of Political Science at USF St. Petersburg, is successfully helping her students travel to Moldova and the United Arab Emirates without leaving Tampa Bay.
In 2010, McLauchlan was awarded a Fulbright grant to the Republic of Moldova in Eastern Europe to work on her project entitled “U.S. Constitutional Law and Judicial Process.” The project gave her the opportunity to rethink how she teaches students about the American court system. “It was a phenomenal experience for me. You don’t always realize all of the assumptions that you take for granted. I had the opportunity to question and to reflect on those assumptions when teaching American government and politics to a foreign audience. This has positively impacted how I approach teaching law and politics with my U.S. students since my return home.”
Collaborating with a colleague at the Universitatea de Stat din Moldova (USM), McLauchlan conducted a joint, 10-week project between her Women & the Law class at USFSP and graduate students in American Studies at USM. Students worked on group projects related to human trafficking in the U.S. and in Moldova through Skype videoconferences, email and Facebook, learning first-hand from each other the similarities and differences in the legal system in each country. Through the use of technology and real-time communication, students discussed readings, attended guest lectures by NGO representatives and Peace Corps volunteers in Moldova as well as prosecutors, law enforcement officials and non-profits in Tampa Bay. Students at both universities were also required to participate in an online videoconference to present their research findings, hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau. In 2012, McLauchlan and her Moldovan counterpart, Dr. Svetlana Suveica, presented their research on the success of an internationally linked course curriculum at the American Political Science Association Teaching and Learning Conference in Washington, DC.
The success of her first internationally linked class was only the beginning. Shortly after her visit to Amman, Jordan in December 2011 as a Delegate to a Middle East Summit, McLauchlan partnered with an attorney in Abu Dhabi, Raya Abu Gulal and the Women’s Lawyers Group of the Middle East. Through this partnership, she connected students in her Civil Liberties and Civil Rights class at USF St. Pete to experts in women’s rights issues in six different Middle Eastern countries under the mentorship of the Women’s Lawyers Group.
Recently, Dr. McLauchlan received two more grants to support her international research and her work on internationalizing the curriculum. Awarded a grant this Spring by the European Union Center for Excellence, McLauchlan will use the funds to support a project in her public law courses concerning the European Court of Justice. In addition, she will travel to Moldova as a returning Fulbright this summer to work on a research project on the impact that the European Court of Human Rights’ decisions have on legal change in Moldova. While there, she will also finalize logistics for an alternative Spring Break Study Abroad program she is planning for 2013.
For current information on Dr. McLauchlan’s international projects, visit