Political science professor Ralph G. Carter said he chose political science in college while looking for a major with easy A’s.”You can do almost everything you want with a political science degree,” said Carter, who has been teaching political science at TCU for the past 25 years. “You learn how to think critically and analytically. You get better working with people, and you learn how to express yourself.”
Carter said students who graduate with a political science degree obtain skills they can apply to all aspects of their lives.
In his senior year at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Carter was married and working full time.
From his college experience, his advice to all college students is to take advantage of all the knowledge they can while in college. He said students need to be aware that college is the marketplace of ideas.
“Take extra classes and don’t obsess with the idea of graduating early,” Carter said.
Carter said he has observed a huge change in TCU students lately.
“Students are overobsessed with building a resume,” he said. “Some of them feel forced to belong to organizations and do volunteer work.”
Former TCU student Marcela Falquez said Carter introduced her to new ways of thinking.
“Dr. Carter is one of the few professors who thinks outside of the U.S.,” Falquez said. “He talks about all kinds of issues and from all parts of the world. He opened my eyes to a new worldwide perspective of politics.”
Carter said he always tries to help students benefit as much as possible from class discussions.
“I try hard to make students participate and think by themselves,” Carter said. “Knowledge comes from all members of the class, not only teachers. Students should learn the value class discussions have as opposed to information they can find in a book.”
Carter said it is difficult not to influence students when lecturing in political science courses.
“My strategy is to present all reasonable points of view, although I don’t agree with all of them, so that students can think by themselves and decide from all possible views,” Carter said.
Political science alumna Giovanna Rivera said Carter’s class was the only 8 a.m. class she actually enjoyed.
“Dr. Carter is unique,” Rivera said. “He is very energetic, helpful and a great person.
“I liked his enthusiasm and the fact that we got to know a lot of current events in class.”
Carter said he likes TCU because it’s a university that emphasizes the teacher-scholar model, which means a professor has to be a good scholar and a good teacher as well.
“I like the fact that I can work on my scholarship and teach at the same time,” Carter said.
Besides being a teacher, Carter is an author or co-author of more than 30 journal articles and book chapters.
In 2006, he became the first person from a non-doctoral program to receive the Quincy Wright Distinguished Scholar Award of the International Studies Association, which is given annually to a scholar who has significantly influenced scholarship in the International Studies Association.