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Bibek Chand Video Transcript

[Interviewer] Welcome to the University of North Georgia Political Science & International Affairs department's Youtube channel, where we present interviews of our faculty members and our students to highlight their accomplishments and insights.

In this segment of our "Meet Our Faculty" series, you'll have the opportunity to meet Dr. Bibek Chand, the newest member of our PSIA family.

Good Morning Dr. Chand.

[Dr. Chand] Good Morning Larry.

[Interviewer] Could you tell us a little bit about yourself to start us out?

[Dr. Chand] My name is Bibek Chand, and originally from Kathmandu, Nepal. And I came to the United States in 2008, did my bachelor's in international relations and political science from Wartburg College, which is a small liberal arts college in Iowa. And then from there I moved down to Florida International University where I did my PhD in international relations as well.

And since then I've moved to North Georgia since this fall to join the faculty at PSIA.

[Interviewer] Quite a long way to North Georgia from Nepal. How did that transition work for you?

[Dr. Chand] It's been a great opportunity, I think. Its contributed tremendously to make good as a person. And then has taught me sort of, I would say, lessons on adaptation where from different cultures, different context, geographical regions. From Nepal to Iowa to Florida to Georgia -- it's, it's been a great journey so far.

Challenges remain, of course, right. By the same time, I think they have contributed significantly to my growth as an academic, as just an overall human being.

[Interviewer] You're here at the Gainesville campus. What are your primary areas of interest within the political science world? And what classes do you primarily teach here?

[Dr. Chand] My teaching and research interests mostly fall on international relations as a, I would say, academic discipline. I largely focus on security studies, mostly on the Asia-Pacific region. I also work with buffer states, which are basically small states in between larger powers. And I'm also interested in studying the overall geopolitical context in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

So largely I would say focuses on strategic studies, security studies, as well as, geopolitics.

At the Gainesville campus right now I'm teaching Global Issues, which is the introduction to international relations class. And then I'm also teaching International Relations Theory.

In the upcoming semesters I'll be teaching International Organization, as well as, Security in the Asia-Pacific.

So I'm very excited to teach all of these diverse classes from all different levels. So...

[Interviewer] This is your first semester here. What got you into the teaching profession in the  first place and why that focus on international affairs, international relations, security?

[Dr. Chand] To be very honest, initially, I did not start out to become an academic. I joined international relations thinking I'll work maybe in a policy think-tank or the UN, or at the United Nations was something that I was looking forward to joining.

But in grad school I decided to teach a section of Introduction to International Relations. And I didn't realize that I really, really enjoy teaching and interacting with the students. So with that introductory class, I sort of discovered my, I would say, vocation in teaching and education.

So that's why I sort picked up this passion. And over time I got myself more involved in pedagogy, pa...particularly for undergraduate education.

And I've been training ever since in workshops looking at active learning, I would say sessions, as well as how to center the classroom around the student, right?

So it's been a, I would say evolution in terms of how I've come, come about to enjoy teaching.

[Interviewer] How did you end up here at the University of North Georgia?

[Dr. Chand] At the University of North Georgia I would say it's, its definitely something related to the student-centric approach that the university takes, where the classrooms are not too crazily big, and you get to sense, I would say, close interactions with the students – have a very close relationship with them working outside of the classroom as well. Working together on projects be it something that I want to pursue in the long-term. And also getting involved in clubs where students can pursue their interests not just within the limitations of the classes that they're taking, but also taking those ideas and applying them outside, whether it be through the Model UN or through any other clubs, as the Politically Incorrect Club that we have here.

I definitely think that the student-centered approach and the importance of, of I would say, each individual student in the classroom, right, the emphasis of UNG. That was something that attracted me to this university extensively.

[Interviewer] in a roundabout way I would say that you have touched on this a little bit, but, although you don't have a lot of the semesters behind you, what do you think ...either what does or what do you think will keep you getting up every morning and doing what you're doing with university students?

[Dr. Chand] I think it's, it's largely focused on the students. I, I really enjoy getting myself in a discussion with my students about any topic about international relations affairs. And that keeps me going because I get to hear so many different perspectives from so many different students, who make the class a very lively experience, not just for themselves but also for me.

I think that is something that extensively plays into my motivation for coming back to class every day, just seeing that students are also passionate about something that I'm passionate about.

And also sometimes I would say helping them reach to their goals of, of what they actually want to do in terms of the field that we're in, particularly, political science and international relations.

That keeps me going. Just to see that passion from students as well. And to be able to share into that, that definitely I would say, a bi, is a big motivator for me.

[Interviewer] If you could be in charge, and this is early in your career as I mentioned before, but if you could be in charge, and you have a different perspective than a lot of our faculty because you are new to the profession overall...what one thing would you change if you could?

[Dr. Chand] The costs of college textbooks if I would put it very simply. I do think that sometimes choosing a book largely rests on the pricing that, that's available. And I think that students need not spend a lot of, I would say, resources out of pocket. And that's definitely something that I would like to see managed a little bit more, perhaps, make it more affordable for students to have access to resources that they need to succeed in classroom.

[Interviewer] In closing Dr, Chand, what do you have to say to our viewers who are either prospective students or former students, both undergraduate and graduate?

[Dr. Chand] For prospective students, I would like to say that UNG has been extensively, I would say, welcoming to me as a new faculty member. And this is something that I'm also seeing for undergraduate students who have just joined this university. And the amount of emphasis on each individual's overall development is something that is kept in mind by the department, by the university as a whole.

And if you are willing to major in political science or international affairs, we have a wide variety of tracks that we can take. In the Gainesville campus we have the generic BS degree, Bachelor of Science in Political Science, as well as an associate's degree in political science. And then you have a wide variety of, of the tracks that are available in the Dahlonega campus. So we have a lot of different opportunities for us to pursue our academic, I would say, endeavors in political science and international affairs.

There's a lot of opportunities for you to be involved in on campus life. A lot of different clubs related to international affairs, related to political science that you can learn quite a lot from, not just from the professors, but also from your peers.

[Interviewer] Thank you for your time Dr. Chand. I wish you success in your career here at UNG, helping our students, especially those on the Gainesville campus, #experiencemore.

[Dr. Chand] Thank you for having me. And this is a great opportunity.

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