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Craig Greathouse Video Transcript

[Interviewer] Hello and welcome to the University of North Georgia Political Science & International Affairs department's YouTube channel, where we present interviews of our students past, present and future, as well as our faculty members, to highlight their accomplishments and their insights. This segment is another in our "Meet Our Faculty" series. In the coming minutes you'll get to meet Dr. Craig Greathouse, one of our longer-tenured professors, and the Associate Department Head.

Good morning Dr. Greathouse.

[Dr. Greathouse] Good morning.

[Interviewer] Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, some of your, your background and your interests both the academically, and your personal interests?

[Dr. Greathouse] I was born in Akron, Ohio. I went to, basically, school there, high school, undergraduate, undergraduate and my master's. For my undergraduate and my master's I went to the University of Akron. Got degrees in political science with a focus on international relations. And then for my PhD I went out to the Claremont Graduate Colleges which is, it's a unique place. It's a consortium of undergraduate and graduate school. And I got my PhD in political science with a focus on security and defense policy and comparative politics from Claremont. And that was, I got the degree in 1999. So...

[Interviewer] Okay, so obviously your, your primary areas of interest is both international affairs writ large and security studies.

[Dr. Greathouse] Yes.

[Interviewer] Along that line, what classes specifically do you tend to teach or do you always teach?

[Dr. Greathouse] The classes that I tend to teach...When I was originally hired here I was brought in as the Europeanist, specifically Western Europe. My dissertation was on the European Union. So every year I teach class on Intro to the European Union, looking at the institution, structures, things like that.

I also teach...One of my focuses is on IR theory, and I teach that both at the undergraduate and graduate level. Basically, how you study, the frameworks for analysis for international relations. Whether it's the economic side, whether it's the security side – how the system works. And the reason why we teach that is because, the system is so complex, we have to simplify in order to understand what's going on in international relations. So that's where theory comes in. So that's why that becomes such an important class.

The other classes I tend to teach on a regular basis are European Security, which I'm considered an expert in both at the graduate level and undergraduate level. Also National Security Policy and International Security. Those tend to be taught at the graduate level.

[Interviewer] Okay, so with your advanced degrees in political science writ large, what got you into teaching? And teaching, not only teaching in a general sense, but especially international affairs -- what brought that interest to you?

[Dr. Greathouse] The teaching was -- Going into international relations and international affairs was actually accidental. I originally wanted to study military history. But then figured out fairly early on that you could starve trying to do that. So then I made the next jump as every student does and decided I was going to law school. And then was working in a law library and deciding I don't know if I like this and then my junior year, sophomore year, I had a class in international relations. And then that's where everything came together where I could study the military side. I could look at a lot of things that I was always interested in. But you could do it contemporary and there were job possibilities out there.

Since I didn't go to law school I went and got a Master's and then just continued on and got PhD.

[Interviewer]  Interesting.

[Dr. Greathouse] Then I was at the University of Arkansas at Monticello for a couple of years. In none of those positions did I really get to focus on my areas of emphasis which is European politics and especially security and defense. When the job offer came, when the job got advertised here, it was about European politics but I was told during the interview that I will be able teach some security and defense stuff. So that's one of the reasons why I came to this -- added to the fact that it's a Senior Military College, so there's a lot of students that were highly interested in security and defense policy.

[Interviewer] Interesting. What keeps you coming back every semester?

[Dr. Greathouse] Well, there's the practical one -- you have to eat. But I think it's about trying to get people to understand  a very difficult field and one that really matters in the inner, in the world. International relations is becoming more and more important. As we break down barriers, whether it's through communications, whether through travel, we have to deal with other cultures. We have to deal with other states. That is becoming a much more critical thing. And we have to understand that going forward. You cannot be in a vacuum in the current world. We need to have people that have at least a basic understanding of what's out there, because there's more challenges, there's more threats that are out there, that are developing, than, than say 200 years ago, where you had the Atlantic and Pacific in-between us and everything else. That doesn't exist anymore. What happens in one area affects other places and I think trying to get people to understand those connections is a critical element.

[Interviewer] Okay. You've been in academia, apparently since, well, when you got out of school early on, so your entire, if you want to call it, your entire adult working life has been in academia.

[Dr. Greathouse] Yes.

[Interviewer] Obviously you enjoy it.

[Dr. Greathouse] Some days, yes.

[Interviewer] Alright, so of the days you don't, and let me take it this way -- If there is one thing, just to narrow it down, that you would change about the, your world of higher education, what would you change?

[Dr. Greathouse] On a personal basis, dealing, getting rid of grading would be a fun thing but that's not going to happen. But in terms of just the profession and higher education in total, I think the level of support for higher education, I think, not everybody needs to go to college. Do we need people with very technical skills?  Yes, or basically, that can do certain things. That's great. But we also need people that can think, that can go in, that can process a lot of information in this basically information age we're now in. We need to get students past the idea that it's about rote memorization, and that's what they're getting a lot now in K through 12. And my job is to help -- how do you look at the bigger picture?  How do you analyze things?  How do you start to put pieces together? How do you step back and figure out what's important information / what's not important information? And those are the skill sets that I want students to have. And if we started with less focus on rote memorization it would be easier to get them to that endpoint.

[Interviewer] Okay. Interesting. In closing Dr. Greathouse, what, what do you have to say to either prospective students or even our former students, both about UNG writ large or more specifically, your Department of Political Science & International Affairs?

[Dr. Greathouse] I think the biggest thing is come in with an open mind; allow us to help show you the different avenues that you can go. Nobody in the department is going to say you have to think one way. The goal for all of us is we want you to be able to process information, and in processing information, you're going to be exposed and you're going to pick certain approaches, ideas that resonate more with you. But learn the other arguments that are out there. You can't just say: I want to be "x".  Understand what "y" and "z" are. And that will help you become better at "x".

So it's about learning and taking and applying those skills that you get in classes or if you graduate from a degree with us either at the bachelor's level or master's level. Use the skills that we've taught. It's about how you process information. I don't expect students to remember: on this date, and this historical thing happened. No. It's about how you think; how you approach things going forward. And I think that's the biggest benefit that we can provide as a department here.

[Interviewer] Well thank you Craig, for your time. We really appreciate it.

And there he is folks - Dr. Craig Greathouse, a long time and an integral member of the UNG Political Science & International Affairs family.

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