Brock Tessman is a teacher with striking enthusiasm, brilliance and empathy, and a gift for making all he touches seem genuinely exciting to his students.
As an assistant professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, Tessman teaches courses from introductory international relations to special topics classes on foreign policy, security and international conflict.
“Part of his secret is excellent articulation; part is his empathy for the views of others; and part is his constant search for innovative methods to use in the classroom, from role playing and simulations to imaginative scenarios, devil’s advocacy, the Socratic method and a variety of other methods,” said Loch Johnson, Regents Professor of International Affairs.
Tessman said his teaching style is grounded in the advantages of an active-learning approach.
His goal is to create a classroom atmosphere that couples traditional lectures with structured activities in such a way that there is a strong sense of engagement with the subject matter.
Kanwarjeet Tucker, a 2009 UGA alumnus and currently a member of the Foreign Service Program at Oxford University, said that Tessman has provided invaluable guidance as a mentor.
“My transition from an insouciant, average student to a diligent one came after studying under Dr. Tessman’s guidance. He has been a mentor to me at UGA and still remains so now while I am in Oxford. He has played a substantial role in my being where I am today,” said Tucker.
In just a few short years at UGA, Tessman has facilitated undergraduates in publishing original work in social science journals and presenting papers at academic conferences, helped them move on to top-tier graduate programs, created a working group that acts as a laboratory for learning and seen his students compete as finalists for the Rhodes and Truman Scholarships.
Tessman said it is watching his students succeed that fuels his love for teaching and mentoring.