Tony Arend teaching on laptop
Category: Fall 2020, Georgetown Magazine

Title:Personal Reflections: Tony Arend

Author: Interviewed by Jeffrey Donahoe
Date Published: November 18, 2020

When the university made its decision to go virtual in March, the faculty had been prepared really well. I wasn’t surprised or scared. While things like having my class over for dinner went away, I felt that the teaching went smoothly.

I enjoyed teaching online. It’s not the same as running around the classroom, but I enjoyed it. I found there are advantages too. Some students seem to be more willing to talk in an online format than they are in a class of 60. Maybe they don’t feel as nervous because it’s just them looking at a computer screen. There was also a lot of discussion going on in the chat function, which could be useful content. Faculty are still able to engage students. I call on people as I do in class. The quality of the work was the same in terms of the written assignments, and also class participation.

The biggest challenge was accommodating students who were in other locations in the U.S. and abroad because different time zones meant they could not join us in a synchronous fashion. They would have to listen to the recordings.

George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing protests strike me as a sea change in the country. There are a lot of issues that the Government Department will have to begin to address in new ways. I became chair of the department in June, and one of the first things that happened was that I received emails from students asking what the department is going to do to address these issues. We put together an ad hoc working group of students, staff, and faculty to look at some concrete measures that the department can take relating to justice, equity, and inclusion.

In July, visa directives coming from the Department of Homeland Security said that international students would not be allowed to stay in the United States or come to the United States unless they could certify that their curriculum does not consist entirely of online courses. MIT and Harvard brought a suit against the administration, and Georgetown filed an amicus brief in a similar suit. The Trump Administration withdrew these guidelines for international students who already had a visa, but sadly they still apply to new, incoming international students.

“A global perspective is an important part of the Georgetown experience and something we’re deeply, deeply committed to maintaining.”

Tony Arend

The Trump Administration’s guidelines were very troubling. Georgetown from the outset has been a welcoming university to international students. The first course catalogs were in English, Spanish, and French, and a global perspective is in our DNA as a university. It’s an important part of the Georgetown experience for everybody and something we’re deeply, deeply committed to maintaining.

Longtime Georgetown Professor of Government and Foreign Service Anthony Arend (SFS’80) is chair of the Department of Government. In addition to an active undergraduate and graduate teaching schedule, he has held many administrative appointments at the School of Foreign Service, including vice dean for graduate and faculty affairs and director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service program.

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