James Meernik, professor of political science and interim associate dean for administrative affairs at UNT's College of Arts and Sciences, has been named an American Council on Education, or ACE, Fellow for 2009-10.
Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing promising senior faculty and administrators for responsible positions in college and university administration. Meernik is one of 38 ACE Fellows selected this year, and one of two from Texas colleges and universities.
Nominated by their institutions, the ACE Fellows spend an academic year working with a president and other senior administrators. The fellows will be assigned to their host institutions in June. While at their host institutions, they will focus on issues of concern to their nominating colleges or universities. Fellows also attend three retreats on higher education issues organized by ACE, read extensively in the field of higher education and participate in other activities to enhance their knowledge about the challenges and opportunities confronting higher education today.
Meernik is the third UNT faculty member to be named an ACE Fellow. Sandra L. Terrell, UNT vice provost for academic outreach, was an ACE Fellow for 2000-01 when she was associate dean of UNT's Toulouse School of Graduate Studies and professor of speech and hearing sciences. Herman Totten, dean of the College of Information, Library Science and Technologies, was an ACE Fellow for 1970-71 when he was a faculty member at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas.
Meernik has been a UNT faculty member since 1991. He served as chair of the Department of Political Science from 2002 to 2008 after serving as assistant chair from 2001 to 2002. He was named interim associate dean for administrative affairs for the College of Arts and Sciences earlier this year.
He specializes in U.S. foreign policy and international criminal tribunals in his research, and is the author or co-editor of four books and monographs, including "Democratization in Taiwan: Challenges in Transformation" and "Conflict Prevention and Peace Building in Post-War Societies: Sustaining the Peace."
He has also published articles in the Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, American Politics Research, Presidential Studies Quarterly and Journal of Peace Research, among other publications. He was the associate editor of International Studies Quarterly, the flagship journal of the International Studies Association, from 2003-08.
For several summers, Meernik has co-taught a political science course, International Law, Peace and Justice, as a three-week study abroad program in The Hague, Netherlands. During the course, students view proceedings of the United Nations' International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, meeting with the tribunal's prosecutors, judges, defense counsel, the administrative staff, and members of independent news agencies to gather information for research papers.
Meernik and his co-instructor, UNT associate professor of political science Kimi King, received a Rowman & Littlefield Award for Innovative Teaching in Political Science from the American Political Science Association for creating the course. Sponsored by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, the award honors a wide range of new directions in teaching, giving recognition to innovative course syllabi, multimedia approaches to reaching students, textbooks that change the way a subject is taught and other teaching methods. In 2007, Meernik received the Student Government Association's Honor Professor award.
This academic year, Meernik served as co-chair of "Perspectives on Immigration: Strategies for the 21st Century," a one-day at conference UNT that brought experts together to discuss the challenges facing the U.S. regarding immigration. He served as chair of the UNT Chairs Council from 2005 to 2008, and he will visit the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico in May as a Fulbright Senior Specialist. He will teach a course on post-conflict peace, and also strengthen ties between the university and UNT on immigration research and other areas.
Meernik received his bachelor's degree in political science and psychology from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., and his master's and doctoral degrees in political science from Michigan State University.
The American Council on Education, founded in 1918, is the major coordinating body for the nation's higher education institutions. More than 1,600 accredited, degree-granting institutions and more than 200 related associations are ACE members. ACE seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and influence public policy through advocacy, research and program initiatives.
Nancy Kolsti with UNT News Service can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.