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School of Diplomacy and International Relations

The Annual Faculty Excellence Awards: A Well-Deserved Tribute to Our Outstanding Faculty

Headshot Professor Joseph Huddleston

Joseph Huddleston, Ph.D.

Seton Hall University is gearing up for this year’s Annual Faculty Excellence Awards, an event where the University highlights the powerful work done by our renowned faculty by designating awards in several distinct categories. In the past two years, the awards program has expanded to include other focuses such as Excellence and Innovation in Teaching 21st-Century Skills and Excellence in Service Learning.

This year the awards ceremony will take place from 5-6:30 p.m., Monday, April 22, in the University Center Event Room. Those interested in attending may RSVP here. As we await the announcement of the winners, we wanted to check in with some of last year’s awardees to explore the qualities of their teaching styles and curricula that make them shine.

In 2023, Joseph Huddleston, Ph.D., an associate professor at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, was awarded the Excellence and Innovation in Teaching 21st-Century Skills award. His innovative teaching style, his commitment to increasing transformative experiential-learning opportunities and his continuing University legacy as the founder of the School of Diplomacy’s collaborative research space, the DiploLab, continue to create opportunities and positive outcomes for participating students.

Huddleston’s courses continuously prioritize an experiential focus, as he provides opportunities for students to hone hard and soft skills through course activities such as diplomatic debates and policy memo writing. Also, through his continued involvement in the DiploLab after its founding, selected students are granted the opportunity to cultivate their research skills alongside Seton Hall faculty, exploring international-relations subjects as they contribute towards ongoing and new projects. Experiential learning is one of Seton Hall’s distinguishing qualities, and an area in which the University is actively building its resources.

The impact of these experiential-learning opportunities on Seton Hall’s campus is very clear, as Huddleston noted several success stories of his students who took part in DiploLab. One notable story that he shared was that of Harshana Ghoorhoo ’21, a DiploLab alumna who worked on her first large writing project with Huddleston on foreign policy. From this experience, Ghoorhoo continued to cultivate original written works, and by graduation her resume contained a large and impressive array of bylines that helped her secure a role with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). "CSIS is a big think tank in Washington, DC that usually only hires grad students," shared Professor Huddleston. "It's very unusual that they will hire an undergrad straight out of college with just a bachelor’s."

Huddleston listed the many doors that have been opened for students who took part in DiploLab, such as job opportunities, as well as acceptances into international-affairs graduate programs. He made it clear that experiential-learning opportunities such as this one have the power to significantly shape a student’s future. When speaking of ways to expand opportunities such as those the DiploLab offers, he said, "I really want to see it replicated in other departments across the school. The model is quite simple. It’s just having faculty think about their research in a way where they can cover a portion of it, train a student to participate, and then invite that student to help do the writing." This also speaks to the power and importance of faculty mentorship.

When asked on how having experiential-learning opportunities like those in his classroom at Seton Hall helps the University promote global and unique leaders, especially in international affairs, Huddleston, who had been a first-generation college student, spoke about the importance of tackling the issue of providing more opportunities to those with underrepresented backgrounds in academia.

"How do you get students from low socio-economic backgrounds or under-resourced communities into professional careers such as academia?" he asked. "Very often where students fall out of the pipeline is just lack of preparedness, lack of opportunity, and lack of knowledge on how to recognize and pursue these opportunities and get the training they need to take the next step in their careers. Programs like these help a university like Seton Hall to really stand out as a kind of intergenerational advancement machine for these students."

Huddleston’s passion for helping students succeed in their academic affairs and career pursuits is extremely evident, and this award designation was beyond deserved. His objectives and commitment to elevating the academic rigor and opportunities at Seton Hall University is not only commendable, but irreplaceable.

Categories: Nation and World

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