Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Letters of enthusiastic support

Professor Art Svenson (shown here in 2010) demonstrates his trademark teaching style, which has inspired generations of Bulldogs.
Art Svenson, who is David Boies Professor of Government at the University of Redlands, has won the American Political Science Association Distinguished Teaching Award for outstanding instruction. His nomination included testimonies from more than 60 students, colleagues, and alumni—letters of enthusiastic support that spoke to Svenson’s extraordinary dedication as a teacher and mentor. Here are just a few excerpts.

“Art’s enduring influence is incalculable. … He is a wonderful human being who has a gift for teaching. His reputation renders him ‘a term in the equation’ of our department's acclaim and U of R's success.”
Political Science Department faculty (Graeme Auton, Eric McLaughlin, Greg Thorson, Renée Van Vechten, Steve Wuhs)

“Art gives you 110% of himself and his time. [He’s] always available to meet for office hours, managing to find a time even if he is having the busiest of days—being available to talk on the phone at 11 p.m. the night before a test because you have questions.”
Gabby Hart ’20

 “The classes I took from Art helped lay a strong foundation for my nearly 20-year career in journalism, during which I focused on government and public policy. The interests I developed in law and policy would also lead me to leadership roles with civic organizations such as the Indiana Coalition for Open Government and the Indiana Debate Commission.”
Gerry Lanosga ’88, associate professor at the Media School, Indiana University, Bloomington

“I found myself gladly carrying Ducat’s mammoth Constitutional Interpretation around campus, eager to discuss the cases on the syllabus for the day. …  I could have had a promising career in politics or law ahead of me. I decided that if I became a professor I could have a much bigger impact because I would be teaching the next generations of politicians and lawyers. I realize in retrospect I had chosen to follow the path of Dr. Svenson.”
Laurie L. Rice ’98, professor of political science, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

“His passion for constitutional law and his love for the students emboldened all of us. That was the hardest class I took in my undergraduate studies. I read at the library EVERY night, briefed EVERY case, and studied all night with classmates for EVERY test. It was incredibly satisfying to go to class every day and to ultimately do well in Constitutional Law.  … I went on to Northwestern School of Law in Chicago. And, while there were some great professors there, none impacted me the way that Art Svenson did. In fact, Art Svenson had the most powerful effect on me of any professor, in college or law school.
Joseph Richardson ’93

“Art pulled me aside the first week to let me know he knew I may not be comfortable speaking up in class but that I would need to do so in this class. Slowly, with encouragement from Art, I became an active member of the class. I’m a civil rights attorney now, and I have to use my voice every day to advocate for children with disabilities who don’t always have a voice (sometimes quite literally). I argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; I regularly give presentations to large groups; and I even taught a class for a number of years on advocacy skills. Needless to say, without Art's encouragement, which continued all the way through my time at Redlands, I wouldn't have found that voice so early.”
Mandy Favaloro ’02

“His dynamic style of teaching (almost dancing in front of his students, pirouetting from one side of the chalkboard to the other) was undoubtedly part of the appeal of his classes. Even those that began at 8 a.m. were energetic and alive enough to make you forget any lingering tiredness. But just as significant was his way of challenging his students to dig into and “own” the content he so engagingly presented. … I credit Dr. Svenson and his seminars and classes for cementing my intent to go to law school. I graduated from UC Davis King Hall School of Law ’96 and I've been practicing for over 20 years. I frequently say that I'm happiest lawyer I know. I do believe my degree of contentment is in part due to the joy in learning that was deepened by Dr. Svenson.”
Kristin Lucey, ’92

“While in his class I received my very first "F" on an exam. I was devastated, but I didn't know how to study. He taught me two very important things: 1) How to study and do better next time, and 2) To never give up on myself. He also had an open-door policy. I could always ask for help if I needed it. He showed me the kind of teacher I wanted to be. … I currently teach American Government at a local Redlands continuation high school. I work with kids who also don't really know how to study and many of whom have also given up. I keep that exam with a big red "F" on it in my classroom. I use it to show my students that even adults that they look up to have failed before and use it to remind them to never give up.”
Karen Knudson Wilson ’92, ’94  

“Even though I graduated in 2013, I have kept my bluebooks from his class all these years. … The fall of my senior year, Professor Svenson started advising me and helping me with the process of applying to law school. He edited my personal statement, helped me narrow down the list of where to apply, and cheered me on when I held my breath and wondered if I had made a huge mistake. … I ended up getting a full scholarship to law school, which only became a reality because I stumbled into Professor Svenson's class.”
Alexa Herlosky ’13

“In the spring of 1997 I took constitutional law from Professor Art Svenson. It was an awakening. His teaching was charismatic, engaging, honest, theatrical, insightful, passionate, dedicated, and downright fun. It had style and its own rhythm, like jazz with a drumbeat. Art didn't move along on cruise control, he slammed the gas down and piloted us through case after case: Marbury vs. Madison ("Congress cannot pass laws that contradict the Constitution"); Brown vs. Board of Education ("separate but equal has no place"); Miranda vs. Arizona; the Slaughter-house cases ... I didn't miss a moment of his "show" (it was never a lecture, it was a production) and, given the fact that he called on people in class, I did my best to follow along and not embarrass myself.”
Michael Dempsey ’99

Learn more about Svenson or studying political science at the University of Redlands.