Teacher Feature: Professor Paul Londrigan

Co-written by Michael Oleaga & Kelly Ann Povero

A political mind focused on conflict and resolutions, turned third-grade teacher, now political science professor at Pace sums up Professor Paul Londrigan.

Describing himself as a professor with a sense of humor, dedicated, and “generally a lovely person to be around,” Londrigan is currently teaching two 300-level workshops, POL 303D: International Issues and Trouble Spots and the award-winning Model United Nations (UN) team, listed as POL 303A: International Organizations.

According to Londrigan, he always knew he wanted to be an educator but the opportunity to do what he specifically wanted to do didn’t present itself until he got the opportunity to teach third graders at Rippowam Cisqua School.

“I was at the right place at the right time and the opportunity presented itself,” said Londrigan. “I identify with youth, and I was interested in exploring that opportunity.”

When asked about how he reflects on the experience he admits, “I’m glad I did it. You don’t know what you want to do with your life until you explore.”

Londrigan noted the importance for college students to start networking early and keeping the contacts you’ll make will definitely help in the future and not burn bridges.

“I say that because the reason I was given this opportunity [to teach at Pace], not only because of my education, but because of my friendship with Dr. Greg Julian,” said Londrigan. “He is something of a mentor to me.”

Londrigan’s first teaching job at Pace was last summer as instructor of Introduction to International Relations, as an online course.

For fall 2011, he would finally teach college students, face to face, with International Issues and Trouble Spots. However, he was abruptly given another opportunity to educate students.

As Dr. Julian went on medical leave for knee surgery, Londrigan was given the torch to lead the Model UN team. Model UN would be the first class where Londrigan would physically be in a Pace classroom as a professor.

Before instructing his first Model UN class, Londrigan thought to himself, “I’m so freaking happy right now.”

He explained that there’s always going to be nerves, but it’s also very exciting to be teaching, especially something that he loves to do.

Model UN is a familiar area for Londrigan has he participated in the program during his undergrad years.

Being the new instructor for the Model UN team is not an easy job. It can be stressful and time-consuming, but it usually pays off in the end with accolades and awards at Model UN conferences.

“I’ve made myself clear [to the class]. I’m looking for excellence from this team,” said Londrigan. “We have a record for success and I’m not going to come in here after years of winning and come home with nothing.”

The Model UN team traveled to the Southern Regional Model United Nations conference in Atlanta, Georgia from Nov. 17-19 and didn’t come back to Pace empty handed, winning multiple awards.

“[Model UN] really is a really good experience. You’ll learn a lot about very specific topics, you’ll do a lot of research and your research and writing skills are enhanced, you’ll learn to be a confident public speaker, or if you already are a confident public speaker, then those skills are enhanced. You’ll actually learn a lot about yourself by doing this, because of the nature of the commitment, a large commitment, you do have to work with other people and in working so closely with other people for a long period of time, it results in you understanding things about yourself you may not have known.”

What does Londrigan expect from his students?

“I expect the same thing other professors expect, for my students to work hard, to come to class, to be engaged, to be vocal, and express their opinions.”

Part of his expectations are based on the fact that two of the classes he’s teaching are higher level classes, and he wants them to exhibit what they know about political science and to be excited on what they talk about.

What advice does Prof. Londrigan have for Pace students?

“It’s important to balance your life. Take your education seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Relax, don’t be a jerk. Be an original gangster.”

Originally published in the Nov. 30, 2011, edition of The Pace Chronicle.