Junior Henry Zurn talks about his English and political science majors and shares some stereotypical behaviors. Read Zurn's Q&A
The University of Minnesota opens doors for those looking for learning opportunities. If you are an adult learner, you’ll find all sorts of flexible U of M programs to finish your degree, earn a certificate, or pursue professional development and personal growth.
You can enroll in an evening or online course through the College of Continuing Education (CCE). Credits earned through CCE’s Online and Distance Learning are recorded on your University of Minnesota transcript and are equivalent to credits earned on campus.
2015-16 Graduate and Professional Teaching Award Winner
Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
An acclaimed scholar of politics and society focusing on power, public policy, inequality and inequity, Joe Soss won awards from the American Political Science Association and the American Sociological Association for his 2011 book, Disciplining the Poor.
He brings that expertise to his students, who regard him as an exemplary teacher, adviser and mentor, as well as an active promoter of student research, scholarship, and professional development. Colleagues of Soss cite his innovative contributions to curriculum development.
I’ve developed a teaching style that leads with questions and emphasizes dialogue … This style places a premium on students’ responsibility for their own learning, without abdicating my responsibility to teach …—Joe Soss
One student remarks on Soss’s willingness to mine his own professional stature to his students’ advantage. Noting this student’s comments in class about material by the prominent political scientist Frances Fox Piven, Soss sent the student extra material by Piven, on which the student also commented. A few days later, she was astonished to receive a response from Piven herself.
“Professor Soss [had] forwarded my comments to her,” the student recalls. “It certainly made the material feel real to me to have the opportunity to engage with the author herself!”
To enhance the learning experience for both professional master’s degree and academic Ph.D. students, Soss continually looks for ways to improve curriculum across multiple units, as with his complete redesign of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ core political science course. A former student in that course writes that Soss “inspires his students to see politics as a fundamental opportunity to come together to define our values and to build the common good.”