by Tate Mitchell
They say great students make great teachers, and that proverb certainly isn’t lost in the case of Dr. Jeffrey Glas, one of SPIA’s newest lecturers in the Department of Political Science. “To be honest with you,” says Glas, “everything about politics is just really interesting to me.”
Glas has been captivated by politics since he was young, getting his first job in professional politics from a family friend who asked him to work on a campaign as a teenager. From then on, he sought every opportunity to learn more about the political process. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Kennesaw State University in 2007 and a master’s and doctorate degree in the field from Georgia State University in 2011 and 2015, respectively, yet somewhere in the midst of all that schooling, he still found time to stay engaged in the world of professional politics.
Glas has worked on 23 political campaigns in six different states since graduating college, helping out on races in Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Through it all, he knew that he still had a passion for education, due in no small part to his own positive undergraduate experience, so he decided to return to Georgia State as a lecturer for two years before finding his way to the University of Georgia.
“Who doesn’t want to be at UGA?” says Glas. “I’ve been a Georgia fan for 15 years, and my wife went here. This is the flagship university in the state of Georgia, so there’s no doubt that this is the place to be.”
In addition to the pride that he has for teaching at UGA, Glas finds great personal fulfillment as a lecturer, a role that he believes allows him to act on a sense of civic duty to keep people engaged. He currently teaches courses in state politics and mass media and government, and with each lecture, he has a desire to make students think scientifically about the political environment.
“I care a great deal about politics, and I feel like the more we learn about it, the better the system can be,” says Glas. “Teaching helps me satisfy that goal, but it also fulfills me. You see students with talent that are interested and want to make a difference, and getting them placed in campaigns and with politicians that they want to work with is really rewarding.”
Glas also finds a great deal of joy in getting to perform research through SPIA. His main areas of interest are political psychology and behavior, due to a desire to understand how seemingly mundane tasks and characteristics affect people’s political behaviors.
“There are so many little things that we all take for granted that have a pretty profound influence on our reasoning about politics,” he says.
One of those things, Glas asserts, is entertainment media. “Ninety-four percent of media consumed in the United States is entertainment-focused, and the average American spends four hours a day parked in front of their TV consuming,” says Glas. “The research that I’m working on seeks to determine how that influences the political opinions we form and the way we think about people that are different from us. From what I’ve uncovered so far, it seems to matter a great deal.”
Glas considers it an honor to work for such a prestigious institution like SPIA, and he has nothing but good things to say about the students that he gets to teach. Whether it is their preparedness, vocabulary or willingness to engage, Glas says he is consistently amazed at “how intellectually mature so many students here are.” And the uniquely friendly environment that he gets to share with his colleagues, he believes, is an added bonus. “The students are great. The faculty is great, and there’s a Jittery Joes on the first floor of my building,” says Glas. “It’s just an awesome place to work.”