Dr. Robert Shandley began his career at Texas A&M in 2010 as a professor of German and Film. He later became the Head of the Department of International Studies in 2012 and 2022 joined the Bush School faculty working as the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs. Shandley graduated from University of Minnesota with a PhD in German and Comparative Literature after earning his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Simpson College and his Master of Arts in German with a minor in Journalism.
Hi, I’m Robert Shandley, I’m the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs here at the Bush School. I came to the Bush school from the College of Liberal Arts, where I was at one time, Head of the Department of International Studies, which is the program that has moved here to the Bush School.
What research project/s do you currently have underway or did you recently complete? What did you/are you hoping to learn?
So my research in general has been how people use popular media, television and film to work through political questions and the history of the moment. My current project is about statelessness and the experience of statelessness, and I started with postwar Germany and the immediate aftermath of World War Two and how Germans narrated their own experience of being without the protections of the state.
How could this research impact society?
So we like to talk a lot of times in political discourse and talk about how we can reduce the size and scope of the state and how that is going to lead to freedoms. In my research, I hope to show that that’s not always true, that sometimes states are very much important to our own protection and well-being, and that the stateless societies or people who live under the conditions of statelessness are often extremely vulnerable.
What do you like most about working at the Bush School?
I really like how much people enjoy working at the Bush School. You know, the people are really good and happy and positive and it’s a really enjoyable work environment because the people seem to enjoy their jobs.
Have you ever worked outside of academia? If so, what did you do, and how does it translate to your research and/or teaching?
When I first got out of college, I worked in the newspaper industry, circulation, getting the newspapers out to people. That wasn’t as nearly as enjoyable work as being a college professor. But it did teach me a lot about deadlines. And I think that that’s been helpful to me in my academic career. We academics are sometimes a little lax about deadlines, and you’re never lax about deadlines in the newspaper industry.
What research or teaching accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of what we did to build the program in international studies as a program. It went from a relatively small program to quite a large one and one, in fact, that would be attractive to moving to the Bush School. So that was I feel like an important accomplishment.
What is your favorite class to teach and why?
I love to take students on study abroad trips. So one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done is done dozens of abroad trips with students, and it’s always an exciting and meaningful experience to them the way a lot of times it’s not only the first time they’ve ever been abroad, it’s the first time they’ve ever been on an airplane. It’s exciting and you see the change in students feelings and attitudes about the world almost immediately.