Get to know Mercer University‘s faculty members a little better through our “Faculty Flashback” series. Some of our professors will be sharing personal and professional details of their lives in a Q&A as well as then-and-now photos from today and their college days.
Dr. Eimad Houry, professor of political science and chair of the international affairs program, has worked at Mercer since August 1991. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business economics from Florida A&M University and a master’s degree in international affairs and Ph.D. in political science from Florida State University.
1. What advice, related to life or college, would you offer students at Mercer now?
Two pieces of advice: I encourage my students to start cultivating relationships with faculty as soon as they arrive on campus and to believe that they possess the skills and knowledge required to be competitive in their post-graduate pursuits. Students generally do not adequately appreciate the value and utility of the education and experiences they receive at Mercer, which is why I am always very intentional in helping them recognize that they can compete successfully during and after they graduate from Mercer.
2. What is something you wish you knew in college that you know now?
At the time I attended college, access to information about opportunities was still very limited. More recently, with information at our fingertips, many students do not take the time or make the effort to explore what opportunities or possibilities are available to them on and off the campus. In addition, I have also come to appreciate how much of an impact faculty have, not just on the quality of education students receive but on their life and career choices as well. I wish I had been more methodical in getting to know my faculty and asking for their guidance and support when I was a student in college.
3. What made you want to join the team at Mercer?
I came to Mercer in 1991 when the political science department was lacking a specialist in international and comparative politics. I decided to stay at Mercer for the long term because of the freedom I was afforded to teach what I want and how I want to. With supportive colleagues and engaged students, I have had the fortune to teach a wide array of courses in my career at Mercer, most of which have been in areas or subjects that fall outside of the traditional graduate training offered by political science programs.
4. What do you love most about your work?
Students. I appreciate the opportunity to get to know them, see them grow academically, mature, and achieve as students and as individuals. To me, succeeding as a teacher does require clear and effective delivery of information, but more importantly, it also requires a lot of mentoring and guidance for students who are exploring different options or are unsure about the direction of their future. I try to encourage students to gain experience through internships, volunteering, developing their own initiatives on and off the campus, research and, most importantly, having a plan.
5. What are some of the projects/accomplishments you’ve been most proud of in your career so far?
The biggest and proudest impact I have had at Mercer has been the creation of the international affairs program. Despite the limited number of international courses offered in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, students who have selected to major in international affairs have racked up impressive achievements such as holding the highest number of Fulbright Scholarships among Mercer graduates, matriculating in seven of the top graduate programs in international studies across the globe, and realizing prominent positions in both the private and public sectors.
6. What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of work?
I am a huge soccer fan and enjoy sampling cuisines from across the globe, so long as the dish is not very spicy!