For Lander University assistant professor of political science Dr. Lucas McMillan, the 2011-12 academic year has been, and should continue to be, a year of impressive career milestones.
Along with being named Lander's 2011 Young Faculty Scholar, honoring his achievements as a teacher and researcher, he is anticipating the release of his first book, The Involvement of State Governments in U.S. Foreign Relations. Scheduled for release by Palgrave Macmillan of New York in February 2012, the book explores the increasing involvement of U.S. states and governors in international issues since the 1950s, and analyzes which states and governors are most likely to be engaged in foreign relations activities.
Writing the book has been a yearlong process and his research on the topic even earned him an interview for a November 2011 article in The Washington Post. He said, "I've enjoyed the experience, putting my research out there and having discussions with other scholars. I hope my research is useful and helps inform others about what happens in public policy."
McMillan has always had an interest in politics but didn't know which direction it would take him until studying abroad. "Studying abroad really enlightened me and travel gave me a lot of confidence," he said. "Teaching has seemed to be the right profession because I really enjoy what I do."
McMillan is president of the South Carolina Political Science Association and is very active in professional and civic organizations. He earned a bachelor's degree from Wofford College and spent a semester studying at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. After earning his master's in international relations from the University of Warwick in England, he completed his Ph.D. in political science at the University of South Carolina.
He says he is honored to receive Lander's Young Faculty Scholar Award, especially given the many Lander professors who are actively engaged in scholarship and research.
He said he is most proud of accomplishments in the classroom, especially when students get involved in assignments and learn beyond their own expectations. One of his favorite teaching methods involves role playing in class, such as conducting a simulation of the United Nations Security Council. "The students had to figure out how to handle the biggest problems," McMillan said. "They loved the experience of role playing and I found it very rewarding as a professor. It makes politics relevant and gives them skills to succeed in different careers."
McMillan is the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lucas Horton of Abbeville and the son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel D. McMillan of Mullins. He and his wife, Lisa Cameron McMillan, have two sons, Will and Henry.