“The faculty member selected for this unique endowed professorship must have a demonstrated record of career commitments to teaching, students and active citizenship and civic involvement, as exemplified by Prof. Soles, one of UD's most revered former faculty members,” Rich said. “Dr. Joe Pika fully meets these high expectations and distinctive requirements. He is an outstanding teacher who is widely recognized as an exceptional mentor to students, and he is a recognized leader in public service to the many communities that the University of Delaware serves, particularly in the domain of public education.”
Pika joined the UD faculty in 1981 and is known throughout the University, the community and the state for his interest and involvement in education and government at local and state levels, as well as at UD.
At UD, Pika has chaired the Department of Political Science and International Relations from 1994-99 and from 2000-2002, received UD's Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Advising awards and the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Service Award. He served as faculty director of the Delaware Social Studies Education Project from 1999-2001.
He now serves as director of Secondary Education Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, director of the Center for Secondary Teacher Education and the director of Southern Delaware Professional Development. He also is co-director of the Delaware College Access Network.
He is known throughout Delaware for his interest and involvement in education and government at local and state levels. On the state level, while on partial leave, Pika served as executive director of the Governor's Commission on Government Reorganization Effectiveness in 1993. In 1994, he was appointed to the Delaware State Board of Education and served as president from 2001-05. In that position, he also was an ex officio member of the UD's Board of Trustees.
Pika's research focuses on American government, with an emphasis on the presidency, political leadership, education policy and Delaware politics. He is the coauthor of Confrontation and Compromise: Presidential and Congressional Leadership, 2001-2006 and The Politics of the Presidency, now in its seventh edition. He is coauthor of an upcoming book, Understanding American Democracy: American Democracy in Context.
Pika received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Johns Hopkins University and his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
James R. Soles is the Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Relations. Among his honors, he received the Award of Excellence from the Department of Public Instruction, the Liberty Bell Award from the Delaware State Bar Association and the del Tufo Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities from the Delaware Humanities Forum. He was named Delaware Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and received UD's Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Advising awards. Through donations from alumni and friends, the James R. Soles Citizenship Endowment was established to support undergraduate and graduate students involved in public service and the James R. Soles Professorship in Political Science.
Article by Sue Moncure
Photo by Kathy Atkinson