I am passionate about teaching, and absolutely love challenging students to expand their worldviews and become critical thinkers. I expect a lot from my students and push them to think and read beyond the assigned text and news headlines in order to connect theories to real-world examples. I am committed to high-engagement teaching, and I take seriously my responsibilities to empower each of my students to not only succeed in my classes, but to thrive as they seek careers in political science.

I build my curricula and classroom experience around three learning goals:

  1. I encourage students to develop critical thinking skills to prepare them to better identify the ‘signal’ from the ‘noise’ in an increasingly information-dense environment.
  2. I empower my students intellectually through highly participatory classroom settings in which they express and interact with diverse ideas and views.
  3. I focus on connecting classwork to practice by working with students to ensure that they can find internships and entry-level jobs that will allow them to go and make a difference beyond the classroom.


University of Maryland – 2018 Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Instructor

Courses Taught

Pennsylvania State University

PLSC 14 – Introduction to International Relations
GLIS 102N – Global Pathways: Democracy in the 21st Century
AFR 110N – Introduction to Contemporary Africa

University of Maryland

GVPT 203 – Challenges of Authoritarianism
GVPT 354 – International Development and Conflict Management
GVPT 355 – Capstone in International Conflict Management
GVPT 356 – Capstone in International Development
GVPT 459G – Weak and Failing States in the International System

Office Hours

Office hours are by reservation only. Students can reserve space on my Office Hours Calendar. Hours are given first-come, first-served priority.

Select Evaluations

“Professor Lewis is inspiring and extremely bright. He is able to break down often difficult to understand concepts into graspable ideas. He challenges his students to participate in class discussion and makes sure every student is able to earn full participation credit. Easily my favorite class I have taken at UMD thus far and highly recommend his class to an IR student. This class took broad strokes and covered the underlying theories that help explain much of the issues that plague the developing world.”

“Jacob led an awesome course. I say ‘led’ because he taught, but he was also so open to student suggestions and our own thoughts that the flow of information was not unilateral. He pushed us to examine our opinions and to use new frameworks to analyze states and international relations. Jacob is always available and willing to work with his students. I especially enjoyed the debates as we could build on each other’s ideas as a class and work out the nuances of how to identify and address a weak and failing state. One of my favorite classes thus far.”

“Jacob is absolutely fantastic and did his best to make the course as involved and engaging as possible. We learned so many practical skills that we can take with us to the development field. Each assignment / deliverable culminated in a final, fulfilling project. We now have skills that will take us far into the development world.”

“Jacob is one of the best professors I have had at the University of Maryland. He is extremely educated in the topics we cover and is great at relating to students to make the material even more interesting and relevant.”

“I consider the way that Dr. Lewis teach is an art. The way he teaches is really helpful for me to learn the materials and understand the lesson. Also, his class is really interesting and really help me understand how countries interact with each other. Also, the writing section improve my writing skills and I learn a lot in the process of writing those essays.”