International Politics lecturers to retire

interpolINTERNATIONAL Politics Professor Martin Alexander is to retire from the University at the beginning of March, joining Ian Clark as high profile retires from the department this academic year.

Affectionately known as ‘The Brig’ to many of his students, Professor Alexander joined the University in 2001 after being Professor of Contemporary History and Politics at the University of Salford since 1993, and spent time at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island previous to that. He is also the current President of the Aberystwyth Branch of the Royal British Legion.

Largely a military historian by interest, his research has focussed on French History since 1914 and war since the late 19th century, teaching popular Undergraduate modules on “The Vietnam War”, “Warfare after Waterloo 1915-1918”, and “De Gaulle’s France 1919-1970”.

Known for his enthusiastic lecturing style, and often being spotted walking around campus in near-fully camouflaged attire, he has always been popular with students with a lot of them saddened by his departure. His metaphor of Aberystwyth as The Eagles’ “Hotel California” was also something students remembered, he famously said: “You can check out of Aberystwyth any time you like, but you can never leave”.

Students who have been taught by ‘The Brig’ have paid tribute, third year International Politics and History student Nathan Hazlehurst said “The Brig would always do that little bit extra; always going the extra mile to ensure your full potential could be reached.”

Huw Owen, a masters student who graduated in 2012 said “My favourite memory was him always coming in French military costume for the Vietnam War module, as well as giving us American Hershey Bars and Coors Light for being the first to answer his trivia questions! But more than that, he always had time for his students and their queries, often including bits in seminars to help individual students.”

Lecturer Ian Clark’s retirement before Christmas also saw one of the departments longest-serving lecturers depart, having been at the University 1998, and was best known amongst undergraduate students for his module on political theory in the first year entitled “Introduction to International Politics”.

Speaking of the retirements, Head of Department Dr Jenny Mathers said: “A world-renowned expert in both international history and International Relations theory, Professor Clark’s publications have had a major impact on the field while his ability to communicate the big ideas of IR have made his Part One lectures so much enjoyed by generations of Interpol students. He will be much missed by staff and students alike, and his popularity was reflected by the many tributes sent in by current and former students via Twitter, which were read out at his retirement party recently. Professor Clark and his wife will be relocating to Australia, where they have family and many close friends.

Professor Martin Alexander is a leading expert in strategy and military history, with a particular interest in French military history. Professor Alexander’s modules have always been extremely popular with students, not least because of the way he made extensive use of props in his lectures, but also because of the care and attention that he gave to each student. The Department is planning a special event later this semester to mark Professor Alexander’s retirement, and we hope to get students involved in it.”