Chafee Takes Post at Brown University

Senator Lincoln Chafee has found a new gig. Starting in January, he will be , according to the a distinguished visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

It struck me as an odd appointment, frankly, given that Chafee lists no education beyond a bachelors degree–in Classics, no less. Granted, he is on the Foreign Relations Committee and is the chairman of its Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs; but he has only been in the Senate seven years and had no national or international experience prior to 1999. Still, many of the other Visiting Fellows lack terminal degrees and have less impressive practitioner backgrounds.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Burgess says:

    Getting a job at an educational facility has been a long tradition for politicians. For some, it’s only a place to hang their hats while they’re busy working on their next political office. For others, it’s a safe haven that avoids leaving a blank space on their resumes. Others simply need the regular paycheck.

    Didn’t John Edwards find a gig in some urban studies program created for him back home?

  2. DL says:

    The job most professors have at liberal institutions is similar to that of a Marine Corps Sargent at a recruiting station onlly they work for the other side.

    They are paid to convince the young mushheads to become liberals. Leftists economics -globla warming unscience -feminist and minority propagandizing and above all reject religion as being archaic and old fashioned.

  3. James Joyner says:


    It happens quite a bit, to be sure. And an a lot of them wind up with college presidencies, too.

    I’m of mixed minds, really. There’s no doubt that someone with Chafee’s experience has something worthwhile to impart to students, especially at a public policy school. I am leery, though, of universities becoming trade schools or, worse, chit-chat fests with retired greybeards telling tales of their past glory in lieu of reading the scholarly literature. Plus, frankly, having seen the job market from the PhD side, it’s annoying to see people without their “union card” getting plum positions.

  4. Not to mention that many of these jobs are very cushy (low teaching load and no service or research expectations to speak of) or well-paid compared to the pay for career academics. This is particularly troubling at state universities, where there’s a strong case to be made that the public doesn’t want a defeated politician on the state’s payroll.

  5. jpe says:

    I never took a polisci class while I was at Brown, but the impression I got was that it was heavily biased toward theory; if Chafee actually particpates in the classroom experience, it could add some needed pragmatic balance.