Months before the 2012 presidential election, Fast Company magazine named Matthew Schmidt, University of New Haven assistant professor of national security and political science, No. 22 on its list that year of the 100 Most Creative People in Business.
Now with the 2016 presidential election in the rearview mirror, Fast Company magazine, a publication with nearly 800,000 subscribers that bills itself as the only business media brand that inspires change, approached Schmidt again for its story examining how the president should be elected in 2020.
“I’d prefer a parliamentary system where the chief executive is elected from the majority party in Congress,” said Schmidt, an expert on strategic decision making. “That would ensure that legislation could pass and voters would vote out administrations whose legislation they’ve seen fail.”
Schmidt was the only college professor featured in the story:
How We Should Elect Our President In 2020 »
While the concept of proportional representation is his first choice, Schmidt concedes that the United States “will not adopt a system like that until there are significant crises brought about by the inability of the current system to act quickly and effectively.” But, he predicted, “It could happen by the end of the century.”
Schmidt taught military operations planning and political science at the U.S. Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies before joining the University in 2013.
“The two departments that I am a part of – national security and political science – are as good as anyone in the country,” he said. “We are small, and we are a bit unknown, but if you look at what we’ve done, we are world class.”
The son of, as he described, two brilliant high school educators, he said he views himself more as a coach than a teacher.
I feed my students enough information so that they begin to understand what it is they don’t know, so that they have enough information about where to go to find out more about what they want to do.
He creates learning opportunities outside of the classroom, such as regular trips to Washington, D.C. to meet with politicians and visit federal agencies or a special topics class on war he taught in Prato, Italy, that included visits to Kiev, Ukraine and Normandy.
He also challenges them to take on responsibility in groups and individually. Sometimes, of course, there are hiccups along the way, and that is OK, he said.
“A lot of what we practice is the skill of failing well, failing quickly and getting back up and trying again,” he said. “I like working with our students because they are hungry. And they know how to work.”