Olena Lennon, Ph.D.

Olena Lennon Headshot
Political Science Adjunct Faculty

Division of Humanities and Center for Learning Resources
College of Arts and Sciences

Ph.D. Educational Leadership & Higher Education with concentrations in Political Science and Qualitative & Quantitative Psychometric Measures, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

M.A. Educational Administration, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

M.A. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Horlivka Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages

B.A. English, Horlivka Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages

About Dr. Olena Lennon

Dr. Olena Lennon is an adjunct faculty of Political Science, teaching such courses as the U.S. Foreign & Defense Policy, International Relations, Conflict Resolution, and American Government.

Dr. Olena Lennon's Teaching Philosophy

I first started teaching in Ukraine. After three years of teaching, I received a Fulbright scholarship to study Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where I earned a second Master’s in Educational Administration and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, with minors in Political Science (International Relations) and Statistics. On completion of my Ph.D. in 2011, I moved back to Ukraine for two years to fulfill my Fulbright obligations.

I returned to the U.S. shortly before the onset of the war in eastern Ukraine. With my family remaining in an active war zone, I have kept my finger on the pulse through direct communication with people on the ground, local media outlets, and frequent travels. I have since dedicated my academic research to the questions of political legitimacy, conflict management, and identity politics. My work appeared in Foreign Affairs, Demokratizatsiya, Eurasian Geography and Economics, The Journal of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University, Higher Education in Europe, The National Interest, Nationalities Papers, Journal of Political Risk, Yale Global, and others.

My approach to teaching is being a student. I learn from my students and my teaching philosophy is constantly evolving. Not a day goes by that I don’t reflect on ways I can improve my students’ learning. My teaching is an organic process and it changes with time. But there are three fundamental principles that are timeless. First, I believe that students learn better when they have a sense of ownership of their learning. I structure my classes in such a way as to allow each student to find, cultivate, and maximize their individual interests and passions. Second, learning is most effective when it is experiential. I believe every time students walk out of the classroom, they must understand how material learned in class can be applied in their daily lives. My third principle of teaching is finding an individual approach to every student based on their unique learning preferences and abilities. But what’s even more timeless for me than those three principles is the three loves, famously described by Scott Hayden: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.

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Selected Publications

Lennon, O., Sotnyk, O. (June 2020), "Ukraine's Strategic Choices vis-à-vis Occupied Donbas: Striking a Balance between the Possible and the Desirable," Krytyka, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, https://krytyka.com/en/articles/ukraines-strategic-choices-vis-vis-occupied

Lennon, O. Book Review of Paul J. D'Anieri's "Ukraine and Russia: From Civilized Divorce to Uncivil War" Harvard Ukrainian Studies, The Journal of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University, Volume 36 (Number 3–4), 2019 (Pages 512-514). ISBN: 9781108713955

Lennon, O. (November 2019), "Why the Fight for the Hearts and Minds of People in Donbas Remains Urgent Today," Krytyka, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, https://krytyka.com/en/articles/why-fight-hearts-and-minds-people-donbas

Lennon, O. (2019). “Six Reasons the ‘Opposition Platform’ Won in Eastern Ukraine,” Kennan Cable 45, Wilson Center, December 9, 2019, https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/kennan-cable-no-45-six-reasons-the-opposition-platform-won-eastern-ukraine

Lennon, O., Adams, G. (2019). "All is quiet on the Russian front: ceasefires and the pursuit of legitimacy by self-proclaimed "republics" in Ukraine" Eurasian Geography and Economics, July 30, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1080/15387216.2019.1645032. (Peer-reviewed)

Lennon, O., Becker, A. (2019). "Belarus at a Crossroads: Will the Russia-Ukraine War Make or Break It? An analysis of Belarus’s External Orientation Following the Maidan Revolution" forthcoming in Demokratizatsiya (peer-reviewed), 27 (3), pp. 319-348. (Peer-reviewed)

Lennon, O. (2018). "Documentary review of Peter Entell’s Like Dew in the Sun," Nationalities Papers 2018, 1-2. https://doi.org/10.1017/nps.2018.53. (Peer-reviewed)

Lennon, O. (2016). The Role of Donbas Universities in Reconciliation and Prevention of Future Conflicts in Ukraine. A policy paper written and presented as a part of the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s project "Rimlands, Buffer Zones, and Great Power Rivalry." Published by Columbia University Institute of War and Peace Studies. http://www.siwps.org/research/ukraine-between-russia-and-the-west-buffer-or-flashpoint-2/

Lennon, O. (2016). Ukraine’s Imaginary Patients: Why Health Care Reform is Long Overdue, Fair Observer, January 26, 2016.

Lennon, O., Milakovsky, B. (2015). Is Europe’s Buffer Zone in Ukraine Keeping it Safe? Fair Observer, December 4, 2015. Article named in the list of top 30 articles of 2015 (#21) on Johnson's Russia List, a project of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.

Lennon, O. (2015). Wanted: Competent Foreigners to Work for Ukrainian Government. YaleGlobal, 27 October 2015.

Lennon, O., Laskin, A. The Winners and Losers of anti-Russian Sanctions. Journal of Political Risk, 3(10), August 2015. (Peer-reviewed)

Lennon, O. (2015). No Time to Wait: Why Reconciliation in Ukraine Must (And Can) Happen Now. The National Interest, July 27, 2015.

Lennon, O. (2015). Abandoned: The Kiev Government's Isolation of Eastern Ukrainians. The National Interest, May 20, 2015.

Lennon, O. (2015). Ukrainian Politics Abroad. How the Ukrainian Diaspora Sees the Homeland. Foreign Affairs, March 17, 2015.

Kovtun, O. (2011). International student adaptation to a U.S. college: A mixed methods exploration of the impact of a specialized first-year course at a large Midwestern institution. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 48(3). DOI: 10.2202/1949-6605.6336. (Peer-reviewed)

Kovtun, O., Stick, S. (2009). Ukraine and the Bologna process: A case study of the impact of the Bologna process on Ukrainian state institutions. Higher Education in Europe, 34(1), 91-103. (Peer-reviewed)

Courses Taught
  • PSCI 2222 United States Foreign Policy
  • NSEC 4450 / NSPS 6674 / PSCI 4493 U.S. Foreign & Defense Policy
  • PSCI 2241 International Relations
  • PSCI 4498/NSEC 4456 Conflict Resolution
  • PSCI 1121 American Government and Politics
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