Cushing-Daniels Awarded Harold G. Evans Chair of Eisenhower Leadership Studies
By Emma Padrick, Staff Writer
Associate Professor of Economics Brendan Cushing-Daniels plays many different roles on campus. In addition to previously serving as chair of the economics department for six years, he currently teaches microeconomics at all levels and acts as faculty advisor to the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. This year, Cushing-Daniels is taking his involvement one step further as the new Harold G. Evans Professor of Eisenhower Leadership Studies.
This prestigious position is part of the college’s Eisenhower Institute and serves to mentor the Institute’s Undergraduate Fellows during its three-year term. The Undergraduate Fellows program consists of select Gettysburg College seniors who research a theme — this year, working with outgoing Evans Professor Shirley Anne Warshaw from the political science department, they are studying transportation policy — and take what Cushing-Daniels calls a “deep dive” into that particular field.
In addition to mentorship, Cushing-Daniels will choose next year’s theme with the help of the 2018-2019 Fellows. When asked what potential field he has in mind, he cites the art of compromise, one of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s lesser-known strengths, and how today’s political landscape has both been shaped by and is currently lacking in it.
“Many people would agree that compromise is not inherently political at this point in our political system,” Cushing-Daniels remarked. “My goal is to get students to think about what it would take to get there, why we don’t compromise as much in our current political climate, and to try and devise solutions in regard to this issue.”
Cushing-Daniels is no stranger to the political sphere himself. In addition to writing his dissertation on the public policy of welfare migration, he spent two years working with Congress on Social Security reform, but returned to teach at the college and has remained active on campus ever since.
The Eisenhower Leadership Studies chair will open a new chapter in his Gettysburg story. A typical endowed chair often carries with it a significantly reduced course load, increase in research funding, and accelerated sabbatical cycle, but this particular position is different. Although he will be teaching four courses instead of five, the real importance to Cushing-Daniels is the honor of having been appointed and the ability to engage students and help them devise programming over the next few years.
Because his new position is focused on mentorship and deciding on a field of study for the students, Cushing-Daniels doesn’t see this appointment as significantly altering the trajectory of his career path. He does, however, consider this a great honor and an incredibly important chance to shape the program.
“This is exactly the sort of opportunity that I think places like Gettysburg College should have,” Cushing-Daniels says, in reference to the Undergraduate Fellows program. “This is a way for me to…bring [students] into the research process in a very active way…by interacting with policy makers and really crossing the spectrum.”