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2016 NDUS Arts & Humanities Summit Speaker Biography

Mark Stephen Jendrysik  is a Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. He has been a faculty member at the University of North Dakota since 1999. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His B.A. is from Providence College. He is proud to share Chicopee, Massachusetts as his hometown with famed utopian author Edward Bellamy. (Be sure to read Looking Backward someday.)

Prior to his appointment at UND he held visiting positions at Bucknell University (1996-98) and the University of Mississippi (1998-99). He also held a post-doctoral appointment at the Center for Survey Research of the University of Virginia (1995-96). He likes to say that he was “seeing America one college at a time.”

Jendrysik has published and presented papers on early modern political thought, public opinion methodology, ethnic politics in the United States, utopian political theory, and contemporary American political thought. He is the author of Explaining the English Revolution: Hobbes and His Contemporaries (Lexington, 2002) and Modern Jeremiahs: Contemporary Visions of American Decline (Rowman and Littlefield, 2008). His recent publications include, “Egalitarian Populism on the High Plains. Or, Why Are There No Parking Meters in North Dakota?” with Dana Michael Harsell, The Journal of Popular Culture Volume 46.2, 2013 (394-410) and “Fundamental Oppositions: Utopia and the Individual,” in The Individual and Utopia: A Multidisciplinary Study of Humanity and Perfection, Clint Jones and Cameron Ellis, eds., Ashgate, 2015 (27-44).

Professor Jendrysik’s teaching interests include ancient and modern political thought, utopian political ideas, contemporary American political culture, ethics, and American government. He believes, as did Friedrich Nietzsche, that “a teacher has an obligation to make himself accessible to every level of intellect.”

He is committed to the high ideals of universal, public education. He believes, as did Mark Twain, that “public education IS democracy.”

He is a member of a number of professional societies including the American Political Science Association, the Popular Culture Association and the Society for Utopian Studies. He also holds memberships in a number of honorary societies including Pi Sigma Alpha. He is a Renaissance member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and served as the faculty fellow for the North Dakota Alpha chapter from 2004-13. He is the Truman Scholarship Representative for UND and encourages students interested in a career in public service to meet with him to see if they might join the thirteen UND winners of this prestigious and life-changing award.

Dr. Jendrysik credits his grandfather Stephen B. Jendrysik, with getting him interested in politics. He likes to say that, "my grandfather made me watch the Watergate hearings in 1973 this was my start as a political scientist." He also points to his father Stephen R. Jendrysik for supporting his interest. Dr. Jendrysik notes that political discussions were a staple in the Jendrysik family. Dr. Jendrysik also notes that his professors at Providence College especially, Mark Hyde and William Hudson, made him want to be a professional academic. At the University of North Carolina, Jack Donnelly, Mike Lienesch and Steve Leonard were role models.

He is pleased to note that his father has published four books on the history of Chicopee, Massachusetts. He is also pleased to note that his cousin, Father Walter Ciszek, SJ is being considered for sainthood. He recommends Father Walter's books With God in Russia and He Leadth Me to those seeking spiritual insight.

A lifelong Red Sox and Patriots fan, he has no time for bandwagoning Johnny-Come-Latelies.  He also firmly believes that soccer is America’s sport of the future and looks forward to our boys winning the World Cup in 2018. (Even though he knows that won’t happen.) He was thrilled our women’s team won it all last year in Canada!

Other speakers will be selected from the submitted abstracts.