Teacher of the Year, Peter Feaver


Feaver: students' choice for exceptional teaching.

Peter Feaver definitely makes an impression on his students. One, in nominating him for the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, wrote, “He constantly pushes his students to dig deeper and engage with the material on a practical level.” His classes are described as “the most demanding courses that I have taken at Duke.” Another said he “demands perfection from his students, never accepting anything but the best-quality work, analysis, and writing.” And, he is “incredibly approachable,” while taking “that extra step to help a student excel.”

Feaver, associate professor of political science, was chosen from a field of fifty-four student nominations representing forty-three different Duke faculty members. The annual award, sponsored by the Duke Alumni Association, is administered by a student committee, which presents its selection to the DAA board’s Awards and Recognition Committee for approval. The award is presented at Founders’ Day.

Feaver earned his bachelor’s degree in international relations at Lehigh University. While pursuing his master’s in political science at Harvard University and his Ph.D., from 1985 to 1990, he was a teaching fellow and an assistant senior tutor in one of its undergraduate houses. In 1987, he was awarded a Harvard Certificate of Distinction in Teaching.

During his time at Harvard, he was a fellow in the Avoiding Nuclear War Project at the Kennedy School of Government, a Harvard MacArthur fellow, and then a John A. Olin pre- and postdoctoral fellow at the Center for International Affairs. In 1990-91, he was a Mershon postdoctoral fellow at the Mershon Center at Ohio State University.

He is the author of Guarding the Guardian: Civilian Control of Nuclear Weapons and has written articles that have appeared in The Los Angeles Times and The Christian Science Monitor. His other writings include a book chapter on American nuclear doctrine in A Primer for the Nuclear Age, and chapters on the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy in Target Earth. He has served as an adviser to the National Security Council and other agencies on nuclear-arms issues.

The teaching award includes a $5,000 stipend and $1,000 for a Duke library to purchase books recommended by the recipient. Feaver selected books for the government documents section.

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