FIYou: John F. Clark

Name: John F. Clark

Hometown: Brunswick, Ga.

Job Title/Department: Professor, Department of Politics and International Relations.

Campus: Modesto A. Maidique Campus

In a nutshell: I teach and do research on African politics, Africa’s international relations and international relations theory.

Number of years at FIU: 20

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The chance to travel to Africa for research, and the chance to describe my adventures (many of them true!) and research findings to the students in my classes.

What do you think students and your fellow faculty/staff should know about your department?

Firstly, we have nearly 1,700 majors, and between August 2009 and August 2010, we graduated 16 Ph.D.s. Secondly, besides English and Spanish, my department speaks Arabic, Bulgarian, (Haitian) Creole, Farsi, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Tajik and Zulu, among others.

Where is your favorite spot on campus? Why?

The gazebo next to the DM building, which has a plaque on it honoring professor Chris Gray. (Chris taught African history at FIU before his death in 2000.) This serene place reminds me of a dear friend, a man of great love, intelligence and integrity.

What is one thing you wish everyone knew about FIU?

What a wonderful job the Faculty Union (the UFF) has done promoting the professionalism of the faculty and championing the causes of our students.

How is FIU “Worlds Ahead”?

FIU is Worlds Ahead because its students are among the most diverse in the world, and because its faculty and administration are devoted to making us a world-class research institution.

Family snapshot:

I lost my two brothers many years ago, and my mom has advancing Alzheimer’s disease. But my Dad, part of the “Greatest Generation,” still embodies selflessness, honor, tolerance and good humor at 84 years old. I adore my Cuban-American in-laws, especially “mi suegra,” Oilda Alonso. My wife Esther and daughter Samantha are the loves of my life. I’m a Cubano wannabe!

Word that best describes you: Reflective.

First paying job: Selling eggs to my neighbors. It was a perfect business model: My dad bought the feed for the chickens.

Favorite TV show: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

What is playing on your iPod?

Before I accidentally erased the music, everything from Paul McCartney to Wilco to Koffi Olomide.

Your proudest accomplishment:

It would be leading the International Relations Department for six-and-a-half years, during which time we doubled our enrollments, facilitated a $500,000 gift to FIU and brought the Broad Lecture Series to the university, among other accomplishments.

What do you do when you are not working at FIU?

I’m usually working at home or playing with my daughter. But I do love a competitive round of disc golf at beautiful Kendall Indian Hammocks Park.