A-Z Index  |  Site Map  


Don Dugi

Professor of Political Science; Program Director

Haupt Humanities 2
Transylvania University
300 North Broadway
Lexington, KY 40508-1797

Phone: (859) 233-8233
e-mail Don Dugi

“My primary responsibility as a teacher is to empower people, not to give them stuff.”

Political science professor Don Dugi's proficiency in the classroom can be attributed in part to the fact that he's been teaching most of his life. At the small rural Texas school Dugi attended as a child, each teacher was responsible for two classes, prompting them to ask bright students like Dugi to assist their peers. At St. Mary's University, where he completed his bachelor's and master's degrees, Dugi was influenced by the personalities and techniques of many fine professors whom he encountered in small class settings.

"If your model for teaching is taking a survey course with 600 people and having a talking head professor and teaching assistants who lead your discussions, how can you know anything about effective teaching?" Dugi asks.

Dugi has been practicing effective teaching at Transylvania since 1975. His expertise was recognized in 2003 when he was named Kentucky Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

In Dugi's classroom, students are not passive learners, sitting silently and absorbing what their professor says. Assignments and discussions compel students to take an active role in their own education.

"One of the old models for teaching is the jug model, where students are viewed as vessels to be filled by someone else," says Dugi. "I think that's totally bogus. People are going to learn more when you help them own it rather than when you just give them stuff."

Dugi's influence on his students reaches far beyond the classroom. His month-long workshop to prepare students for the law school admissions test and application process has helped Transylvania students gain admission to top law schools, including Harvard, Stanford, Duke, and Columbia. Every student that Transylvania recommends to law school is accepted.

Additionally, Dugi has served as Student Government Association advisor, sponsor for both the College Democrats and College Republicans, and supervisor of Transylvania's legislative internship program.

Fellow faculty members also have benefited from Dugi's leadership, most notably through his three-year Bingham-Young Professorship, which created opportunities for faculty members to investigate the concept of race as both an intellectual and pedagogical concern. The program ultimately influenced both individual teaching and course offerings.

Dugi says he doesn't have a teaching philosophy. "I have a code, and my code is to leave people in a place better off for my having been there," he says. "Not in a delusional way, but in an objective way."

Want to know more about Transylvania's political science program?

Academic history

Courses taught

Areas of research


Academic History

  • Ph.D., Purdue University, 1981
  • M.A., St. Mary's University, 1971
  • B.A., St. Mary's University, 1969

Courses Taught

  • Over sixty different courses
  • American Political Thought
  • U.S. Political Behavior
  • Congress and the Presidency
  • U.S. State and Urban Politics
  • Darwin, Gender, and Social Theory (team taught with philosophy professor Jack Furlong)

Areas of Research

  • U.S. politics
  • Public policy
  • Political theory


  • 2003 Kentucky Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education
  • Bingham Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Bingham-Young Professor, 1999-2002

 List of Faculty »

© 2003-2016 Transylvania University. All rights reserved.

Transylvania University admits students regardless of age, race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, national origin, or any other classification protected by federal or state law or local ordinance.Transylvania University is committed to ensuring that the institution is free of harassment and discrimination on the basis of race, color, citizenship status, sex, age, disability, pregnancy, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief or veteran's status, or any other category protected by applicable state or federal law or local ordinance. Click here to read our full non-discrimination policy. Title IX information