Dr. Peter Carlson

2014 Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching
Professor of Government

Dr. Peter Carlson is driven by his love of teaching and of the special give-and-take atmosphere of the classroom. “All of us should want to come to class and be left wanting more when it’s over,” he says. “Education must be challenging and fun for all participants, both students and teacher.”

I believe my teaching strength is my ability to merge theory and practice in such a way that students are motivated for public service.

Dr. Peter Carlson

Carlson’s work focuses on criminal justice, political science and public administration, all areas he is passionate about. Through his teaching and research he tries to spark students’ interest in local, state and national public and nonprofit agencies. “I believe my teaching strength is my ability to merge theory and practice in such a way that students are motivated for public service.” Indeed, Carlson brings a wealth of real-world knowledge to this field; he had a 30-year career as a federal prison warden and as assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons before coming to Christopher Newport.

Carlson was drawn to CNU by the chance to share his commitment to public service and to shape hearts and minds. “Our students are the reason for being here, and they are exceptional,” he says. I truly enjoy being in the classroom every day and feel blessed to have the privilege of teaching the future leaders of our country.”

Great teachers model behavior and teach by example, and for Carlson, this is a guiding principle. “Civility and respect for others are characteristics that must be emphasized and demonstrated,” he says. “Students will open up and share their honest, critical thoughts if they believe their contributions are valued and respected.” He adds, “a professor’s job is to demand excellence, but we must be caring, supportive and nurturing. We have to create the passion to be excellent.”