Some know him as a history instructor, some know him as the director of the Honors Program. In his sixteenth year at USD, Scott Breuninger has been promoted to full professor while balancing his administrative duties of running the honors program and academic duties in the history department.
Breuninger was hired in 2004 as a British historian after receiving his Ph.D in British and European intellectual history. Breuninger began research soon after and eventually wrote a book on the Irish philosopher George Berkeley titled Recovering Bishop Berkeley: Virtue and Society in the Anglo-Irish Context.
After being awarded tenure in 2010, Breuninger applied to be Director of the USD Honors Program. Breuniger said this position allows him to advise students and participate in research from a multitude of disciplines.
“It was an opportunity to work with the really interesting and exciting students who were drawn from all across campus, so it was a chance to contribute to undergraduate research not just in history, but throughout the entire university,” Breuninger said.
Six years later, Breuninger was promoted. The path to full professorship, Breuninger said, involved continuing his research beyond George Berkeley and into the Irish Enlightenment, which helped develop his reputation in his field. Being eligible for promotion also meant providing service on campus, which Breuninger achieved both as Director of the Honors Program and by innovating his teaching to introduce new material as well as keep older material fresh.
“(Innovative teaching means) not just teaching the same courses but developing new courses and new ways to approach the material of those courses within the classroom,” Breuninger said.
Breuninger said his new professorship gives him space to work on longer projects, as well as providing him the opportunity to contribute new coursework to students and USD.
Balancing the work of a history professor and Honors Program director is challenging, Breuninger said, but he manages to not become overwhelmed by his administrative duties by making time to work on purely academic pursuits.
“A lot of the administrative work is never really done, there’s always another email to answer or a policy to review,” Breuninger said. “It’s been a matter of putting aside time continue to work on research while also working on the administrative duties associated with running the honors program.”
Breuninger said being promoted to full professor was a meaningful acknowledgment of his service to the university.
“It’s great to be recognized for contributions to USD in terms of research, teaching and service and to have seen the changes and improvements and progress the university has made over the past 16 years,” Breuninger said.