Faculty & Staff
Avery Point Faculty Profile: Dick Cole
By Liz Kading
Called to Teach
When he retired as a Commander after twenty years in the Coast Guard, Dr. Richard Cole felt he was “ready to tackle teaching.” Dr. Cole, who had been a public school teacher in the late 1960s, joined the Coast Guard in 1969 and completed law school at the University of Virginia in 1975. Cole enjoyed practicing law in the Coast Guard, but a stint as a Professor of Law at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT, brought him back to his roots as a teacher. Upon retiring from the service in 1991, he made the decision to pursue a career as a teacher rather than open a private law practice. To that end, the unassuming father of two returned to school himself, earning both an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Connecticut. Since joining the Avery Point faculty in 1999, Dr. Cole has been a popular instructor who challenges his students to think critically about government and the law and to actively participate in the political process. He has inspired many of his students to major or minor in Political Science, and even to go on to law school.
Focus on the Supreme Court
As an Assistant Professor in Residence at Avery Point, Dr. Cole teaches courses in Constitutional Rights & Liberties, Law & Society, and Constitutional Law. While he enjoys exploring with his students all aspects of the judicial system and the structure of government, he admits that he especially enjoys reading about, teaching, and discussing the Supreme Court. “My favorite class is Constitutional Rights & Liberties because I get to focus on the Supreme Court and issues such as free speech and freedom of religion,” he remarks. This focus on Supreme Court decisions frequently leads to lively in-class debates that often continue outside the classroom.
Avery Point Advantages
According to Dr. Cole, one of the chief advantages for both students and instructors at Avery Point is the small size of classes, which enables the faculty to provide students with more individual attention. As further incentives for students to consider the regional campus, he points to the “amazing quality of teaching talent” at Avery Point, as well as the wide range of programs available on campus (including the potential for students to complete the requirements for a minor in Political Science). Dr. Richard Cole’s enthusiasm for UConn’s seaside campus is unqualified; he states, “At Avery Point, not only do I have the opportunity to teach what most interests me, but I also get to know the whole spectrum of students. As a teacher, I can’t imagine a better existence.”
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