Jason J. Campbell, Ph.D.
Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Learning without Obstacles
Jason J. Campbell, Ph.D., typifies the new wave of fresh, young professors. But there isn’t anything typical about him. At age 34, he is a self-described member of Generation X, and uses modern mediums such as YouTube—he’s had 40,000 views to his video page that features his lectures on conflict and genocide— and an online blog to offer what he calls “learning without obstacles.”
The assistant professor of conflict resolution and philosophy in the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) at NSU knows his ideas work. He’s received emails from international students in Australia and Singapore. One student wrote to him after watching Campbell’s video lecture posted online about José Ortega y Gasset. The student said the video discussion helped him more than anything he had read in his studies about the Spanish philosopher.
“Knowledge should be accessible immediately and it shouldn’t be a difficult and arduous process for someone to tap into it. This next generation of educated people wants to know more, but they want it sooner,” said Campbell.
When the professor talks, you understand he is a man on a mission. Not only does he want to get information out to as many people as possible, but there’s another path he’d like to forge. He is intent on helping to put NSU on the map as a global player in his field of study: genocide.
This fall, Campbell began teaching Foundations of Genocide, which explores prevention strategies and increases awareness of genocide. Geared to political science students, the class also has undertones of philosophy. “This will give students a better understanding of contemporary genocide. It affects so many parts of the world.”
According to Campbell, this is the first genocide class offered to students seeking an M.S. or Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from NSU’s SHSS.
“Jason’s work with genocide will have a significant impact on how we understand genocide,” said Honggang Yang, Ph.D., dean of SHSS. “It will contribute to genocide prevention through research and the design of intervention and prevention theories and models. His work is socially relevant and shows that NSU is on the cutting edge of helping to solve world problems.”
If he has it his way, some of the top social scientists in the field of genocide study will be tapped as guest lecturers in SHSS classrooms. Campbell’s passion hits a fever pitch when he talks about his students having access to speakers who would usually visit Ivy League schools. “How cool would it be if you were in a classroom with about 50 other students, and you were listening to one of these world-recognized scholars?”
Campbell’s own reputation makes that idea more than a dream. When he completed his Ph.D. in Sociopolitical Philosophy at the University of South Florida in Tampa, the offers came in from several schools urging him to join their faculty.
“NSU was the right place for me,” said Campbell, who was hired at NSU in August 2009, days after he earned his Ph.D. “I wanted to be at a place that gave me the ability to grow. NSU has that pioneering spirit. At another school, a new faculty member wouldn’t be able to do research that wasn’t in line with a traditional university structure. Here it’s not only doable, it’s encouraged.”
But there was a more personal reason NSU felt like the right fit. “I guess you could say I felt like I was coming home,” said Campbell. A Cooper City High School graduate, Campbell grew up in South Florida. Born in Jamaica, Campbell’s family moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Florida after his parents divorced. “My mom was a single mother with six kids,” he said, adding that, as the oldest at age 13, he had to help raise his siblings.
In Campbell’s classroom, he instills in his students that there are no limits—no limits to learning and no limits to achieving dreams, goals, and desires.
“I hope that when people watch my videos and see who I am, they are inspired. I’d like them to say, ‘If he can do it, I can do it.’ I’d like them to realize that it isn’t about intellect or being the product of great genes. It’s really about perseverance,” said Campbell.