Barry McNamara  |   Published June 16, 2021

Haq Looks Back on 33 Years

Retiring political science professor ‘brought the world’ to Monmouth and community.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Asked how she would like her 33-year tenure at Monmouth College to be remembered, retiring political science professor Farhat Haq had a very apt seven-word response:

“That I brought the world to Monmouth.”

FARHAT HAQ: Award-winning political science professor traught at Monmouth from 1987 to 2020. FARHAT HAQ: Award-winning political science professor traught at Monmouth from 1987 to 2020.Haq, who is now serving as provost at Lahore University of Management Sciences in her native Pakistan, didn’t want her statement to come off as braggadocio. Rather, she was referring to a spectrum of global perspectives she brought to the campus and local community – from courses she taught on Islam, to exotic meals she prepared in her home for guests.

“The courses that I taught at Monmouth were very much about the world,” said Haq, who joined the faculty in 1987, the same year she received her doctorate in government from Cornell University. “And my home is a place where so many students and faculty members have come and shared food from a different part of the world.”

As is so often the case with a college education, the lessons Haq helped teach didn’t necessarily come from a textbook.

“My students could see the ways we could be different from each other – culturally, politically, spiritually – but yet connect with so many people,” she said. “Many of the students were from small towns that weren’t that diverse, but that didn’t matter. We all connected. Right now in our country, that’s something we need to understand, as our identities are overruling our actions. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings.”

Haq fondly remembers a Thanksgiving gathering at the home of her longtime department colleague, the late Ira Smolensky.

“We get to know our students in greater depth. We are part of their trials and tribulations. We worry about them. We get to know them as fellow human beings. And that’s a privilege.” Farhat Haq


“Around the table, we had four or five different religions represented,” she said. “There were people from Nepal, Japan, Germany, Pakistan. … I made great friends at Monmouth. There was tremendous diversity and so many interesting characters. Monmouth College was my home. I sensed it with my whole being, and I always knew that my well-being was connected to the College’s well-being.”

Emotions got the better of Haq as she discussed the importance of the connections and relationships that are central to the Monmouth experience.

“Through the years, people would ask me, ‘Why stay at Monmouth?’ The work we do at Monmouth College has been so meaningful. We have done something good. There’s a spirit here that takes over our whole being,” she said. “It’s not just a job for us. We get to know our students in greater depth. We are part of their trials and tribulations. We worry about them. We get to know them as fellow human beings. And that’s a privilege.”

Hired by Smolensky, Haq came to Monmouth with considerable knowledge and expertise, but little practice or experience.

“I remember it being very stressful in the beginning,” she said. “I was a new professor, struggling with a new culture, and I remember being petrified to teach class. I would type up my lectures. It seems so quaint. Now, I just have points in my mind, and I go from there.”

Smolensky, she said, was “laid back, and let me do my own thing,” which was another advantage of teaching at a small school.

“If I’d been at some larger institution, I’d have been in a silo, only teaching in my specific area,” she said. “I would’ve been straightjacketed. But at Monmouth, I had the opportunity to develop new courses. It was almost like I was still a student.”

In her sixth year on Monmouth’s faculty, Haq won the prestigious Burlington Northern Foundation Faculty Achievement Award. She has also received the College’s Hatch Academic Excellence Award in the areas of teaching and scholarship.

Haq’s expertise came into play midway through her tenure at Monmouth after 9/11.

“The department is now in a very strong position, and that’s a very important part of my ending chapter here. … We provide a solid, solid education in political science here, and that’s a point of satisfaction for me.” Farhat Haq


“I had that set of expertise with political Islam, and I was able to do some public education and engagement around that, helping people understand what Muslim and Islam is all about,” she said. “I made dozens of presentations (many through the Road Scholars program), mainly in Illinois, and was part of engaging the larger community.”

As Haq leaves Monmouth, she does so not only with gratitude for the connections she’s made with students and colleagues, but also with comfort in knowing she’s leaving the College’s political science department in good hands.

“When I first started, we had a very small department,” she said. “Ira and I were the only full-time faculty. We had a good partnership. And then we were able to bring in a third full-time member, and we’ve always had good part-time faculty, like Robin Johnson. The department is now in a very strong position, and that’s a very important part of my ending chapter here. It’s remarkable that even with our smaller number of faculty, we’ve prepared our students to get their PhDs, to go on to law school, or to get jobs after graduation. We provide a solid, solid education in political science here, and that’s a point of satisfaction for me.”

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