Susan E. Penksa, Ph.D.

Political Science Professors Tom Knecht and Susan Penksa

Professor of Political Science

Dr. Susan E. Penksa is Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California.  She teaches in the areas of international and comparative politics and is a faculty adviser for the international affairs track of political science. Dr. Penksa received her Ph.D. in political science from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio (2000).

She is an international security & development specialist with fifteen years of applied research and field experience. Dr. Penksa has a consulting practice with national governments, international organizations and NGO’s.  Recent projects include advising the U.S. Mission to the EU on US-EU crisis management and best practices for security system reform and a consultancy for USAID-Pakistan on gender and development.

Dr. Penksa is a frequent contributor to strategic dialogue on global security. She has been an invited speaker of the European Parliament, the Austrian and Slovenian Presidencies of the EU, The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, The European Policy Centre, The International Civilian Office/EU Special Representative Office in Kosovo and the UK Embassy in Washington, D.C. Her extensive record of publications and invited presentations focus on EU foreign, security and defense policies; transatlantic security; democratization, governance and security system reform; peace support operations; peace-building and conflict transformation; human security; and gender as a cross-cutting issue of security and development.

Dr. Penksa is the recipient of the 2004 Westmont College Teaching Award and the 2005 Westmont College Faculty Research Award. She has served as a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (2005) and the Institute for European Studies (2010).  In 2007, she was appointed as a United States J. William Fulbright Scholar to Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a Fulbright scholar, Dr. Penksa taught the first course on the European Union at the University of Sarajevo and conducted a research project on security system reform. In 2010, she received a follow-on Fulbright award to return to BiH. Most recently, Dr. Penksa has co-authored a book on The European Union in Global Security: The Politics of Impact, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.