As a sixth-grader, Terri Susan Fine asked library patrons if President Nixon should be impeached. Is it any surprise that she went on to study and teach politics?
A UCF faculty member since 1989, Fine has received many awards for excellence in teaching, service, advising and leadership. Her research interests include women and politics, public opinion and voting behavior.
When did you realize you’d pursue political science?
“In high school, I realized that key moments of my life were tied to political events. The day I took my first steps, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. My older siblings thought my mother was upset because I’d started walking.”
Where did you go to college?
“I went to the University at Albany in New York to study music and political science. I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees there. At the University of Connecticut, I discovered my love for teaching while working on my doctorate.”
What do you love about working at UCF?
“The professional growth opportunities. UCF is very supportive of research and new initiatives, which can mean new courses, new ways of teaching or new programs.”
What would you change about the American political system?
“Increase respect for unpaid work, in all forms that it takes. If more women were given prominent roles in politics, then there may be more respect for unpaid labor, such as the job of raising children.”
What do you do outside of UCF?
“I’ve served as an Orange County poll worker since 2004. The work is a direct and non-partisan way to experience politics and an important way to help voters form a positive view of the political process. Poll working also enhances my classroom instruction.”
What’s the funniest excuse you’ve ever heard from a student?
“A former student said he fell asleep on Monday evening and woke up Wednesday afternoon to explain why he missed the Tuesday exam.”
Is there a fact about yourself you’d be willing to share?
“If nothing had changed along the way, my name would be Esther Axelrod. My mother nicknamed me ‘Terri’ at age six months. My last name, Fine, was born at Ellis Island when my grandfather arrived from Russia. He spoke little English; his last name was Axelrod. When asked, ‘Who are you?’ he thought they asked, ‘How are you?’ and he said ‘Fine.’”