A Commitment to Learning

Animated and passionate about teaching, Del Dickson, PhD, JD, is a campus legend. A professor of political science and international relations at the University of San Diego, Dickson found his community on campus in 1987 and never left.

“I came from a small town where it had a real sense of community and I missed that when I left to go to college,” says Dickson. “The first minute I came on campus, I knew I was home.”

With the COVID-19 global pandemic changing the education landscape, Dickson has found comfort in the student connections he continues to make.

“School has changed a little bit, but it is very reassuring to me to be back doing what I love, which is teaching,” he says. “It’s very reassuring to my students to be back in class, whether they are on campus or not. It gives us a sense of normality, a sense of security, a sense of purpose and a sense of community when all those things are under pressure this year.”

Delivering the same high-quality education in a distanced learning environment has been key. “I want my distance learning classes to be as close to a live learning class as possible,” Dickson says. “We talk. We have conversations about the topics of the day. Sometimes it gets a little animated, but that’s kind of me.”

For more than three decades, Dickson has watched his students learn and grow in front of him. And while he admits this past year has been challenging, he is quick to point out that his students continue to inspire him.

“[It] has been like watching a flower bloom. It’s just been great to watch the students develop over the course of the semester and I’m just thinking of dozens of my students this semester who have really done well under less than ideal circumstances and I’ve been just so proud of them,” he says. “I should have expected it, because that’s kind of our student profile anyway, but I’ve been very pleased to see it.”

Allyson Meyer ’16 (BA), ’21 (MBA)