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Phi Beta Kappa Recognizes Government Department Faculty for Excellence

Award recipients Helena Buckham (left) and Professor Smith (right) with the PIPS scholarsThe Alpha of Virginia Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa held their annual John D. Rockefeller Jr. Faculty Awards on March 8, 2023. Each year, the chapter recognizes a William & Mary faculty member for their excellence in teaching. This year, Professor Dennis Alcides Velazco Smith of the Government Department won the award for Excellence in Teaching. The chapter also recognizes an emeritus professor for their departmental achievement. This award allows the professor to nominate a graduating senior to receive the award on their behalf. This year, Professor Emeritus T.J. Cheng received the award for Departmental Achievement and nominated graduating senior, Helena Buckham. 

Professor Smith teaches courses in International Relations and security.  He also is the co-director of William & Mary’s Project on International Peace and Security (PIPS). PIPS is an undergraduate think tank housed at the Global Research Institute, which aims to produce rigorous and original foreign policy analysis for the U.S. national security community.  Professor Smith directs this project with Professor Amy Oakes. 

Professor T.J. Cheng retired in the fall of 2022 and currently edits the Taiwan Journal of Democracy. His primary interests are in comparative political economy and East Asian development. He has published numerous journal articles and book chapters, co-authored Newly Industrializing East Asia in Transition and co-edited Political Change in Taiwan, Inherited Rivalry, The Security Environment in the Asia-Pacific, New Leadership and New Agenda, Religious Organizations and Democracy in Contemporary Asia, and China Under Hu Jintao. 

Helena Buckham is majoring in government and history and graduating this spring 2023. Alongside Professor Smith, she is an active member of the PIPS program researching civil activism and online piracy. She is a McGlennon Scholar in the Government Department, a member of Alpha Phi Omega, and has been a teaching assistant for Dr. Holmes’s Introduction to International Politics for the past three years. Helena also served as president of the Moot Court Team this past year. Currently, she is writing her honors thesis on government-initiated shutdowns.