Eckerd’s well rounded staff continues to grow and draw new, experienced personalities to teach new courses. The newest addition: Professor Leslie Waters, adjunct professor of political science. Soon to be sworn in as mayor of Seminole, Fla., Waters has served as vice mayor and currently holds the position of interim mayor.
“I like Professor Waters,” says Sophomore Ryan Wheeler, “I think she’s pretty intense but brings a lot of real world experience.”
Waters grew up and lived in Eckerd’s backyard of Gulfport where she attended Boca Ciega High School. She attended St. Petersburg Junior College, now Saint Petersburg College, before going on to graduate from Florida State University with a B.S. in English and speech education and a Master of Science in counseling and student personnel.
Before politics, Waters had a long career with Allstate Insurance Company, working in human resources, corporate relations and government relations management. After 29 years, she decided to run for the Florida House of Representatives, where she eventually became speaker pro tempore. “It was an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of House District 51 and the over 19 million Floridians,” Waters said in an email interview.
Waters says she has vast experience in both local and state government, the two components of her class at Eckerd called “Urban Politics and Government,” a class she described as “one of her favorites.”
After leaving the Florida House in 2006, Waters ran for a seat on the Seminole City Council where she has served since. Her experience tops off EC’s strong political science collegium. She describes her course as “a perfect addition to an already terrific political science curriculum offered at Eckerd student population. From Eckerd College Homeless Outreach (ECHO) to the EC to DC protest group, Triton students aren’t content with just sitting around. Waters explained that her course will include internships, field trips and guest speakers that are sure to make it a completely unique experience. “We will be discussing jobs and careers in politics and government,” said Waters. “Good government requires good citizenship and interest in the political process that has made our American democracy the envy of countries worldwide.”
Waters understands that “good government” is essential, and students “need to volunteer in the political process, and build a network of connections” to get involved with policy making.
As an international democracy consultant, Waters has worked over the past 9 years in countries like Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Egypt and many others to help enhance democracy. Her knowledge and perspective on international politics is sure to make for a dynamic classroom experience.
“Professor Waters is extremely enthusiastic,” said Senior Devon Williams. “Her experience in the legislature helps make this class feel like a capstone course and launchpad for people interested in this kind of work. She is very hands on and puts the material into real time, real world applications.”
So far, Waters seems to be happy with Eckerd, saying her impression of students is “very positive” and that everyone has been “very friendly and supportive.”