Co-Teaching: Dr. Lipinski and Dean Harold


This semester, the University of Dallas has brought on former congressman Dr. Daniel Lipinski as its Pope Leo XIII Fellow. Lipinski served as a U.S. representative in the 3rd congressional district of Illinois from 2005 to 2021. He has been teaching a class titled Politics and Parties in conjunction with Dr. Philip Harold, dean of Constantin College, and will be giving at least one lecture on campus.

Lipinski’s interest in UD began when he met Dr. Jonathan Sanford, president of UD,  in Washington at the Catholic Prayer Breakfast and again a few days later at a lecture series at the University of Notre Dame. Lipinski had heard about UD from friends who sent their children to the university or had attended themselves, and was eager to learn more about how he could get involved. Plans were made last fall and Lipinski began teaching this spring.

Lipinski has enjoyed teaching with Harold. “It sometimes presents difficulties, when you’re co teaching, for two people that come from very different backgrounds,” Lipinski said. “He’s a political philosopher, I’m a political scientist, and I think it’s more different than probably most people realize.”

As a resident of Chicago, Lipinski is unable to be on campus for every class. This semester, he has flown in to teach a week of classes once a month, so his time spent presenting material is limited. Lipinski said, “I very much appreciated how [Harold] accommodated me to make the best use of my talent and my knowledge, the best use for the students in the class.”

Harold has enjoyed bringing in Lipinski’s unique perspective as a retired Catholic congressman to the classroom. He said, “It is a great help and benefit to have another professor contributing to the class.”

Lipinksi’s unique contributions have been especially beneficial to the Politics and Parties class. Harold said: “Multiple professors in one class can split up the material that is covered, as well as combine perspectives. With Dr. Lipinski’s background, he has a particularly rich perspective to share.”

Harold elaborated: “This was a perfect class for [Lipinski] to contribute to, since he studied under John Aldrich at Duke, where he did his PhD in Political Science. Aldrich is one of the top experts on political parties. Also, Dr. Lipinski spent 16 years in Congress, and so has a lot of first-hand experience with parties.” 

Teaching on campus has allowed Lipinski to discover the particular personality he says is unique to each class and has helped him appreciate the kind of students UD nurtures. He has found them to be uniquely earnest. “It’s a great feeling of community that I’ve never experienced in any other school that I’ve been in,” he said. “UD students are very good students and are very eager to learn.”

Lipinski has found his students to be attentive and respectful in a way that has impressed him. He said, “It makes a big difference when standing up there and feeling that the students do appreciate their education and do appreciate their professors.”

Between university-wide invitations to pray the Rosary together and the emphasis on a Catholic blend of reason and faith, the strength of UD’s lived-out Catholic identity has made an impression on the former congressman. “It makes me especially excited about being a part of UD, is that it is serious in its Catholic identity,” he said.  

Lipinski’s role as representative reminded him of the immense responsibility that comes with being Catholic, and especially being a publicly known and scrutinized Catholic. He said, “We have to always remember that we are representing the Catholic faith to people, and people are going to know the Catholic faith specifically by people who they know are Catholic; what they do and what they say.”

He stressed the importance of being an example to fellow Catholics and of representing the loving beauty of the faith to others. He took pride in being recognized as “voting Catholic” rather than voting totally in line with his party. 

Lipinski explained: “I think I must be doing something right because I had people who came up to me at various times and said, You vote Catholic, you know, referring to how I voted and how I represent my constituents in Congress, and they recognize that I was not voting in line all the time with the Democratic Party.”

Lipinski has found that the students, faculty and administration alike recognize the uniqueness of UD’s mission and pursue it in all they do for the school. “I’m just really happy to be at UD where I feel like I’m part of the larger mission of the university and not just someone who comes into the classroom and does his teaching,” he said.

Lipinski is eager to continue to develop his relationship with the university as a Fellow. Although Lipinski intends to continue visiting UD as often as possible, he and Harold plan to make the course hybrid next semester so that Lipinski can be more involved in the class. “There’s a special feeling on campus and very quickly, I felt like I’m part of an institution that takes Catholic faith very, very seriously,” he said. “There is a tremendous amount of respect for the school, and I think it is well-deserved.”


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