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Professor & Department Head

Political Science

Erskine Hall, Room 206

  • Ph.D., Miami University
  • M.A., Miami University 
  • B.A., St. Ambrose College

Professor  R.W. Carstens was born on May 27, 1947, in Davenport, Iowa, the second of ten children of Gene W. and June Carstens. He attended St. Ambrose College, receiving his BA in 1969 cum laude with majors in political science and philosophy and a minor in history. 

After two years in the Army, he was honorably discharged in 1971 with the rank of E-5 (sergeant) and a citation for distinguished service. From 1971-1974, Dr. Carstens studied at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, receiving his MA and PhD in political science and political philosophy.  His dissertation was entitled "The Notion of Obligation in the Political Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas."

In 1974 he was appointed assistant professor at Ohio Dominican where he began his teaching career. Made full professor with tenure in 1985, he has directed the ODC Humanities program from 1976-1988 and from 1995 to the present, chaired the department of history/political science/criminal justice from 1990-1993 and was named outstanding teacher in 1990, Dominican Master Faculty in 1994, and Dominican Professor in 2011. The students of Ohio Dominican voted him the Conley Award for Outstanding Teaching.

The author of several books and many articles including: Notes on Humanity: Faith, Reason and Order, Antecedents of Constitutionalism, The Fiction of Andrew Greeley, and Why St. Francis of Assisi Still Matters

He is the father of two sons, Finnian and Liam, and lives with his wife of 45 years in Gahanna, Ohio. He has served as docent to the Columbus Museum of Art and is the past President of the Board of Trustees of St. Joseph Montessori School. 

From 1980 to 1986 he severed as representative to The National Advisory Council of the Administrative Board of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and its chair from 1984-86.  In 2002, he became founding Dean of Ohio Dominican’s School of Graduate Studies; from 2003-2004 he served as Special Assistant for Curriculum to the Executive Vice President. 

After sabbatical in 2005, Dr. Carstens returned to full-time teaching in the Schools of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies at the University.