PAWC Leadership & Staff

W. Travis Morris Ph.D. 
Director, Peace and War Center
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice
Norwich University

Travis Morris joined the faculty of Norwich University in 2011. He teaches criminological courses in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and directs NU’s Peace and War Center. Morris holds a Bachelor of Arts in criminology from Northern Illinois University, a Master of Science in criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University, and a doctorate from the University of Nebraska. He has published on information warfare and the relationship between policing, peacekeeping, counterterrorism, and counter-insurgency and is the author of the recent book, “Dark Ideas: How Violent Jihadi and Neo-Nazi Ideologues Have Shaped Modern Terrorism.” He has conducted ethnographic interviews in Yemen and published on how crime intersects with formal and informal justice systems in a socio-cultural context. His research interests include violent extremist propaganda analysis, information warfare, and text network analysis. He is an active teacher in and out of the classroom and has created a series of recent grant-funded student learning trips in the Balkans, Central Asia, and the Middle East.

Yangmo Ku, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Peace and War Center
Associate Professor of Political Science
Norwich University

Yangmo Ku is Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Director of the Peace and War Center (PaWC) at Norwich University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from George Washington University and taught in the School of International Service at American University before joining the faculty of Norwich University in July 2012. His research and teaching focus lies in the denuclearization of North Korea, East Asian politics and security, US foreign policy, and the politics of memory and reconciliation in East Asia and Europe. His coauthored book, titled Politics in North and South Korea: Political Development, Economy, and Foreign Relations, was published by Routledge in 2018. He serves as founding Editor of an academic journal, titled the Journal of Peace and War Studies, and co-editor of PaWC’s forum—Voices on Peace and War. His previous research has also appeared in numerous journals, including the Journal of East Asian Studies, Asian Perspective, Pacific Focus, Korean Journal of International Studies, Asian Journal of Peacebuilding, and the Yale Journal of International Affairs, as well as in five edited volumes on North Korean nuclear issues and the politics of memory and reconciliation. He is often invited to give intensive lectures on the denuclearization of North Korea and the politics of the Korean Peninsula to US federal government workers in Washington DC and Hawaii.   

Megan Liptak, M’09
Assistant Director, Peace and War Center
Norwich University

Megan Liptak joined Norwich University in 2010 and has planned, managed and executed events and provided various administrative services for over ten years. She has served on several campus committees, most recently as the chair of the Staff Retreat planning committee, and co-chair of the International Symposium of Military Academies planning committee. She is currently a member of the Faculty/Staff Campaign Committee and an NU Wellness Ambassador. She holds a bachelor of arts in history with a minor in anthropology/archaeology from Millersville University in Pennsylvania and a master of arts in military history from Norwich University where her capstone project focused on the comparison of combat soldier experiences during World War II and the conflict in Vietnam.

PAWC Advisory Board

David Last, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Royal Military College of Canada

Lt. Col. David Last, Ph.D. served for 30 years in the Canadian army, and is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada (BA, Politics and Economics), Carleton University (MA, International Affairs), and the London School of Economics (PhD, International Political Economy). He attended the US Army Command and General Staff College, Leavenworth, earning a Master of Military Arts and Science. His research interests focus on the management of violence, including peacekeeping, conflict resolution, and the use of force for international peace and security.

Darlene Olsen, Ph.D. 
Charles A. Dana Professor of Mathematics, VBRN Coordinator
Norwich University

Darlene Olsen, Ph.D., is a Charles A. Dana Professor of Mathematics and Norwich coordinator for the Vermont Biomedical Research Network. She is the 2013 Homer L. Dodge Award winner for Excellence in Teaching. She joined the Norwich faculty in 2006 and routinely teaches statistic courses, such as Introductory Statistics, Statistics for Health Science majors, and Statistical Methodology for STEM majors. She also teaches other general mathematics courses, including Linear Algebra and Liberal Arts Mathematics. Her current research areas are biostatistics and pedagogy in mathematics and statistics. Olsen has received research grants through the Vermont Genetics Network, served as a statistical consultant, and published work in several research journals.

Kyle Pivetti, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor, English
Norwich University

Kyle Pivetti, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of English, with research interests in Shakespeare, memory, and adaptation. His first book is titled Of Memory and Literary Form: The Making of Nationhood in Early Modern England (University of Delaware Press, 2015), which examines how something as simple as a set of rhyming lines can give readers a sense of national identity. He is also the co-author, alongside John S. Garrison, of Shakespeare at Peace (Routledge, 2018). This study of Shakespeare’s pacifism bridges the field of Peace Studies with literary analysis; it also includes a look at Shakespeare’s place in the most pacifist of television shows, Star Trek: The Next Generation. These interests in the geekier sides of Shakespeare studies appear also in a recent contribution on the fantasy writings of Terry Pratchett to the volume, Shakespeare and Geek Culture (Arden, 2020). His research has also been featured in the journals Shakespeare; Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism; Modern Philology; and Explorations in Renaissance Culture. His teaching includes courses in Shakespeare and popular culture, Literature of the Sea, Literature of Leadership, and anything that includes a good monster. Currently, he is working on a new book project that examines the intersections of memory and collective shame in Shakespeare’s works, as well as a collection of Renaissance writings on pacifist thinking.

Steven E. Sodergren, Ph.D. 
Professor and Chair, Department of History & Political Science
Norwich University

Steven E. Sodergren, Ph.D., has taught in the History and Political Science department at Norwich University and was promoted to Associate Professor of History in 2013. He presently serves as chair of the History and Political Science Department. As the resident Civil War scholar at Norwich, he routinely teaches courses on that subject in addition to a variety of courses on American and military history. Each summer he leads a group of Norwich students on staff rides to a range of Civil War battlefields, including Gettysburg, Antietam, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor, Fredericksburg. Sodergren recently completed his first book, The Army of the Potomac in the Overland and Petersburg Campaigns: Union Soldiers and Trench Warfare, 1864-65, which was published by Louisiana State University Press in June 2017. For The Army of the Potomac, Sodergren won the 2018 Colby Award, the first author associated with Norwich University to win the prize in its 19-year history.

Lasha Tchantouridze, Ph.D. 
Professor and Program Director, MA Diplomacy & International Relations Programs
Norwich University

Dr. Lasha Tchantouridze is Professor and Director of the graduate programs in Diplomacy and International Relations. He is also a Davis Center Associate, Harvard University, Boston, MA; Research Fellow, the Center for Defence and Security Studies, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada; and Advisory Board Member of Peace & War Center at Norwich University. He earned his Ph.D. in International Relations from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Tchantouridzé’s research interests are at the intersection of diplomacy and force in international politics, and his academic publications are in the areas of geopolitics, Russian foreign policy, Canadian foreign policy, the Arctic, the Black Sea basin, international politics in the Caucasus, and NATO-Russia relations.

Matthew A. Thomas, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor, Psychology
Norwich University

Matthew A. Thomas received his B.A. and Ph.D. in cognitive/experimental psychology from the University at Albany, SUNY. He has published research investigating false memories, long-term memory, word processing (semantic priming), capture of visuospatial attention, and the influence of video games on cognition. His laboratory at Norwich is currently exploring the influence of video game play on visual attention and working memory as well as how the disruption of object templates stored in long-term memory automatically capture attention. When not in the lab, Prof. Thomas teaches courses in experimental psychology, perception, cognition, behavioral statistics, and works with students conducting their own original research projects.

David Ulbrich, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor and Program Director, MA History and Military History Programs
Norwich University

David J. Ulbrich was named program director and associate professor in Norwich University’s Master of Arts in History and in Military History programs in August 2017. He previously served as an adjunct instructor, course developer, and capstone advisor for Norwich from 2007 until 2017, before he joined Norwich in his current capacity. Ulbrich taught more than 250 students and advised 50 capstone projects. Ulbrich also taught at Ball State University, Ohio University, and Rogers State University. He earned his doctorate in history in 2007 from Temple University where he studied with Gregory Urwin, Richard Immerman, and the late Russell Weigley.

Senior Research Fellows

Lisa Chalidze, Ph.D. 
Adjunct Faculty, Criminal Justice
Norwich University

Lisa L. Chalidze, Esq. has long dedicated her work as a lawyer, educator, author, and activist to development of the rule of law, as well as the defense of human rights. Her primary research interests involve strategies for societies in transition from dictatorship to democracy. In this regard, Professor Chalidze serves as a consultant to the National Parliamentary Library in the Republic of Georgia on development of rule of law and defense of human rights, as the country struggles to overcome its Soviet past. In addition, she is an annual visitor to South Africa, where she volunteers for an NGO (of which she is also a member of the Board of Trustees) helping that country overcome the legacy of apartheid.

Lyle Goldstein, Ph.D.
Director of Asia Engagement
Defense Priorities

Lyle Goldstein is Director of Asia Engagement at Defense Priorities. Formerly, he served as Research Professor at U.S. Naval War College for 20 years. In that post, he was awarded the Superior Civilian Service Medal for founding and leading the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI). His main areas of expertise include both maritime security and nuclear security issues. Major focus areas have also recently included the Arctic, as well as the Korean Peninsula. He has published seven books on Chinese strategy, including Meeting China Halfway (Georgetown UP, 2015). He speaks both Chinese and Russian and is currently writing a book on China-Russia relations. He has a PhD from Princeton, an MA from Johns Hopkins SAIS, and a BA from Harvard.

Robert VandenBerg, Ph.D.

Dr. Robert VandenBerg’s professional experience encompasses both the armed forces and academia, having served on active duty in the United States Air Force before completing his doctorate in sociology at the Ohio State University. As a member of the faculty at Norwich University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice from 2020 to 2023, Dr. VandenBerg pioneered NU’s new minor in Intelligence & Crime Analysis as well as frequently teaching courses in criminology and social science research methods. Dr. VandenBerg’s research focuses on terrorism, information warfare, the intelligence profession, and sociology of religion, and his work has appeared in the past in the International Journal of Sociology, the Handbook of the Criminology of Terrorism, Terrorism & Political Violence, Research in Social Movements, Conflicts & Change, and the Journal of Peace & War Studies. He is currently lead author on a paper examining the correlation between extremist propaganda and subsequent terrorist attacks.

Although an American by birth, Dr. VandenBerg grew up abroad and is fluent in Norwegian and German, and also enjoys dabbling in other foreign languages as the opportunity arises. His favorite part of working with the Peace & War Center is having the opportunity to mentor young men and women who will go on to serve the United States as members of  the armed forces, law enforcement, the intelligence community, and as engaged citizens committed to the flourishing of constitutional democracy. As a drill-status (part-time) member of the Michigan Air National Guard, Dr. VandenBerg serves as a flight commander with the 217th Air Operations Group. In his spare time, he loves to read.

Eszter Szenes, Ph.D. 
Lecturer, School of Education
University of Adelaide, Australia

Dr Eszter Szenes is a Lecturer at the School of Education, University of Adelaide, Australia and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Resilience and Security, Norwich University, USA. Between 2020-2022 she was hosted by the Norwich University Peace and War Center as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Research Fellow, co-hosted by the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University, Austria. Prior to joining Norwich, Dr Szenes held a post-doctoral researcher position at the Research Collegium for Language in Changing Society (RECLAS), University of Jyväskylä, Finland (2019-2020). From 2013-2019 she was based at the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) and Registrar Portfolio, The University of Sydney, where she completed her doctorate in Linguistics. Dr Szenes incorporates her training in linguistics, education, and sociology into her interdisciplinary collaborations, research and teaching. She has taught in several different countries and contexts; she was a visiting scholar at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) in The Hague, Netherlands. Her research focuses on the role of language and multimodal resources in emerging complex and interrelated societal threats, for example, information disorder, radicalisation and the links between climate change and (violent) extremism. She is especially interested in preventing and countering the effect of disinformation campaigns aimed at undermining democracies from the perspective of computer-mediated communication and critical digital and media literacies. As a Senior Fellow, Dr Szenes assists the Peace and War Center in collaborative research activities to support its strategic interests and initiatives. 

Faculty Fellows

Miri Kim, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor, History
Coordinator, Studies in War and Peace Program 
PAWC Advisory Board Member
Norwich University

Miri Kim, Ph.D., completed her B.A. in history at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and her doctorate in history at the University of California, Irvine. Her research in military and institutional history focuses on Northeast China in the Republican Period. At Norwich, she teaches wide-ranging introductory courses in world history and East Asian history, history courses on modern China and Japan, and specialized courses, such as War and Image in Modern China. She is a member of the Association for Asian Studies, the World History Association, and the Chinese Military History Society.  

Daniel Morris, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Philosophy 
Co-editor, Voices on Peace and War
Norwich University

Daniel A. Morris, Ph.D., holds a BA from Davidson College, an MA from Yale University, and a PhD from the University of Iowa, and has been teaching in higher education for eight years. Morris’s training and research explore religion, ethics, and American democracy. His first book, Virtue and Irony in American Democracy: Revisiting Dewey and Niebuhr (Lexington Books, 2015), asked about the qualities of character that are required for democracy to flourish. His current research studies the rhetoric of force in American quests for racial justice in conversation with the Christian just war tradition. Morris has published several articles and book chapters in a variety of peer-reviewed publications, and has presented scholarship at both national and regional conferences in relevant disciplines.

Voices on Peace & War