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Professor Bill Moore
Political Science

Professor Bill Moore

"Moore" than Just Another Professor
By Allen Keller

You may have seen Dr. William "Bill" Moore walking around campus with the ever present grin on his face. Don't let that grin fool you, however. He is a serious scholar in the area of political science. His students refer to him as the "smiling" assassin because of his tough but fair teaching style. As Moore will tell you, he tests with a rifle not a shotgun. But this is a way of doing things that has served him well over the years and makes many of his students say that they learned more from him than most of their other professors.

William V. Moore has been on the College of Charleston's faculty for 34 years. In 1999 C of C

made him a Distinguished Professor. Moore is an expert in Southern Politics and American Extremist groups. Over the 2005- 2006 academic year, Dr. Moore taught American Government, State Politics, Southern Politics, and Extremist Politics.

Moore has received numerous accolades from his College of Charleston colleagues. He received a Distinguished Teaching Award in 1981, a Distinguished Service Award in 2000, a Distinguished Advisor Award in 2001, and a Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Award in 2001.

He has also earned the respect of the College community through the numerous administrative positions he has held over the years: Speaker of the Faculty; Department of Political Science Chair; Masters in Public Administration (MPA) Program Director; Director of Maymester and Summer Sessions; Co-Director of the Taft Institute for High School Teachers.

Moore's achievements have not been recognized statewide when in 1992 and 1995 when he was a nominee for the Governor's Professor of the Year, and in 1997 when he was named the Governor's Professor of the Year.

Moore received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Southern Illinois University and his doctorate from Tulane University. Thirty four years ago, on his birthday, William Moore was offered a job at the College of Charleston. To this day he says it was "the best birthday present I ever got."

Over time Moore has seen a lot of changes on this campus. "There is really not much that is the same," he says of how C of C has emerged "from a small parochial institution to a nationally known institution with a more diverse and larger curriculum, faculty and student body."

But one special aspect of C of C life has not changed, according to Dr. Moore: "a more personalized environment in terms of interaction between students and faculty."

While an undergraduate student, Moore had lecture sections with 300-500 students, some of which were taught on closed circuit television. "To me, this is not an education but an assembly line which restricts educational development," he says of such large classroom settings. Moore has a great appreciation for the small college feel, the rapport between students and faculty at the College of Charleston.

Moore also participates in many extracurricular activities. He has lectured for a cruise ship line for 21 years, lectured at Elderhostels for 10 years, and worked for years as a political analyst for a Charleston television station. At the College he has been the faculty representative for men's basketball as well as their academic advisor for 20 years. He has also been the familiar voice of Cougar basketball as the home game announcer for 32 years.

As a scholar, Moore has written the book, "Political Extremism in the United States." He has fearlessly infiltrated many of these groups, such as the KKK and corresponded with others in order to get information that will contribute to knowledge of extremism in the country. This got him a fairly thick FBI file for an honest citizen and helps to further fuel his interest in the FBI's counterintelligence program, which was begun by longtime director J. Edgar Hoover but is no longer in place.

He believes the Ku Klux Klan to be the most interesting group because of its evolution over 140 years, going from a Southern anti-Reconstruction movement, to a Northern movement in the 1920's, to a Southern movement again during the civil rights era, to being led by people like David Duke who had Nazi ties. Now the Klan works with neo-Nazis skinheads and the National Alliance and disseminate propaganda via the Internet.

Moore says he is so interested in extremist groups because of the reasons people join them. Some, he says, believe that they have very rational reasons to join a particular group on the right or the left. Some have grievances that they feel the government cannot or will not address. Others are maladjusted, especially neo-Nazis, according to Moore who also notes that Nazi party membership has been linked to a dysfunctional family. He notes that two leaders of America's neo-Nazi groups in the latter part of the 20th century were Jewish.

In addition to extremist groups, Moore is an expert on the politics of the South. He is particularly interested in how politics here has changed over time since World War II. He co-authored the book "South Carolina Politics and Government."

Moore is particularly interested in civil rights and was involved in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. As a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Commission he helped desegregate communities and public facilities in Southern Illinois. He says it is important to remember that civil rights were a national issue, offering a quote from comedian Dick Gregory: "In the South, white people don't care how close people get as long as they don't get too big; in the North, white people don't care how big white people get as long as they don't get too close."
All of this is just the tip of the iceberg. Dr. Moore has wriiten so many articles, contributed to so many books and documentaries, been a consultant for so many organizations, won so many awards and been on so many committees, that this profile could easily be 14 pages long.

Hopefully, Dr. Moore's next 34 years at his beloved College of Charleston will be as interesting, fun, and prolific as the first.