Roni Kay O'Dell PhD
Joined Seton Hill
Contact Info
Personal Website
Personal Website 2

Roni Kay O’Dell, Ph.D. is associate professor of political science with more than a decade of successful teaching experience, multiple research and writing publications, and work with human rights organizations. Roni Kay specializes in research on international organizations, the United Nations (UN), human development and human rights, the Sustainable Development Goals, democratic negotiation, and participatory development/community engagement. Her published works include Global Politics: A Toolkit for Learners, a co-authored book written with a learner-centered pedagogical approach to teaching international relations. Her published articles can be found in peer reviewed journals: International Studies Perspectives and the Journal of Human Rights Practice (Oxford University Press), the International Journal of Pluralism and Economic Education (Inderscience Pub), and Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and IOs (Brill). One current book project analyzes the history and globalization of the human development approach to international development practice. A second book project analyzes civil society inclusion in negotiations on worldwide development goals, specifically the Sustainable Development Goals negotiated between 2012-2015 and adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015. Roni Kay’s devotion to teaching and learning is evident in her work as political science/global studies department coordinator at Seton Hill University where she spearheaded the establishment of the Model UN program in 2016 as well as the political science/global studies peer mentor program launched in 2018. Both programs mentor and train students to be leaders in global politics. The Model UN team has won multiple awards including Outstanding Delegation Award in 2021 and the Distinguished Delegation Award in 2019 and 2023. Roni Kay was honored by Seton Hill University’s Student Government for her teaching success by receiving the Distinguished Educator Award (2018-19) and the Advisor of the Year Award (2017-18). She is actively involved in human rights organizations, supporting scholarship in global politics, and in organizations that support the United Nations: she has served as the chairperson and western regional representative on Amnesty International USA’s National Resolutions Committee (2014-2017), as chairperson and member of the International Studies Association Global Development Section book award committee (2018-2020), and she currently serves as an advisory group member for the New York simulation conference of the National Model United Nations Organization. Roni Kay obtained her Ph.D. in international studies from the University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, and her M.A. in international policy studies, human rights focus, from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (now the Middlebury Institute).


  • PH.D., International Studies, 2014 University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, Denver, Colorado
  • M.A., International Policy Studies, 2007 Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, California.
  • B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies, 2005 University of Washington, Bothell, Washington


  • Globalization and Human Development, by Roni Kay M. O'Dell and Devin K. Joshi Pre-Order for February 2024: Stories of humans striving for the good life are the focus of this new book from Roni Kay M. O'Dell and Devin K. Joshi, grounding understanding of globalization and international development in real human and practical experience. [More Information]
  • O'Dell, R. K. M., A. Scott, M. Nealon, B. Franzino. (2023) “Training for the United Nations in the Twenty-First Century; Professionalism Training on Leadership, Negotiation, and Gender for Model United Nations Simulations” International Studies Perspectives. (first published online May 25, 2023) [More Information]
  • "Is Amnesty International Still a Grassroots, Member-Led Organization? An Assessment of Its Democratic Viability." with Linda Veazey, Journal of Human Rights Practice, (first published online December 1, 2022). [More Information]
  • O’Dell, R. K. M. (2022). “Refugee and Migrant Rights: A Human Rights Perspective.” In Carol Rittner (Ed.), Holocaust Education Today: Confronting Extremism, Hate, and Mass Atrocity Crimes; Proceedings from the National Center for Holocaust Education 2021 Conference: Holocaust Education Today: Confronting Extremism, Hate and Denial. Greensburg, PA: Seton Hill University National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education. [More Information]
  • Global Politics: A Toolkit for Learners is an innovative and exciting overview of global issues and problems, supporting readers as they independently learn about and engage in global politics. Roni Kay M. O'Dell and Sasha Breger Bush. Global Politics: A Toolkit for Learners. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, Lexington Press, December 2020. [More Information]
  • “Teaching About Poverty and Inequality; Critical Pedagogy and Personal Experience in the Learner-Centered Classroom,” with Sasha Breger-Bush, Spring 2018 publication in special issue of the International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education entitled “Teaching Inequality in an Age of Pluralism.” [More Information]
  • “The Critical Role of Mass Media in International Norm Diffusion: The Case of UNDP Human Development Reports,” with Devin Joshi, International Studies Perspectives. 2016 (Advance online Access published February 3, 2016). [More Information]
  • “Global Governance and Development Ideology: The United Nations and the World Bank on the Left-Right Spectrum,” with Devin Joshi, Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations 19(2): 249-275 (2013). [More Information]


  • Distinguished Educator Award (2018-19) SHU Student Government; Advisor of the Year Award (2017-18) SHU Student Government.


  • Executive Council, Director at Large (Sept 2023-) Human Development and Capabilities Approach (HDCA) Association [More Information]
  • Academic Council on The United Nations System (ACUNS)