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Roni Kay O'Dell PhD
Joined Seton Hill
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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 individual and classroom learning. Her published articles can be found in peer reviewed journals such as International Studies Perspectives and Global Governance. 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. 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. She received 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). Roni Kay enjoys long-distance running and is training to be a pacer in marathon races. She has run four full-marathons and enjoys the comradery of running 26.2 miles with other people and sharing the experience of pushing oneself to the limit and succeeding.


  • 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


  • 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 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]
  • “UNDP Human Development Reports Changing the World: A Review of the First 25 Years” (translated into German: “Wie die Berichte über die menschliche Entwicklung die Welt verändern”), with Devin Joshi, Vereinte Nationen January, 2015 Edition.
  • “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).
  • “New Perspectives on the Independence of International Organizations: How Do They Influence Peacebuilding and Good Governance?” Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations 18(4): 477-490 (2012).


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


  • Amnesty International, USA, 2013-Present
  • International Studies Association, 2011-Present
  • Academic Council Of The United Nations System (ACUNS)
  • Southwestern Political Science Association, 2015-Present