Dr. Nicholas J. Spina joined the Social Science Department at Edgewood College in 2014. He teaches courses in Comparative Politics, Research Methods and International Relations. His research focuses on democratic development, particularly in Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union. He studies the challenges facing transitional post-communist societies, including threats to democratic values and behavior, civil society and social capital. His work has been published in many peer-reviewed journals, including Political Studies, International Political Science Review, and Problems of Post-Communism. In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Spina organizes the annual Social Science Documentary Film Series. He is also the faculty advisor for the Edgewood College Student Senate and serves on the Executive Board of the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. Before moving to Madison, he taught for two years at the American University in Bulgaria. He was also a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia from 2004-2006. Nicholas is an avid reader, sporadic runner, average basketball player, proficient piano player, coffee addict, dog lover and budding world traveler.