Political Science + Doctor Who = Dr. Herndon


Todd Kleiboer

It’s smaller on the outside than the inside.

Kerry Wilson, Staff Writer

One cannot help but notice the blue “Doctor Who” police box door while touring the Ferguson Social Sciences Building. If thought about long enough, the notion might arise to ask the person behind the door if it is OK to close the door and take a picture in front of it. The answer that will most likely be given is yes, because for Professor Jeffrey Herndon (the person behind the door), the television show “Doctor Who” is a novelty to be shared amongst everyone.

Herndon, associate professor and interim head of the Political Science Department, is known at Texas A&M University-Commerce as being an avid fan of “Doctor Who.” His love for the show spans back to when he was a little boy.

“I grew up with Tom Baker as Doctor Who,” Herndon said. “I’m ancient of days. I mean, I grew up with “Doctor Who” on PBS. But, to be honest, although the shows were good, they were not as good as the new “Who” is – the new “Who” came back in 2005. I immediately glommed onto it. I grew up with it and then kind of rediscovered it when it came back.”

Herndon said his interest in “Doctor Who” is something that grew naturally from a childhood filled with science fiction and fantasy literature.

“I was always a fan of science fiction and fantasy stuff,” he said. “I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy when I was a kid, so it was a natural progression. I was into kind of nerd stuff before being into nerd stuff was considered cool. There was a time that people don’t remember when nerdy kind of tech stuff was not as cool as it is now. People don’t remember that, but there was.”

As a professor in political science, Herndon does not have a problem talking about “Doctor Who” and any other references to culture in his class. He said he sees them as opportunities to not only make his classes interesting, but to discuss their impact in society.

“In the classes I teach, other stuff comes up, because it’s just the nature of what we do in political science,” Herndon said. “I have been known to talk about pop culture, because it has an influence over our kind of social existence, our political existence. What happens in the world and what happens in pop culture influences us as a society. I rarely feel guilty for talking about kind of pop culture stuff. I try to make classes as interesting as I can, and if I can figure out a way to use “Doctor Who” to explain something, I will.”