Terza Silva Lima-Neves, M.A., Ph.D.

(Originally published in 2012)

As a professor of political science at Johnson C Smith University, I am afforded the unique ability and academic freedom to engage in research that is important to me as well as introduce my students to a plethora of world views, while guiding but at the same time, allowing them the space to be critical in their learning process. 

From a young age, I was taught that education is the key to freedom. I was born and raised in the Republic of Cape Verde, a small island nation and former Portuguese colony on the coast of West Africa, where many children did not have access to education. This has shaped my worldview and the way that I approach the education process as a teacher, mentor and researcher. My family and I immigrated to the United States in search of better educational and economic opportunities. I have always been thankful for my life and accomplishments in this country while at the same time honoring my cultural background, which has inspired me to always appreciate political and social diversity. I draw much of my teaching methods from this duality.

My personal and research travel experiences to Africa, Europe and the Caribbean have made me appreciate the culture of each country I have visited and prompted my desire to visit other places. I share my travel stories with my students, hoping that it will ignite some curiosity about different cultures and ways through which individuals engage in political processes. I believe this is an important part of every student’s learning experience. A college education is no longer just about what one learns inside the classroom but rather a combination of many methods such as travel abroad and service learning opportunities.

As JCSU continues to grow in the direction of a premier institution of higher education, it is important that we, as professors adapt to cutting edge and innovative ways of engaging and reaching our students. For example, the use of technology is an imperative tool for students. I utilize power point presentations as well as several social media outlets such as Facebook to communicate with my students. As coordinator, I also created a Facebook page for the political science program where our faculty members interact with students by posting discussion topics as well as articles that are related to our classes. This past May, I attended an UNCF/Mellon Teaching and Learning Institute seminar at Shaw University on how to use social media in writing intensive courses. I plan to use my new skills in the upper level course, Women and Politics. In lieu of a research paper, the students in this class will create their own blogs via the social media website, tumblr, to document their research projects. The final vision is a campus wide and interdisciplinary digital database of student projects, maintained by our library, accessible to everyone across the globe.

With the unwavering support of my department and the President’s Office, I have also organized various lectures, film screenings and topic forums. Some of my events have included immigration forums, women’s history month film screenings and art exhibits. In the future, I hope to organize a travel abroad trip to my homeland, Cape Verde, to expose students to lusophone or Portuguese-speaking Africa, an understudied area within the field of African politics. At JCSU, I truly feel that I am greatly contributing to the academic community while also learning lessons from my peers and students.

Its small liberal arts environment is one of the many reasons I enjoy working at JCSU. I enjoy being able to get to know my students on a personal level. I encourage them to come to my office and discuss academic as well as social issues. For this reason, my office door is always open! In this way, I foster meaningful mentoring relationships with them. Research has shown that retention rates are higher at institutions where students feel personally connected to their teachers. I strive to be a good mentor (both academic and personal), while understanding the role I play as an integral member of their support system, which has been traditionally part of the JCSU experience as a historically black college.

Lastly, as a female faculty member, I enjoy being a member of the JCSU community because I have been able to create a healthy balance between family life, teaching, mentoring and researching, all of which are important components of one’s ability to be a successful individual.



Terza Lima-Neves is a proud Cabo Verdean woman, wife, mom, scholar, award-winning professor, African feminist and community advocate. She was born and raised in Cabo Verde, West Africa and immigrated to the United States with her parents and sisters as a teenager. 

Terza is associate professor of political science and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Johnson C. Smith University. Her courses, research and published scholarship focus on international politics, global gender studies, and the modern African diaspora in the United States, particularly gender and the Cabo Verdean community. Lima-Neves prides herself in offering culturally competent advising and mentoring to her students and is an active advocate for policies that create a life-work balance as well as render visible women, parents, people of color and other historically marginalized groups at institutions of higher education.  

Dr. Lima-Neves is the 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Vision Award recipient at Providence College, a 2019 finalist for the HBCU Digest Female Faculty of the Year, the 2019-20 President of the North Carolina Political Science Association, the first Black person to serve in this role, co-founder of Poderoza: International Conference on Cabo Verdean Women and founding President of the Cape Verdeans of the Carolinas Association. She is passionate about community work that empowers and inspires people. She lives in Charlotte with husband Luis and their children. For more on Terza’s work visit her website, terzalimaneves.com.

In August 2012, Dr. Lima-Neves was contacted by the Christian Science Monitor to serve as an expert for a story regarding Secretary Hillary Clinton’s current trip to sub-Saharan Africa.

The Christian Science Monitor is one of the world’s most respected and influential media outlets. It is quite an accomplishment for JCSU to provide an expert to this publication.

You can read the entire story here.

The information on this page is maintained by Terza Silva Lima-Neves. For more information or questions please contact them directly at 704.378.1095.