Soren Jordan, who earned his Ph.D. in this Department in August 2015, is enjoying an appointment as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department in the 2015-2016 academic year. In this position he is doing independent research on U.S. Congressional politics, elections, party polarization, and representation. He is also engaged in collaborative research with Professors Kim Hill and Patricia Hurley, and he is teaching an undergraduate course in the Spring, 2016 semester. In the Fall, 2016 semester Dr. Jordan will begin an appointment as a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Auburn University.
Prof. Diego von Vacano has been named Editor of the Oxford University Press book series “Studies in Comparative Political Theory.” The series will publish books by political scientists on non-Western political thought, with special emphasis on Latin American, Islamic, and East Asian traditions.
The department of political science welcomes seven new scholars joining our department this Fall semester! This exciting group of political scientists includes five new Assistant Professors, an Instructional Assistant Professor, and a Visiting Scholar. Carlisle Rainey, an expert in statistical methodology, received his Ph.D. from Florida State University. He joins the department from the University of Buffalo, where he was an Assistant Professor. Ian Turner recently received his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. He is a game theorist who studies inter-branch relations in the United States. Timm Betz and Amy Pond recently received their Ph.D.s from the University of Michigan. Professor Betz studies the way international institutions are used for domestic political purposes. Professor Pond uses formal models to identify challenges to economic and political development. Brittany Perry and Florian Hollenbach received their Ph.D.’s from Duke University. Professor Perry joins our department from Lafayette College where she was an Assistant Professor, her main interests are in race and ethnic politics, with a particular interest in Congress and the representation of Latinos. Prof. Hollenbach joins the department from the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University where he spent last year as a fellow. He studies the political economy of taxation and redistribution in authoritarian regimes. Andrea Aldrich is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focus is on political parties and comparative legislative behavior with a focus on the European Parliament.
by Sid Mitchell ’16
Before earning a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, James A. “Jim” Arnold Jr. ‘77 graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M, where he studied Political Science and was involved in the Student Government Association.
Throughout his career, Arnold has drawn on his experiences as a political science major and his interest in government.
“It’s worked out well because I studied something I really enjoy,” he said. “There are a lot of people who can’t say that.”
Arnold had been working for the Texas Legislative Budget Board for five years when a friend asked if he would be interested in working on Republican Tom Loeffler’s 1986 gubernatorial primary campaign. Since then, he has worked on a number of political campaigns, including then-Agriculture Commissioner Rick Perry’s ultimately successful campaign for Lieutenant Governor in 1998.
After working on campaigns and in government at the state and national level, Arnold transitioned to lobbying. He said his greatest challenge, especially as a lobbyist who represents many nonprofit groups, is “trying to convince people to do the right thing for people.”
His career has also led him to countries around the world, including Turkey, where he volunteered to train Syrian activists for the International Republican Institute, an organization whose goal is to foster and develop democracies around the world.
“Our goal was to at least start to talk about what would happen in a post-al-Assad government, because two years ago, people were thinking that he wasn’t going to last […] these are people who wanted better things for Syria than what was happening under al-Assad,” he said.
While a career in politics may sound unappealing to some, Arnold believes it can be an exhilarating field for people who want to make a difference.
“Somebody that’s interested in politics would be somebody that wanted to do something that had larger consequences for the community or for the state,” he said. “If you like ambiguity, and you like excitement, and you think you’re doing good work out there for your country or your state […] it’s a pretty exciting place to be.”
Arnold said the people he worked with on political campaigns generally believed in their party or candidate and trusted that they were doing the right thing.
Although the political world can be tough, Arnold admits, it can also be inspiring to “work for things that you think – whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat – are good for not only you, but the broader community.”
While he touts the years spent working on campaigns as some of the most exciting of his career, he said campaigning is definitely not for the faint of heart.
“I used to tell young people it’s a great profession to go into: It’s long hours, low pay, and no job security – so how could you turn something like that down?”
Amanda Rutherford has won both the Association of Former Students Distinguished Graduate Student Award for Research, and the George Kunze prize as the outstanding graduate student at Texas A&M.
Rutherford joined the Department of Political Science in 2011. Since then, she has written ten refereed articles, presented research at 18 national conferences, and aided in the writing of four national grant applications. She is also the recipient of numerous university and national awards.
“I am extremely honored to be selected for this award,” Rutherford said. “I am grateful to the many individuals who have mentored me and encouraged me to pursue my interests throughout my academic career. Individuals like my advisor, Ken Meier, challenged me to grow in ways that I would not have thought possible, and I owe much of my success to them.”
Her current research seeks to understand how theories of managerial fit and top management team dynamics from private sector research apply to public agencies that are exposed to high levels of uncertainty and an array of ambiguous goals.
“I study these questions in the context of U.S. higher education, a policy arena where demands for greater accountability have become increasingly salient and political in nature,” she said.
Amanda received her PhD at the May 2015 graduation and has joined the faculty of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Alvaro “Gabe” Pereira of College Station has been appointed the next student regent for The Texas A&M University System by Governor Greg Abbott. He replaces outgoing student regent Colton L. Buckley of Gatesville.
Pereira is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in political science from Texas A&M University at College Station. His term will expire May 31, 2016.
“The Board welcomes Mr. Pereira and we look forward to the benefit of his insight on vital matters from a student perspective,” said Cliff Thomas, Chairman of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. “That perspective is critically important as we support all of our universities. We also wish to thank Mr. Buckley for his service and we wish him well on all of his future endeavors.”
Chancellor John Sharp also welcomed the news of Mr. Pereira’s appointment. “The student regent always has a lot of new ideas and fresh ways of looking at our opportunities and challenges,” Chancellor Sharp said. “I look forward to working with Mr. Pereira as he assumes his role as student regent.”
Governor Abbott announced Pereira’s appointment on July 2, along with nine other student regents to their respective public universities around the state, plus a student representative to serve on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
About the A&M System
The A&M System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $3.8 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies, two service units and a comprehensive health science center, the A&M System educates more than 135,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. Externally funded research expenditures exceed $820 million and help drive the state’s economy.
Contact: Terry McDevitt
(210) 232-5759 cell
April 27, 2015, Bloomington, IN — The Midwest Political Science Association has established a new annual award recognizing outstanding scholarship in politics, public administration, and public policy in honor of Kenneth J. Meier, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Project for Equity, Representation & Governance at Texas A&M University. The inaugural award will recognize the best paper in bureaucratic politics, public administration, or public policy presented at the 2015 MPSA conference and is scheduled to be presented at MPSA’s 74th annual conference in April 2016 at the Palmer House in Chicago.
In addition to serving as the Charles H. Gregory Chair in Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University, Meier also directs the Project for Equity, Representation and Governance, the Texas Educational Excellence Project, and the Carlos Cantu Hispanic Education and Opportunity Endowment and holds a joint appointment as a professor of public management at the Cardiff University School of Business (Wales). Meier is considered a leading authority in two areas of research – the role of public organizations in public policy and race and politics.
Among Meier’s career achievement awards are the H. George Frederickson Award, the C. Dwight Waldo Award, the John Gaus Award, the Charles Levine Award, and the Association of Former Students Award for Research. He is a member of the National Academy of Public Administration and has been an Advanced Institute of Management Fellow (United Kingdom), a Research Fellow of the Danish Institute for Social Research, and a Big XII Faculty Fellow. Meier has served as president of the Public Management Research Association, the Midwest Political Science Association, and the Southwest Political Science Association. He is also a former editor of the American Journal of Political Science and is currently the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.
Perhaps more important than his scholarship, Ken Meier has influenced countless members of the discipline and continues to mentor graduate and undergraduate students while maintaining a highly productive research agenda. He has served as a chair or member on over 60 dissertation committees and over 30 MA committees. The award, proposed and initially funded by Meier’s current and former students in the Department of Political Science at Texas A&M, was first announced at this year’s “Meierpalooza”, an annual celebration held during the MPSA conference.
Individuals serving as Chairs and Discussants at the 2015 MPSA conference may nominate outstanding papers in politics, public administration, and public policy for the Kenneth J. Meier Award at http://www.MPSAnet.org/Awards. Donations may be made to the Kenneth J. Meier Award fund online at http://www.MPSAnet.org/Awards/MakeaDonation.
For additional information, please contact Amanda Rutherford, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Political Science, Texas A&M University at (214) 803-3114 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Melissa Heeke, Director of Membership and Communications, Midwest Political Science Association at (812) 558-0588 x 3 or email@example.com.
Jose D. Villallobos is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Provost’s Faculty Fellow-in-Residence in the Center for Civic Engagement at the University of Texas at El Paso. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio and his doctoral degree from Texas A&M University. He received the George C. Edwards III Dissertation Award, for best dissertation on the U.S. Presidency, awarded by the Presidency Research Group of the American Political Science Association in 2009. His most recent achievement is the University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award and he also was awarded UTEP’s Most Distinguished Faculty Member Award for commitment to teaching excellence earlier in 2014.
His core areas of research are presidential management/policy making and the public presidency. In particular, he focuses on questions that explore how and why presidential managerial and rhetorical strategies influence policy making performance and, in turn, how the public influences and appraises such efforts. He is also interested in studies on race/ethnicity and immigration. His publications include articles in Political Research Quarterly, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Administration & Society, Public Administration, Review of Policy Research, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, International Journal of Public Administration, International Journal of Conflict Management, Contemporary Politics, and Race, Gender & Class.
Dr. Villalobos currently serves as board member for the Presidents & Executive Politics section of the American Political Science Association. He recently served as the Executive Politics section chair for the 2013 Western Political Science Association conference and has been selected to serve as the Presidential/Executive Politics section chair for the 2015 Southern Political Science Association conference. He was also selected to serve as a keynote speaker for the Mexican-American Bar Association of El Paso and LULAC. Prior to that, he served as President of the Midwest Latino/a Caucus section of the Midwest Political Science Association from 2008-2011. At UTEP, Dr. Villalobos serves as a Fellow for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Director of Student Enhancement and External Relations, Faculty Senator, member of the Political Science Department’s Undergraduate Committee, and department website manager.
A recent article, “Treating the fair sex fairly”, in The Economist magazine, highlights research currently underway at Texas A&M University by Professors Maria Escobar-Lemmon and Michele Taylor-Robinson. In a forthcoming paper, Maria Escobar-Lemmon and Michelle Taylor-Robinson of Texas A&M University compare the experience and accomplishments of the men and women among 447 cabinet ministers in recent administrations in five countries in the Americas: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and the United States. Experience was measured by relevant academic background, previous cabinet posts and political connections; and success by the number of bills presented, length of tenure and whether a minister’s time in office ended with firing or forced resignation. The full article is available online at http://www.economist.com/news/international/21611148-female-ministers-are-fewer-their-male-colleagues-equally-effective-treating
Prof. Matthew Fuhrmann’s research on nuclear blackmail was recently featured in the Washington Post’s blog The Monkey Cage. Many people assume that having nuclear weapons allows countries to bully and intimidate their adversaries. However, Fuhrmann’s coauthored research (with Todd Sechser at the University of Virginia) published in the journal International Organization shows that the conventional wisdom is misguided. Despite their tremendously destructive power, nuclear weapons rarely provide states with greater political leverage.