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.
Paul P. Van Riper, scholar, teacher, administrator and community activist, passed away from natural causes in Colorado on July 11, 2014 at age 97. Paul Van Riper’s multifaceted career spanned 70+ years. His teaching career included posts at Northwestern University, Cornell and Texas A&M. He also held visiting positions at George Washington University, the University of Chicago, Indiana University, the University of Strathclyde (Scotland), the University of Michigan, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Utah. In 1970 Van Riper became head of the Political Science Department at Texas A&M, one year after the department was separated from History. He “retired” from the faculty for the first time in 1981 but then returned to teach part time in the Political Science Department and the Bush School of Government until 2008. Under his leadership the Political Science Department grew from 13 faculty members to 41, and during his tenure the behavioral approach was introduced to political science at Texas A&M.
Dr. Van Riper is the author of two foundational works in public administration – History of the United States Civil Service (1958) and The American Federal Executive (1963) co-authored with W. Lloyd Warner, Norman H. Martin and Orvis F. Collins and numerous articles in professional journals. History of the United States Civil Service is still considered the definitive history of the merit system in the United States bridging the historical contributions of Leonard White and David Rosenbloom. The American Federal Executive remains the most extensive analysis of government and business elites in the United States. In 1990 he received the Dwight Waldo Award from the American Society for Public Administration for lifetime contribution to the literature of public administration. In 2001, the American Society for Public Administration created the Paul P. Van Riper Award to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to research, teaching and service in public administration. Within the field of public administration, Van Riper was known especially for his encyclopedic knowledge of the field.
Paul Pritchard Van Riper was born on July 29, 1916 in Laporte Indiana. His mother was a teacher and his father was both superintendent of instruction for the public schools and a local partisan activist foreshadowing Paul’s own intellectual interest in political science and the administration of public programs. Paul was the valedictorian of his high school class and attended DePauw University on a Rector Scholarship majoring in history with a minor in social science.
Van Riper received his PhD in political science from the University of Chicago in 1947, majoring in public administration. His dissertation, written under the direction of Leonard White, was on the history of the U.S. Civil Service. While at Chicago, Van Riper became a charter member of the American Society for Public Administration.
Graduate school was interrupted by World War II and Paul joined the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, initially serving as an officer in a black platoon (the Army was segregated at the time) and eventually deploying to France as a post D-Day logistics officer in France. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French Government for his service. Van Riper remained in the Army Reserve after the war, eventually attaining the rank of Lt. Colonel in the army reserves.
In 1952 Paul joined the faculty at the Graduate School of Business and Public Administration at Cornell University, at the time the first generic school of management, training individuals for careers in both business and government. He had an active role in the administration of both the school and the university, serving as director of the PhD program for the school and secretary of the faculty both for the school and the university. He was the chief administrative officer for the Cornell Constituent Assembly tasked with reorganizing the University in 1969-70.
Community service played a major role in Paul Van Riper’s life. He was an active member of Beta Theta Pi social fraternity and served on its national board of directors, as national vice president and for two years as its chief administrative officer. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Brazos Valley Community Action Agency, President of the Bryan-College Station Rotary Club, an active member and officer of the Brazos County Historical Commission, President (and a Founder) of Citizens for Historical Preservation (now the Brazos Heritage Society), and a member and Secretary of the Advisory Council for the Brazos Valley Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). Paul’s interest in historic preservation was incorporated into his personal life. He and his recently deceased wife Dorothy purchased and restored multiple historic houses in Bryan and in College Station.
In a coverpiece for a published oral history project on Van Riper, former President George H. W. Bush says “Paul’s belief in the integrity of civil and community service has served as the foundation for bringing together public administration scholars and practitioners. He believes that public administration is about practicing management, not just teaching it; that it is about serving your country; and that it is about making community service central to your life and work.”
The Department of Political Science nominated and sponsored Dr. Clarence E. Sasser (’73) for an Honorary Doctorate Degree, passed by resolution in April 2014 by the Texas A&M University Faculty Senate and approved by the Dr. Mark A. Hussey, Interim President of Texas A&M, and the TAMUS Board of Regents. Dr. Sasser received the award for his extraordinary devotion in a lifetime career of public service in the VA to help America’s military veterans. In his own military service, Dr. Sasser was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions with the U.S. Army in the Republic of Vietnam in 1968 while serving as a medic. In November 2013, Dr. Sasser was enshrined as the eighth Aggie and the first African-American into the Aggie Medal of Honor Hall of Honor in the TAMU Memorial Student Center. At the special award presentation for Dr. Sasser at the May 9, 2014 graduation ceremonies, Dr. Kenneth J. Meier, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, the Charles H. Gregory Chair in Liberal Arts at Texas A&M, and Director of the Project for Equity, Representation, & Governance in the Department of Political Science, presented Dr. Sasser with the Honorary Medallion accompanying the Doctorate Degree. Left to right on stage with Dr. Sasser during the ceremonies are Dr. Michael Benedik, Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost, Dr. Kenneth J. Meier, Dr. Clarence E. Sasser (’73), Dr. José Luiz Bermúdez, former Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (holding Dr. Sasser’s Honorary Diploma), and Dr. Mark A. Hussey, Interim President, Texas A&M University.