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Dublin, Ireland Study Abroad

The Legal Studies Program of the Department of Political Science conducted its first Study Abroad Program in June 2016.  The program offered graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to take a basic course in Legal Theory and Analysis that focused on judicial decision making; the course also compared legal institutions in the United States with comparable legal institutions in Ireland.  Each student who participated in the program also developed an Independent Study course and pursued one or more topics of special interest to the student.  The program took place in Dublin, Ireland from June 10 through June 30, 2016, and was housed at University College Dublin (UCD).

Dr. Walter Wright was the faculty sponsor for the June 2016 program. Dr. Lynn Crossett will lead the June 2017 program.  For further information about the 2017 program, contact Dr. Crossett at lynncrossett@txstate.edu

Group photo at Four Courts

Hog Wild Event Success!

The Department of Political Science, in partnership with the Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal Hyde & Zech, P.C. (DNRBH&Z) law firm and The Office of Distance and Extended Learning hosted the annual Hog Wild Local Government Educational Seminar. This year’s successful seminar took place over the course of two days (May 26th – 27th) and had over 175 attendees. Several of these attendees include local city managers, mayors, city attorneys and other public sector administrative officials. The seminar included a wide variety of subject areas and trends that are useful to public practitioners. Topics covered throughout this seminar included personnel matters, transparency in government information, economic development, land use regulation, law enforcement, and a wide variety of other interesting topics. Partners from DNRBH&Z were generous with their time and knowledge as they moderated all panels and break-out sessions. The Department of Political Science would like to extend our gratitude to Dean Hennessey for taking the time out of his busy schedule to provide opening remarks. We would also like to acknowledge our own Mr. David Smith, Esq. who also took time to provide some opening remarks on the behalf of Legal Studies and the department. We would also like to express our gratitude to Mr. David Cummings from The Office of Distance and Extended Learning for the major role that he played in organizing this event. Without saying, we are especially grateful to the partners and staff of the DNRBH&Z law firm for their valued support. We look forward to working with them again in organizing next year’s seminar.

Former Ambassador Tibor Nagy, speaks in Dr. Gorman’s classes

Former Ambassador Tibor Nagy, who now serves as Assistant Provost for International Affairs at Texas Tech University, spoke to Dr. Gorman's undergraduate African Politics class on Tuesday, June 21 and to his Graduate Problems in African Politics class (pictured here) on Wednesday June 22. He had just returned from the Africa Summit in Washington, DC the previous week.  He spoke about the traditional American policies and approaches to Africa and some of the issues that are currently of concern on the continent and to American policy makers.  He also had meetings with the University officials concerning a trip he will lead this coming fall to Ethiopia in which American scholars and educators will meet with Ethiopian university faculty on ways to improve agricultural output in Africa, which will be home to 2 billion people by 2050.



Texas State Pa Award Recipients at Centex Aspa Awards Banquet

The following PA students, faculty & alumni will be recognized at the Centex ASPA Public Service Recognition Week Banquet on May 19th in Kyle, Texas.

Distinguished Educator Award

Dianne Rahm, Texas State University

Pi Alpha Alpha, National PA Honor Society Student Inductees

  • Jessica Ancira               
  • Katherine Miller         
  • David Beckerley        
  • Holly Doyle               
  • Jesse Ancira                 
  • Bradley Barrett          
  • Billy Fletcher             
  • Abigail Trahan
  • Lana M. Sveda           

Frank Rich MPA Scholarship Recipients

  • Lisa Paiz
  • Sergio Vasquez S
  • JacQuitta Beeks
  • Ricardo Zavala.

William P. Hobby MPA Intern Fellowship Recipients

  • John Palapala
  • Lynn Anderson
  • Kari Fortenot

James M. McGrew Student Research Awards

Marta Ortiz:A Longitudinal Examination of Hispanic College Enrollment and Graduation:  Has the Texas Closing the Gap Plan been successful?

Faculty Advisor – Hassan Tajalli

William Costello: The New Walking Beat: A Model Assessment Tool for Using Social Media to Enhance Community Policing

Faculty Advisor – Patricia Shields

Distinguished alumni plaques to the following individuals.

  • Collette Jamison, Assistant City Manager, San Marcos, Texas
  • Brian Withrow, Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, Texas State University

Prof. Mora One of Alpha Chi's Favorite Professors for 2016

The Department of Political Science’s very own associate chair, Prof. Mora, was honored by Alpha Chi as one of their Favorite Professors for 2016! The award was received Friday April 29th in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom as part of Alpha Chi’s induction ceremony.

Texas State Political Science Alumna and Professor receives Kemerer Award.

Texas State Political Science Alumna and Professor receives Kemerer Award.

Cari Gray, M.A. 2011, was recently named winner of the Frank R. Kemerer Award presented by the Texas School Administrator’s Legal Digest (TSALD) and the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP). The Award was presented at the TSALD/TASSP Conference in Austin, TX on June 14, 2016. She has been teaching social studies at New Braunfels High School since 1996.    

The purpose of the Award is to recognize an outstanding social studies teacher at the high school level. Candidates for the award are nominated by their high school principal and endorsed by the superintendent. They must display enthusiasm for teaching, creativity, effectiveness, ability to teach various levels of students, and demonstrate involvement in the life and culture of the school. 

In addition to teaching at New Braunfels high School, Ms. Gray also teaches courses at Texas State.   

Cari Gray


Dr. Kens Speaks at a Supreme Court Historical Society Event in Washington D.C.

As part of a May 25th lecture event, Dr. Paul Kens spoke at  “A Conversation on Lochner,”sponsored The Supreme Court Historical Society’s Silverman Lecture Series. He was an introduced by Justice Stephen Breyer. This event took place at The Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C. and was filmed by CSPAN.

Dr. Billy Fields is interviewed by KUT radio

Dr. Billy Fields was interviewed for two news stories for KUT radio in Austin as part of their series, The Road to Zero, which explores traffic deaths and injuries in Austin, TX and the plan to prevent them.

Transcripts of the stories can be viewed on KUT.org. Follow the links below:

The Decades-Old Theory Behind Speed Limits Might Make It Harder To Change Them

Why Driver Distraction Is a Persistent Problem That Defies Easy Solutions



2016 Presidential Election Roundtable Event

On Tuesday, April 26, 2016, the Political Science Department sponsored a well-attended stimulating faculty roundtable discussion on “The 2016 Presidential Election & The Future of American Democracy”.  Participants were Professors Ken Grasso (moderator), Cecilia Castillo, Paul DeHart, Michael Faber, Rudy Hernandez, and Ken Ward.  More than 100 students were present during the discussion and a number of students posed interesting questions for consideration.

Among the questions addressed by the roundtable were the future of the American political party system and possible changes in the American political system as a whole.  A variety of perspectives were offered including comparisons to earlier periods in the American political experience, the role of passion and emotions in political campaigns, and the relationship between the general public and political elites.  


College of Liberal Arts Awards Ceremony

On April 20th the College of Liberal Arts hosted their annual Awards Ceremony to honor students for their excellence in academics and character. The Department of Political Science was well represented.

Kyle McKelvey received the Richard B. Henderson Award which is awarded for academic excellence and character in the tradition of Distinguished Professor Emeritus Henderson.

Melissa Aylward received the Howard M. "Prof' Greene Award                which is awarded for academic excellence in honor of a political mentor to Lyndon B. Johnson and many Other Texas State alumni.

Abigail Trahan received the Barney and Linda Knight Scholarship which is awarded to students majoring in Political Science or Business who have persevered in the face of adversity, overcome financial challenges, and demonstrated academic success.

Justice Mensah received the James H. McCrocklin Scholarship.

Holly Doyle received the Dan Farlow Scholarship as well as the John and Charlotte Sharp Scholarship.

Academic Excellence Certificate Recipients:

Whitney Abshier Holly Doyle Austin Gonzales Zachary Horony Megan Ledsinger Rodrigo Osorio Warren Stoddard
Mike Alvarez Kaitlin Easum Kent Grimes Shelby Huffman Jadelyn Lopez Drake Pamilton Hesiquia Sylvester
Kassandra Avila Lindsay Escalante Stephen Gupton Ahmad Islam Leah Lowder Andrew Pyle Delaney Testerman
Melissa Aylward John Espinosa Kellie Henson Doraneesha Jackson-Wilson Kyle McKelvey John Quiser Abigail Trahan
Breanta Boss Maria Yesenia Favela Jake Herrel Tychanika Kimbrough Bill Medina Roberto Reyes Crystal Winger
Mikayla Clark Nicolas Flores Tyler Hinton Erica Kraft Jennifer Meyer Rodrigo Rodriguez Rand Zeolla
John Clemmer Scott Foster Molly Hoffman-Bricker William Lawrence Logan Nicks Erik Saucedo
Ryan Court Malcolm Galer Michael Hoover Jackline Ledezma Matthew Ocker Vaugh Stockton

Awards Ceremony


Dr. Walter Wright honored as founder of Central Texas Dispute Resolution Center

On April 13, 2016, Dr. Walter Wright received an award recognizing his role as one of the founders of the Central Texas Dispute Resolution Center (CTDRC), a nonprofit corporation that provides low-cost mediation services for the residents of Hays, Comal, Guadalupe and Caldwell Counties.  On the same day, the CTDRC honored its two other founders:  Anna Bartkowski, a 2007 graduate of the master's degree program in Legal Studies and one of Dr. Wright's former students, and Walt Krudop, a mediator and community leader who lives in Dripping Springs.


Walter Award


ICMA MPA Student Chapter Meeting

On Monday evening,  April 18, 2016 the Texas State University International City Management Association (ICMA) MPA Student Chapter met at the City of San Marcos Activity Center. About 50 MPA students, faculty and public administrators from the Region 7 Texas City Management Association (TCMA) were in attendance. The featured speaker for the evening was Mr. Jerrod Miller, City Manager of San Marcos, Texas. Mr. Miller provided an overview of what local governments need to do to prepare for natural disasters. His discussion focused on lessons learned from recent flooding which occurred in San Marcos and surrounding cities in Central Texas.  Ms. Stephanie Reyes, City of San Marcos Assistant Director of Human Resources a member of ICMA provided the audience with valuable information about the benefits of ICMA membership. For additional information about the Texas State University ICMA MPA Student Chapter please contact MPA student representatives Jesse Ancira or ja1423@txstate.edu or Dr. Emily Hanks Emily.hanks@txstate.edu, the chapter’s faculty advisor.

Jerrod Miller
Jerrod Miller


Mr. Park speaks at Inklings gathering!

On Monday, April 11ths, the department’s visiting scholar, Choong hee Park, spoke to an Inklings gathering on Trends in South Korean TV Journalism: Domestic Elections and Politics.  His presentation explored the changing world of political coverage in South Korean TV journalism. His presentation included video clips illustrating the high level of technological sophistication achieved by South Korean TV journalists, a sophistication often surpassing that of American TV journalism.  Mr. Park’s talk included video clips of his own work as a journalist and commentator on South Korean television. These clips demonstrated his creative use of the latest technology to provide his viewers breaking electoral news and analysis.



Judge David Gaultney, alumnus of the Department of Political Science, visits with students!

Judge David Gaultney, formerly of the Texas Ninth Appeals Court, visited with Political Science and Legal Studies students on Tuesday, March 29. He is a graduate of the Texas State University Department of Political Science. Judge Gaultney spoke in a Constitutional Law class with a group of Legal Studies graduate students in the Moot Court Room, discussing the law, law school, and the American judiciary. Judge Gaultney was hosted at a luncheon in the Dean’s Conference Room with a group of two dozen students exploring the possibility of attending law school.

Gaultney with students


Dr. Al Brophy a Guest Speaker at Discourse in Democracy Event

Dr. Al Brophy of the University of North Carolina participated in the most recent Discourse in Democracy event. He spoke on "Reading the Great Constitutional Dream Book" which traced the origins of the idea of equality in the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education to its roots among African American intellectuals. Those long-ignored people, like W.E.B. DuBois and many others now forgotten, argued for a doctrine of equal treatment and campaigned for it in the pages of African American newspapers, periodicals, books, and ultimately the courts. The lecture showed how humble people, at the margin of US society, changed culture, politics, and law.

He conducted two afternoon seminars for small groups of undergraduate and graduate students and that evening delivered a lecture on the topic in Alkek Teaching Theater. Attended by some 200 students, faculty and members of the community, it was another successful Discourse in Democracy event.