From June 21 to June 24, 2017, thirteen mediators from San Luis Potosí and Monterrey, Mexico visited Central Texas to participate in a course entitled “The Culture and Practice of Mediation in Texas.” The course, whose lead instructor was Dr. Walter Wright, was co-sponsored by the Political Science Department of Texas State University and the Faculty of Law at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí. It was the first joint project organized pursuant to a cooperation agreement that the two universities signed in 2016.
During the course, the program participants received approximately twenty hours of classroom instruction and visited the Central Texas Dispute Resolution Center in San Marcos, the Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center in San Antonio, and the Austin Dispute Resolution Center. In addition, they visited Lakeside Mediation Center in Austin, the Texas State Capitol, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, the Alamo, and the San Antonio Riverwalk. Recreation included shopping at the outlet malls in San Marcos and dining at local restaurants in San Marcos, Austin, Greune, and San Antonio. The course was a success, and plans are underway for another visit from Mexican mediators in 2018.
Graduate Teaching Assistants Nathaniel Moore and Amy Perry attended “A Conversation with U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro” hosted by the Texas Tribune at the Austin Club in Austin, Texas, on May 31. The Congressman answered questions from Texas Tribune CEO and founder Evan Smith, and then from the audience. After the talk, Nathaniel and Amy had the opportunity to meet Rep. Castro.
On May 22nd, the Department of Political Science and the Center for Research, Public Policy & Training partnered with the law firm DNRBHZ (Denton, Navarro, Rocha, Bernal, Hyde & Zech, P.C.) to host the 14th Annual Hog Wild conference. The conference is a continuing education seminar for local government officials. The department invited graduate students to attend as well to learn about and to meet local officials from across the state. Deputy Secretary of State Coby Shorter III was the keynote speaker, and breakout sessions included topics such as legislative updates, issues facing police departments, development concerns and issues, drone use, and home rule initiative. Four Texas State graduate students – Samantha Alexander (MPA), Kyle Carvell (MPA), Ricardo Zavala (MPA), and Jennifer Strahl (Legal Studies) – and several faculty members were among the presenters.
At its annual banquet on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, the Central Texas Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration recognized distinguished public administration students, alumni, and educators from Texas State’s Public Administration Program, The University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs and Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service.
Texas State’s Dr. Billy Fields as received a Distinguished Public Administration Educator Award from Texas State University. More than a dozen Texas State graduate and undergraduate students were inducted into Pi Alpha Alpha, the Global Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration; and seven Texas State public administration students were recognized a recipients of $1000 Balanoff Family Scholarships for the Fall 2017 Semester. The scholarship recipients were chosen by the PA Faculty & Awards Committee.
Pi Alpha Alpha Inductees:
Jordan E. Macha
Sarah R. Pressler
Julia M. Webber
Lindsay D. Escalante
Leonides Gomez Jr.
Lisa A. Paiz
Jose Pablo Olvera
Richard Ridings (MPA Alum-Honorary Inductee)
Balanoff Family Scholarship Recipients:
On April 24th 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.
Todd McDonald received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award and Angela Estrada received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award.
Holly Doyle received the Richard B. Henderson Award which is awarded for academic excellence and character in the tradition of Distinguished Professor Emeritus Henderson.
Whitney Abshier and Holly Doyle 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.
Tajudeen Basiru, Bianca Beronio, Kayla Joseph, and 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.
Todd McDonald received the James H. McCrocklin Scholarship.
Todd McDonald received the Dan Farlow Scholarship.
Lilly Woldenhawariat received the John and Charlotte Sharp Scholarship.
Corey Pohlmeyer received the Walter Richter Scholarship.
Academic Excellence Certificate Recipients:
The department’s annual “Alumni Night” event took place on Thursday, April 20th, four alumni from the department advised students on success in jobs and careers. The alumni were Will Conley, Hays County Commissioner; Ashley Wersterfer, Legal Assistant to the General Counsel, Texas State University system; Cari Gray, a faculty member at New Braunfels High School where she teaches dual credit U.S. Government courses and Advanced Placement, U.S. History classes; and Alexandra Manning, Vice President of Natural Resources Solutions. The alumni shared their experiences and offered advice on subjects such as preparing for interviews and office etiquette . Afterwards, students, faculty, and the speakers enjoyed pizza and other refreshments.
On Thursday, April 20th, Drs. Arnold Leder and Hassan Tajalli shared their views on the internal politics of Iran, Turkey, Israel’s relations with other states in the Middle East and America’s important role in the region. Their presentations were followed by questions and discussion among the department’s faculty and graduate students. Entitled “The Middle East: America, Iran, Turkey, Israel, & Beyond,” the roundtable was moderated by Dr. Robert Gorman.
The department’s “Inklings” gatherings for faculty and graduate students are in their seventeenth year. They take their name from a small group of intellectuals (whose ranks included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S Lewis) who met weekly at Oxford University in the early and middle decades of the 20th century to read aloud and discuss their works in progress.
The Political Science Department's Model United Nations (MUN) program sent students to participate in Model United Nations Emory (MUNE) competition in Atlanta, Georgia from March 30th – April 2nd, 2017. Other institutions competing in the MUNE, included Florida State University, the University of Georgia, the University of Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. Texas State’s delegation consisted of Julia Huerta, John Espinosa, Ana Flores, Sheldon Galipp, Dustin Nichols, Christian Sears, and Cassandra Macias, as well as faculty advisor, Prof. Ben Arnold. Texas State can be proud of these students’ efforts, as they each represented the Political Science Department and our University in an exemplary manner.
Dr. James R. Stoner, Jr., the Herman Moyse, Jr. Professor of Political Science at Louisiana State University, visited Texas State on Friday, April 7th to deliver a talk on “What Donald Trump Understands about the Presidency.” His 45-minute talk sought to situate the presidency of Donald Trump historically and to analyze it in terms of various theoretical models about the presidency. The talk was followed by another 45 minutes of questions and discussion. A wisely published scholar in the area of American constitutionalism, Dr. Stoner’s books include Common Law and Liberal Theory: Coke, Hobbes and the Origins of American Constitutionalism (University of Kansas Press, 1992) and Common-Law Liberty: Rethinking American Constitutionalism (University of Kansas Press, 2003).