Skip to Content

Department News

Political Science Departmental News

 

Meet the Professors 2020

On Wednesday, September 9th, Discourse in Democracy sponsored the political science department’s annual “Meet the Professors” event. Despite heavy rain and social distancing protocols, 60 . . .

Click to read more...

Poli Sci Students Win Award and Publish Research

Kendall Allen (Texas State '20) and Ileane Marquez (Texas State '20) have had their research papers “‘For Their Greatest Good’: Education as a Diplomatic Tool in Negotiations with Native Peoples,” and “The Right to Intervene: European Non-Interference and U.S. Aggression in Latin America,” respectively, published in ...

Click to read more...

Dr. Michael Faber Appears on Good Day Austin on Fox 7 News

Dr. Faber on the news

On Thursday, August 20th 2020, Dr. Michael Faber appeared on Good Day Austin on KTBC Fox News 7 to discuss the ongoing Democratic convention.. . .

Click to read more...


Semester News, Continued

Expand or Collapse all.
  • On Friday, August 14th 2020, the Texas State University System's Board of Regents announced their 2020 Regents' Award Winners. Political Science's own Dr. Patricia Shields was one of only three faculty members across the state to be named a “Regents’ Professor”, the highest honor awarded by the system. It recognizes Dr. Shields' "excellence and exemplary achievement in the areas of teaching, research and publication, and service." "I am thrilled and humbled by this recognition,” Dr. Shields commented, “and I want to thank my family, students and friends in the Political Science Department and throughout the University for all their support and encouragement over the years," she added.

    During her years at Texas State, Dr. Shields has received many awards for excellence in teaching including Texas State’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Texas State Faculty Senate’s Everette Swinney Teaching Award. She directed the Masters of Public Administration Program for 17 years. Her publications include over 60 articles and book chapters on a wide range of subjects including civil-military relations, peace, history of women in public administration, application of pragmatism to public administration and research methods. She has also published four books, the most recent of which is Jane Addams: Progressive Pioneer of Peace, Philosophy, Sociology, Social Work and Public Administration. In 1984, she won the Texas State Presidential Seminar Research Award. In addition, she serves on the Editorial Board for Administration & Society and  as a Contributing Editor to Parameters: Quarterly Journal of the US Army War College. Since 2001, she has served as Editor-in-Chief to Armed Forces and Society, the leading peer reviewed journal on civil-military relations.

    In 2019, Dr. Shields was elected to the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), which was chartered by Congress to provide independent, nonpartisan and neutral advice to government leaders and agencies on all levels of government about emerging trends in governance and public administration. NAPA’s 850 peer-elected fellows include former cabinet officers, Members of Congress, governors, mayors, and state legislators, as well as prominent scholars, business executives, and public administrators. Election to the National Academy is one of the highest honors for those engaged in the study or practice of public administration. Dr. Shields is one of 29 fellows from Texas.

    The Texas State University System, founded in 1911, consists of seven institutions educating more than 86,000 students. Member institutions include: Lamar University, Sam Houston State University, Sul Ross State University, Texas State University, Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar State College Orange, and Lamar State College Port Arthur.

    The Department of Political Science is extremely proud of Dr. Shields and her achievements.

  • On Monday, June 13th, Texas State Political Science Professor Dr. Billy Fields was interviewed by The Austin Monitor as part of a story about the Austin Transportation Department's efforts to reduce injuries & fatalities on city roads through a new speed zone strategy. The strategy involves reducing speeds city-wide, standardizing speeds for type of street (e.g. residential, business), and creating a set of color-coded markers to remind drivers of the type of street and expected speed in each zone. An expert on road design, Dr. Fields' emphasized the realistic and gradual nature of the new project “If you think about redoing all of Austin’s streets, you’re not going to be able to do that in one fell swoop, but we go through and we resurface the streets all the time. Each time that we resurface a street we should be looking for those opportunities."

    The article, "Garza suggests color-coded speed zones to slow car traffic," can be viewed online here: https://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2020/06/garza-suggests-color-coded-speed-zones-to-slow-car-traffic/.

  • Dr. Shields

    On Tuesday, March 7, President Trauth announced that the university had named Dr. Patricia Shields a 2020 University Distinguished Professor.

    This award honors individuals whose performance in teaching, research, and service has been exemplary and recognized at the state, national, and international levels. Dr. Shields will retain the title of "University Distinguished Professor" for the duration of her service at Texas State and be recognized during the fall convocation.

    UAC

    Dr. Shields joined Texas State’s Department of Political Science in 1978. She has received many awards for excellence in teaching such as the National Association for Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, Leslie A Whittington Excellence in Teaching Award (2002), The Texas State Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching (2001), the Texas State Faculty Senate, Everette Swinney Teaching Award (2010) as well as the Professor of the Year Award from the Central Texas Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (2006).

    She has published over four books and over 60 articles and book chapters on subjects ranging public pricing, cut back management, Jane Addams, privatization, the sunset review process, military recruitment, conscription, women in the military, military families, expeditionary and peacekeeping forces, military bureaucracies, and the . Recently she has focused on applying the philosophy of pragmatism to public administration and research methods in public administration. She has also published four books, the most recent of which is Jane Addams: Progressive Pioneer of Peace, Philosophy, Sociology, Social Work and Public Administration. In 1984 she won the Texas State Presidential Seminar research award and in 2007 she won the Public Administration Review Laverne Burchfield Award for the best review essay. In addition, professionally, she serves on the Editorial Board for Administration & Society and the Journal of Public Affairs Education. Since 2001, she has served as Editor-in-Chief to Armed Forces and Society, the leading peer reviewed journal on civil-military relations.

    NAPA

    In 2019, Dr. Shields was elected to the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), which was chartered by Congress to provide independent, nonpartisan and neutral advice to government leaders and agencies on all levels of government about emerging trends in governance and public administration. NAPA’s  850 peer-elected fellows include former cabinet officers, Members of Congress, governors, mayors, and state legislators, as well as prominent scholars, business executives, and public administrators. Election to the National Academy is one of the highest honors for those engaged in the study or practice of public administration. Dr. Shields is one of 29 fellows from Texas.

  • Poli sci grad student Adam Henley recently presented a paper on John Courtney Murray’s account of American liberalism at the Lone Star Conference for Political Science at Texas A&M Corpus Christi on March 6-7th.  The Lone Star Conference is an annual meeting of political scientists and grad students. Papers were presented by faculty and graduate students from a variety of universities including UT Rio Grande Valley, UT Austin, University of Houston, and Jacksonville State University. Presenters were allowed an hour to share their essays and take questions from the other attendees. Henley particularly enjoyed the questions and feedback saying “I was probably the most junior person in a room of PhD candidates and professors,” and it really helped him to be to talk about his “work with people further along in the field.”

    Adam Henley Presenting his paper


    Henley’s paper grew out of a piece he wrote in one of Dr. Grasso’s courses. Henley reported that “the value of the feedback on my political thought from seasoned political scientists is immeasurable.” He added that he hopes “more students from Texas State will endeavor to put their work out there in future years.”

    The panel discussing Henley's paper

  • Dr. Brittain with President Denise Trauth Dr. Brittain Speaking

    On Tuesday, March 10th, the Department of Political Science held a retirement reception honoring Dr. Vicki Brittain in the Reed Parr Room of JCK. Attendees from across campus, including President Denise Trauth, gathered to thank Dr. Brittain for her many years of service to the department and university. Drs. Kenneth Grasso, Chair of the Department of Political Science and Mary Brennan, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts addressed the gathering paying tribute to Dr. Brittain’s contributions. Dr. Brittain thanked the attendees and spoke about how much she has enjoyed her years here and the various roles the university has afforded us her the opportunity to fill.

    Vicki Brittain joined Texas State’s faculty in 1980. During her years here, she served, at various times, as director of the Legal Studies Program, Acting Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Chair of the Department of Political Science and Assistant to the President.

    Brittain Retirement Crowd The cake
  • Kendall Allen answering questions Kendall Allen listening in a panel

    Kendall Allen, an undergraduate poli sci major, presented an original research paper titled “For Their Greatest Good”: Education as a Diplomatic Tool in Negotiations with Native Peoples as part of a panel at the Florida Conference of Historians (FCH) in Lake City, Florida on February 27-29th. Kendall’s research “spanned a pretty large timeline”, as she put it, “starting with the philosophies of Washington and Jefferson and working towards the fruition of the boarding school era.” Her thesis was that “the purpose of schooling young tribe-members was to strategically reduce the landholdings of Native American nations and pacify troublesome tribes.”

    The paper, which had already been presented once and refined by the Phi Alpha Theta History Conference at Texas State, received “stellar” feedback from audience and commentators alike, according to the conference’s faculty liaison, Dr. Ronald Johnson. Dr. Scott Heerman from the University of Miami called Kendall’s research “ambitious, well-polished, and thought provoking.”

    Her paper was one part of a three-person panel featuring papers by two other Texas State students, Hannah Thompson and Ileane Marquez.

  • LBJ LBJ

    The Lyndon Baines Johnson Museum of San Marcos, in partnership with the Department of Political Science, held its 2020 Spring Lecture on March 5th. The speaker, Dr. David Zarefsky, a professor at Northwestern University and a specialist incommunications and history, is the author of several  books including President Johnson’s War on Poverty and Lincoln, Douglas, and Slavery: In the Crucible of Public Debate. More than forty people attended his lecture on “War on Poverty – 50 Years Later” which explored the efforts by the Johnson and Kennedy administrations to address the problem of poverty in America.

    LBJ LBJ

    In his talk, Dr. Zarefsky spoke about different definitions of poverty and how they influenced the debates in the 1960s surrounding the war. He began by discussing the different approaches employed by the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. He emphasized the importance of  aggressiveness of President Johnson’s approach and the legislation that resulted from it.

    Political science student, Kelly Torpey noted the lecture was "extremely rewarding" and added she gained a "better understanding of LBJ's social reform policy."

    LBJ LBJ

    The lecture was preceded by a reception honoring Dr. Zarefsky and followed by a question and answer session. After the program concluded, Dr. Zarefsky stayed to talk with people individually about his lecture.

  • Legal Studies Legal Studies

    On February 24, 2020, Dr. Cristina Camelino, an attorney and mediator from La Plata, Argentina, gave a presentation to Dr. Wright’s Alternative Dispute Resolution legal studies class on "Mediating with Older Adults." The presentation focused on the implications of  today’s longer lifespans which require us to “unlearn” traditional attitudes about older people and recognize them as people who are able to live productive lives well into their more advanced years. The attitude shift, which she calls “learning anew,” needs to take place among older adults themselves as well as members of younger generations. The general goal is to add more dignity to the lives of older adults. Legal Studies student, Sarai Benitez, noted that Dr. Camelino "showed how as future legal professionals we are able to play a vital and much needed-role." She added it was insightful to relate “mediation to the new aging process.' "

  • INKLINGS INKLINGS

    On Wednesday, February 26th, the department hosted an Inklings gathering featuring Dr. Vance McMahan, one of the department’s professors of practice, who spoke about “Serving the UN: The Good, the Bad and the Surprising.” A U.S. former Ambassador and Representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, Dr. McMahan’s talk drew on his personal experience there and explored the presidential appointment process; General Assembly voting patterns, including the issue of countries who receive significant aid from the United States but fail to support the U.S. on important votes; and the budget structure of the UN. He also discussed serving on the Economic and Social Council and described its extensive oversight responsibilities, primary functions and its role in providing a forum for non-government organizations to have a significant voice on UN issues.

    INKLINGS INKLINGS

    Kyle Turner, a political science student who attended, found the talk to be a “good experience” in which he “learned much about the UN” from someone who worked there. Graduate student, Kaleb Kelly enjoyed the “behind the scenes look at the operations” of the UN and felt it was “both interesting and informative.” Another graduate student, Rex Wyatt, found the meeting allowed for a “better understanding of the nature and process of the UN.”

    The department’s “inklings” gatherings 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.

  • SCONA Students group photo at the conference

    On February 13-15th, the Department of Political Science sent a team of three students to the prestigious annual Student Conference on National Affairs (SCONA) held at Texas A&M University College Station. SCONA’s 65th annual meeting brought together students from around the world and gave them the opportunity to interact with premier scholars, industry professionals, and well-known public figures. Political Science majors Kevin Brown, Pauleana Morang and Jesilyn Williams represented the department this year, and they all had, in their own words, an “amazing” and “enlightening” experience. Brown’s team won second place in the competition.  
     
    The theme of this year’s conference was “Forging America’s Future: Exploring Solutions for Current Challenges,” and the participants were part of small teams that analyzed U.S. policy in regards to topics ranging from infrastructure and climate change to great powers conflict and the new space race. The object of the conference was to introduce students to the decision-making process in the global community.The keynote speakers were Colonel Mike Fossum (Former NASA Astronaut), Brigadier General Kim Field (Executive Director of the Albritton Center for Grand Strategy at the Bush School of Public Service) and Major General Patrick Hamilton (Commanding General, 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard).

    Three studnets posing in the SCONA lobby


    Each of the TXST students chose to participate in different small teams based on their areas of interests. For example, Kevin worked on a team tasked with developing cybersecurity initiatives to strengthen U.S based cybersecurity and to prevent intellectual property theft. They won the second place award for the best overall presentation. Pauleana worked on a team studying the challenges of the Great Power Competition posed by China and Russia. Jesilyn worked in the natural resource security team. In addition to learning from experts and their peers and developing expertise on current issues in international security affairs, the students also greatly appreciated the opportunity to network with professionals in the field.  

  • The four alumni seated at their table students listening to the alumni present

    On Wednesday, February 19th Discourse in Democracy hosted the Political Science department’s annual Alumni Night event. Four alumni shared their post-graduate experiences in a panel, hoping to spread some of their knowledge of the career world to current students. The topics covered included the details of federal employment, interview etiquette, and strategy for turning internships into jobs. This year’s alumni panel consisted of Nicholas Funari (MPA), Clint Johnson (MA), Kate Moriarty (BA), and Sabrina Rodriguez (MA Legal Studies). Funari and Johnson both work in federal government, the former as an acquisition/bidding executive and the latter as a Special Investigator for DHS. Kate Moriarty works for Senator John Cornyn in his Austin, Texas office, while Rodriguez works at Texas State University as a Title IX investigator.

    Students enjoying refreshments in the lobby after the panel The alumni posing after the presentation


    After the panel, students, faculty, and alumni enjoyed pizza and snacks along with some informal conversation at the department’s reception. Additionally, undergraduates were able to meet current grad students and ask questions about the department’s three graduate programs. Graduate student Victor Jubril said that he learned “a lot of lessons” at the event, such as how “connection is key to finding that dream job in the real world,” and the importance of “internships…and keeping an updated LinkedIn profile.” Most importantly, he noted that the wide range of experience on the panel encouraged him to “never feel ‘not good enough’ to fill a position, because [you] just might be the perfect fit.” Graduate student Maribel Rodriguez said she felt the event was “really helpful” and appreciated the comment that “one should apply even when the job posting seems unattainable.”

    Students talking with alumni Students talking with alumni

     

  • Best graduate schools logo

     

    In a recent press release from GradReports, Texas State University was ranked a best college for Public Administration. The GradReports rankings are the first to be based on median early-career salary data of over five million graduates according to the U.S. Department of Education’s “College Scorecard” resource. Dr. Nandhini Rangarajan, Director of the MPA program, noted, "At a moment when high cost of education and rising student debt are issues of national interest, this is a timely recognition for our MPA program that has, for decades, emphasized the importance of rigorous, high quality yet affordable graduate education"

Click here to view our News Archive.