Currently in Political Science

Kansas State University Nominates Two Political Science Students for Truman Scholarship

Ciara Chambers and Eleanor Dickens, both juniors in political science, are two of four students nominated by Kansas State University for the 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholarship. The Truman Scholarship recognizes college students with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in public service, government or the nonprofit sector. If awarded, it provides up to $30,000 in financial support for graduate education. The four nominated Kansas State University students will compete with more than 600 nominees from across the nation for the 60 scholarships awarded. Finalists were announced on February 27, and scholarships will be announced on April 15. 

Ciara ChambersChambers, a junior in political science, Spanish and international studies with a pre-law emphasis, is a member of Kappa Delta sorority and an ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. She is the vice president and judicial affairs chair of the Panhellenic Executive Board, and the social and fundraising chair for the university's Model United Nations team. She has received the Lori Payne Memorial Scholarship, the Megan Taylor Scholarship from the modern language department, and the Rieger-McCrery Scholarship from the political science department. In 2013, she received the Fellowship for the Study of Classical Liberalism sponsored by the Fred C. and Mary R. Kich Foundation. She plans to attend law school and focus on immigration law and immigration policy after graduation. Ciara, a graduate of Derby High School, is the daughter of Steve and Stephanie Chambers, Derby.

Eleanor DickensDickens is a junior in political science, anthropology and international studies, with a minor in economics. She is the president of the International Coordinating Council; chair of K-State Proud, a student-led fundraising campaign for Kansas State University students and a part of the Student Foundation; a student senator for the College of Arts and Sciences; and a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She has received the Joseph Hajda Student Scholarship from the political science department, the university's Foundation Scholarship and an Office of International Programs scholarship. She researches the effects of globalization and technological growth of the human and sex trafficking trade. She is interested in public policy and pursuing a master's degree in international development and diplomacy. Eleanor, a graduate of Blue Valley Southwest High School, is the daughter of David and Linda Dickens, Overland Park.

Since the establishment of the Truman Foundation in 1977, 34 Kansas State University students have been awarded the Truman Scholarship - more than any other state-supported university. As impressive, more than half of KSU's winners have been political science majors. In 1996, the Truman Foundation named Kansas State University a Truman Scholar Honor Institution, one of 17 inaugural schools to receive the title.

To learn more about competing for future Truman Scholarships or other scholarships while a student at Kansas State University, contact Jim Hohenbary at

Political Science Junior Wins Fellowship to Study at Princeton

Shai WashingtonShai Washington, junior in political science, has received a nationally competitive fellowship from the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Program to attend PPIA's Junior Summer Institute (JSI). The Junior Summer Institute is an intensive seven week program designed to prepare college juniors for advanced degrees and for careers serving the public good. The JSI curriculum "... includes economics, statistics, domestic/international policy issues and leadership topics, all designed to sharpen the students' quantitative, analytic and communication skills -- skills [that] are vital for admission into the top graduate programs in public and international affairs."

Washington chose to attend the Junior Summer Institute program at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs this summer, and all of her expenses will be supported by the fellowship. JSI programs will also be held at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and Carnegie Mellon University.

"I was ecstatic when I found out," Washington said. "This is an incredible opportunity to really focus on the skills needed to be successful in an international or public affairs graduate program. I normally would not be able to participate in a program like this because of financial constraints. My career goal is to become a Foreign Service Officer, and this as an amazing opportunity that will help me on this journey."

Washington has been heavily involved in extracurricular activities during her time at Kansas State University. She has been an ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences, a Multicultural Ambassador and student blogger for KSU's Admissions Office, Director of Retention Strategies for the university's Student Governing Association, and a participant in the university's Model United Nations team. A McNair Scholar, Washington also received a Quest Freshman Award at Kansas State designed to further her involvement in a range of campus activities.

A graduate of Shawnee Mission West high school, Shai is the daughter of Stephanie Grigsby, Lenexa.


Political Science Graduate Wins 2015 Distinguished Young Alumni Award

Matt King

Matt King, BA Political Science (2007), is the recipient of the K-State Alumni Association Student Alumni Board's 2015 Distinguished Young Alumni Award. This award recognizes K-State graduates who are younger than 35 and are using the scholarship, leadership and service experience they acquired at K-State to excel in their professions and contribute to their communities.

King is a fund analyst for the World Bank Group, an international development institution in Washington, D.C., that provides finance and technical assistance to developing countries. King helps manage two funds capitalized at $283 million that support energy access, renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects.

While at K-State, King was the co-founder of the nationally recognized K-State Proud campaign and president of Student Alumni Board, among other roles. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from K-State in 2007 with a degree in political science and natural resources and environmental sciences, before continuing his education as a Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University, where he earned a master's degree in environmental change and management.

King will be visiting campus February 23-25 to give a keynote presentation and visit with student groups and university classes.


Patricia A. Seitz Named Alumni Fellow

Judge SeitzSenior US District Judge Patricia Seitz, BA 1968, was honored as a University Alumni Fellow in April. Judge Seitz spent two days on campus, and shared her insights and experiences with students in John Fliter's Constitutional 

Law course and with pre-law students on campus. She also met with two Seitz scholarship recipients on campus, and with student veterans.

Seitz is Senior Judge in the Southern District of Florida. She served as cheif legal counsel in the White House Office of National Drug control Policy, and prior to that was a partner in the firm Steel, Hector, and Davis, LLP. Seitz is the first woman elected president of the Florida Bar. Her visit was extremely enjoyable and beneficial for students and faculty, and a delight in every way. She was joined by her husband Alan Greer during the trip. Greer is a trial lawyer in private practice, and also provided enriching insight.


Earhart Foundation to Sponsor Mini-Conference in Department

The Earhart Foundation, a charitable foundation founded in 1929 by Harry Boyd Earhart, has provided a $7,500 grant to the Department of Political Science for a Mini-Conference featuring the authors contributing to Perspectives on Modern Honor, an edited volume that will be published by Lexington Press. The Mini-Conference, co-hosted by Dr. Laurie M. Johnson (Political Science, KSU) and Dan Demetriou (Philosophy, University of Minnesota-Morris) will be held Friday, March 27, 2015 in KSU's Hale Library (Hemisphere Room, 5th Floor). It is open to the public, and we encourage those with an interest to attend.

Dr. Johnson

The conference volume, edited by Johnson and Demetriou, will feature authors such as Anthony Cunningham (College of St. Benedict/St. John's), Dan Demetriou (University of Minnesota-Morris), Amitai Etzioni (George Washington University), Steven Forde (University of North Texas), Mark Griffith (University of West Alabama), Sharon Krause (Brown University), Richard Ned Lebow (Dartmouth University and King's College, London), Andrea Mansker (Sewanee), Ryan Rhodes (University of Oklahoma), Paul Robinson (University of Ottawa), Steven Skultety (University of Mississippi), Joe Thomas (U.S. Naval Academy), and Ajume Wingo (University of Colorado). The March 27 conference to be held in the Hemisphere Room of Hale Library will feature many of these authors (see the conference schedule on the department main page). For information on the volume, visit "Books in the Series." This website also features information on the book series that Johnson and Demetriou co-edit.

The series, Honor and Obligation in Liberal Society: Problems and Prospects, already has several books on honor under contract. Dr. Johnson's latest book, Honor in America? Tocqueville on American Enlightenment, will be published in this series. is a blog, administered by Demetriou, and featuring posts from Demetriou, Johnson, and many other authors, that serves as the locus of the resurgent interest in the concept of honor as a motivator in politics, economics, and social life.


Michael Flynn Joins Faculty

FlynnWe are pleased that Dr. Michael Flynn joined the department in fall 2014. Flynn was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Alabama in 2013-2014, and received his PhD from Binghamton University in 2013. He is already a highly accomplished scholar on US foreign policy issues, and thus a nice complement to our department and our Security Studies graduate programs.

Flynn will teach courses on US foreign policy, international conflict, and other aspects of international relations. He has published on a range of issues concerning US foreign policy decision-making and also international NGO activity in leading journals such as International Studies Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, Journal of Peace Research, and Foreign Policy Analysis.

 Dr. Johnson wins William L. Stamey Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising  


Dr. Laurie Johnson has won the College of Arts and Sciences most prestigious award for undergraduate advising, the William L. Stamey Advising Award. Dr. Johnson received the honor in recognition of the outstanding job she has done mentoring and advising not only Political Science students, but also students from all majors participating in KSU's Primary Text Program.

Dr. Johnson helped to create the Primary Text Program at KSU nearly a decade and a half ago, and she has served as the Director of the program ever since. She is known for giving focused attention to Political Science and Primary Text students, and for being an outstanding and accessibl advisor. Dr. Johnson becomes the 16th faculty member to receive this award since it was established in 1999.

Model UN Team Re-launched

model un

Kansas State University's Model United Nations team has successfully returned to competition. The team won three awards at the 54th Midwest Model UN Conference in St. Louis in February and four awards at the American Model UN International in Chicago in November. These were the first Kansas State University teams to compete at Model UN competitions in over 30 years.

The team was relaunched by John Fliter Jr., associate professor of political science, as part of the activities associated with his term as the university's 2013-2014 Coffman Chair for Distinguished Teaching Scholars. Carla Martinez Machain, assistant professor of political science, is the team's co-advisor.

In Model UN competitions, teams typically role-play delegates to the UN. Each team is assigned certain countries to represent, and awards are given for team members who excel in their delegate roles. Kansas State University teams represented the Philippines, Czech Republic, Senegal and Ecuador in St. Louis and Congo, Malaysia, and Romania in Chicago. Both KSU teams were among the largest at each competition, underscoring the considerable student interest across campus in Model UN competitions.

The team hopes to compete in the St. Louis and Chicago competitions again next year. If you would like to support KSU's Model UN team, please contact Emily Mahoney from the KSU Foundation at

Notable Alumni Visit KSU Political Science Classes

John HofmeisterTwo notable KSU alumni recently returned to Manhattan and spoke to KSU Political Science classes. John Hofmeister, BA (1971) and MA (1973) in Political Science, former President of Shell Oil (2005-2008) and founder of citizens for Affordable Energy, spoke to students in POLSC 611 Legislative Processes on February 11, 2014. Just two weeks before the classes, John had been featured in a segment on CNN's Anderson Cooper news program on the influence that money has on Congressional politics. Students watched the CNN clip before John's talk and then asked a range of questions. John was also gracious enough to speak at a number of other venues on campus, including giving the Lou Douglas Lecture that evening. Talk about learning from a respected and knowledgeable source!
General Richard Myers

General Richard Myers (ret.), BS Mechanical Engineering (1965), spoke to students in POLSC 549 International Defense Strategies on February 7.  General Myers served as 15th Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the United States, from 2001 to 2005.  Given his lengthy military career and his participation in a host of important foreign policy decisions, his insights were greatly appreciated by  students. Again, an alumnus helped to give back one of the most valuable things former K-Staters have to offer our current generation of  students - their insight and their knowledge.


Needless to say, both alumni visits were extremely successful and provided invaluable information and understanding for our students. 


Political Science Graduate Programs Ranked Among Best in the Country

According to, the graduate education experience offered by KSU's Political Science department is among the best in the country. The website surveys recent and current graduate students on the quality and value of their graduate education, and then evaluates programs across fifteen categories. Overall, the graduate programs housed in KSU's Department of Political Science were ranked the 13th best in the country. We had good company in this ranking — sandwiched between Harvard University (ranked 12th) and Yale University (ranked 14th). KSU's graduate programs were ranked #1 in the country for both career support and faculty support.

Our ranking is a testament to the dedication and the tremendous effort of our faculty and the outstanding graduate students who choose to join us. Of course, this same dedication and energy is also evident every day in our approach to undergraduate education. We have a long history of providing an outstanding experience for undergraduate students, which we are both proud of and continue to build on.

Internationally Recognized Speakers Visit the Department

Four internationally recognized speakers visited the department this academic year.

Cooper DruryA. Cooper Drury, chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri, gave a talk on April 11. Drury is the editor of the International Studies Association (ISA) journal Foreign Policy Analysis and was named a Quincy Wright Distinguished Scholar by the International Studies Association-Midwest in 2013. He has published widely on the foreign policy process and economic sanctions and has served on numerous journal editorial boards, including those for International Studies Quarterly and International Interactions.
Amaney Jamal

Amaney Jamal, a professor of political science at Princeton University, gave a talk on February 27, 2014 on US foreign policy and democratization in the Middle East. Jamal has a forthcoming book on the subject entitled "Of Empires and Citizens: Pro-American Democracy or No Democracy at All?" Named a Carnegie Scholar in 2005, Jamal is a well-known expert on the democratization process across the Middle East and the issues encountered by Arab Americans. Her book Barriers to Democracy won the Best Book Award in Comparative Democratization at the American Political Science Association.


Patrick James, Dornsife Dean's Professor and Director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Southern California, gave a talk on succeeding in graduate study and academia on September 17 2013. Among a long list of awards, Dr. James has been honored as a Distinguished Professor by two separate sections of the ISA; he has been Vice President of the ISA, and President of the International Council of Canadian Studies. James served a term as editor of the prominent journal International Studies Quarterly, and has served on the editorial boards of the American Political Science Review, Foreign Policy Analysis, and International Interactions among other journals.

Mark Tessler

Mark Tessler, the Vice Provost for International Affairs and Samuel J. Eldersveld Collegiate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan, gave a public lecture on November 4 2013. Dr. Tessler is a well-known expert on public opinion and behavior in the Arab world and the Middle East, and is a founder and co-director of the influential Arab Barometer Survey Project. He has been President of the American Institute for Maghreb Studies, President of the Association for Israel Studies, and on the Board of Directors of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts University and Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.


Professors win Prominent Teaching Awards

Brianne HeidbrederDr. Brianne Heidbreder has received a William L. Stamey Award from KSU’s College of Arts and Sciences. The Stamey Award is the highest teaching honor given in our college. Dr. Heidbreder is known for her engaging and effective instruction style and her outstanding teaching in all types of classes, from large lecture halls to small seminars. We anticipate that Dr. Heidbreder will receive a number of additional teaching accolades in the years to come.
John Flilter

Dr. John Fliter, Jr. has received the foremost teaching honor given across all of Kansas State. He will serve as KSU's Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars during the 2013-2014 academic year. Dr. Fliter has long been known as a dedicated and passionate professor, and has a well-deserved reputation for teaching excellence among students. His hard work and commitment to teaching have been recognized with this endowed chair, which honors him with the title University Distinguished Teaching Scholar for the remainder of his career. During his year in residence as the Coffman Chair, Dr. Fliter will share his ideas on the art of teaching to the K-State community in a widely publicized lecture as well as in a series of workshops. 


Congratulations to Dr. Heidbreder and Dr. Fliter for adding to our department's rich history of excellence in the classroom! 

Department Launches Online Graduate Certificate

The Department of Political Science recently introduced a new graduate Certificate in Public Administration. The certificate is designed to provide a high quality educational experience to public servants interested in furthering their credentials as well as other students who may have difficulty attending graduate classes on traditional “brick and mortar” college campuses. It provides the most fundamental courses that those in public service administration need to master in a widely accessible, interactive format. Busy professionals and those with a range of other time constraints are able to complete weekly coursework in the setting and at the time they choose in our new online courses while still being able to draw from valuable interaction with student peers and the course professor.  We believe that the online graduate certificate in public administration will provide valuable knowledge for current and future public servants, and a worthwhile credential.

We are also developing non-credit course modules that will provide training on the legal issues that local government employees and administrators often encounter. Similar to our Public Administration Certificate courses, these non-credit course modules are also designed for busy professionals and will be offered as interactive, online courses. The modules have been endorsed by the Kansas League of Municipalities and will be included in their 2014 Municipal Leadership Academy. In the future, particular modules will allow practicing attorneys to earn Continuing Legal Education credit.

New Courses Offered in the Department

Sabri Ciftci

Department faculty have recently developed new courses that should be of wide interest. A course entitled Political Islam will be offered by Assistant Professor Sabri Ciftci in spring 2014. The course will explore the role that Islam may play in governance in Muslim societies and the extent to which the religion is compatible with democratization. Since it explores the philosophical foundations of Islamic views of governance as well as modern challenges, it will count toward either the comparative politics or a political thought upper level course requirement for majors.   The course will be offered as a 600 level topics course in Spring 2014, and will become a regular online course option the following year.
Zhiwei Zhang

Instructor Katharine Jackson has developed a new course entitled Local Government Law which will also be offered online in spring 2014 as a topics course. Local government law touches every aspect of our lives. Actions as simple as purchasing a latte from your local Starbucks’ drive-thru have been defined, shaped, and regulated by myriad local laws. At the same time, local government is the easiest point of access for citizens in a democracy. A recent City Attorney for the City of Manhattan, Dr. Jackson knows the intricacies of local government law extremely well. This course will also soon become a regular online option in our course catalog.

New courses have also been developed for our MPA students. Two of these new offerings are available this year as pro-seminar topics courses. Public Finance, offered by Assistant Professor Zhiwei Zhang this fall, examines the role and impact of governmental policy in a market economy.

Assistant Professor Josephine Schafer will offer a new course on Strategic Management of Public Organizations in spring 2014. It will examine how public managers identify, plan and accomplish public purposes in a sustainable fashion. Both of these courses will soon become part of our standard rotation of public administration courses.