Currently in Political Science
Model U.N. Program Relaunches after Thirty Years
The Model U.N. program allows students to take on the role of diplomats for various countries in a mock setup of the United Nations. In addition to learning about a country’s background and policies, participants are expected to act as diplomats from each country as they would in an international relations setting. Fliter, along with assistant professor of political science Carla Martinez Machain, serves as an adviser to the new organization. As the university’s 2013-2014 Coffman Chair, Fliter said he wanted to find projects that students could do to take advantage of the education gained in the classroom. “We have a lot of political science students with the knowledge, but they don’t know have the opportunity to apply it,” Fliter said. Fliter said the response to the team’s renewal has been overwhelming. “We have 35 students signed up for the team,” Fliter said. “There have been so many applicants, we’ve had to form four delegations."
Fliter said the team will participate in the four day Midwest Model United Nations conference held in St. Louis, Missouri in February. The team will represent the countries of the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Senegal, and the Philippines. Fliter said the team will be given resources to help them succeed at the conference. “We have two graduate students helping us out,” Fliter said. “The school is also hosting teachers from Ecuador and we’ve asked them to speak to the team in order to share their expertise.” Eli Woerpel, junior in political science, serves as one of the senior delegates on the Czech Republic team. Woerpel studied abroad in the Czech Republic and said his experience was one of many reasons why we wanted to join the Model U.N. Delegates. Woerpel said the team may face several pressing international issues ranging from nuclear weapon treaties to HIV and its impact on women. “As a delegate, you realize the difficulty and complexities of international relations,” Woerpel said.
The team plans to meet as a large group once a month and host more frequent meetings between the smaller delegations. Woerpel said the team is still trying to get everything organized. “We have just created a constitution,” Woerpel said. “We’re at the beginning stages.” Becca Kaye, sophomore in political science, philosophy, and international relations, said she joined the Model U.N. because it was a natural fit for her interests. “I want to learn about international relations,” Kaye said. “Nothing says international relations like Model U.N.” Kaye said she wanted to get a better understanding of other countries’ policies and how that might relate to Americans. Delegates on the team need to know how their nation stands on the issues, according to Kaye. “It’s knowing all about the country you are supporting or backing up different resolutions in your committee,” Kaye said. The team still has a few spots open, which Fliter said he expects to fill soon. - K-State Collegian Story by Jon Parton
Asst Prof Carla Martinez Machain
Internationally Recognized Speakers visit Department
Two internationally prominent speakers will visit the department this fall. Patrick James, Dornsife Dean's Professor and Director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Southern California, will give a talk on succeeding in graduate study and academia on September 17. He will discuss how to get into strong and appropriate PhD programs, how to succeed in them, and how to navigate the early stages of an academic career. Among a long list of awards, Dr. James has been honored as a Distinguished Professor by two separate sections of the International Studies Association (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, the Vice Provost for International Affairs and Samuel J. Eldersveld Collegiate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan will give a public lecture at 6 pm, November 4 in Leadership Studies’ Town Hall (Room 114). Dr. Tessler is a well-known expert on public opinion and behavior in the Arab world and the Middle East, and is the 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.
In the spring, we are already planning to welcome Cooper Drury from University of Missouri Columbia and Amaney Jamal from Princeton University for talks. Drury is the chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri and editor of the well- known journal Foreign Policy Analysis. Jamal is an Associate Professor who is widely known for her work on democratization and the politics of civic engagement in the Arab world. Her book Barriers to Democracy won the Best Book Award from Comparative Democratization Section of the American Political Science Association.
Professors win Prominent Teaching Awards
Dr. 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.
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
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.
Advisor and 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.
A Talk by Jack S. Levy, Board of Governors Professor, Rutgers University, Theory
and Practice of Preventive War, 27 September 2012.