Speakers of Note
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
Watch Amaney Jamal's talk: "US Foreign Policy and Democratization in the Middle East"
Jack S. Levy
Jack S. Levy, Board of Governors' Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University and Affiliate at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University, gave a two part lecture at Kansas State University entitled "Theory and Practice of Preventive War" on September 27, 2012.
Mark Tessler, 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 entitled "Islam and the Search for a Political Formula: Findings from the Arab Barometer" in the Leadership Studies' Town Hall on November 4, 2013.
Watch Mark Tessler's talk: "Islam and the Search for a Political Formula: Findings from the Arab Barometer"
I enjoy recalling my days with the Kansas State Department of Political Science in Waters Hall. KSU Politcal Science classes were the beginning of a wonderful journey in my life. Following graduation from Kansas State in 1999, I attended the University of Kansas School of Law, and I received my law degree in 2002. That same year, I joined the law firm of Lathrop & Gage LLP in Kansas City, Missouri, and Overland Park, Kansas, and I am now a partner in the firm.
My political science education from Kansas State has been critically important to my career. I think the main reason is that I learned the importance of empathy in the political and business context; that is, to put myself in someone else's place (in the world of political science: a country, a political party, a religious group, or an individual leader) so I can better recognize, appreciate, and understand the thought processes and the needs that guide others' decisions and actions. Those lessons apply not just on a large geo-political scale, but in my day-to-day life as a lawyer, business owner, and community volunteer. When I truly understand the motivations and needs of another individual (opposing counsel, a concerned public citizen, a reluctant board member), I find that my negotiations for--and even just my conversations with--my clients, business partners, and colleagues are more successful.
I have been and remain a strong believer in the importance of a liberal arts education, and together with my bachelor of arts in political science, I received a B.A. in Modern Languages/Spanish from Kansas State. I was also honored to be accepted into Phi Beta Kappa. I would highly recommend that students in the political science department seek out opportunities to add an "arts and culture" lens to their political science education. Again, a well-developed sense of empathy can come by taking the time to learn about and appreciate another's society, history, language, literature, and culture. And whether in academics, business, the law, or your community, it's an important and valuable skill to have, to be able to truly see all of the variables in a situation or problem.
I have the privilege of representing public school districts, cities, and other governmental entities, and I serve on public boards myself, so politics and public affairs are simply parts of my daily business life. The Kansas State University Department of Political Science certainly helped me develop a critical perspective on, and a thoughtful approach to, all matters of public concern.
I was so appreciative of the type of training I received while earning my BA in Political Science from KSU, I decided to continue in the Master of Public Administration program in the department. As part of my graduate work, I was required to intern with a government agency. In my case, that internship was with the Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit—a small legislative staff agency that conducts performance audits of Kansas state agencies and programs. Those audits evaluate how efficiently and effectively state government is working, and include recommendations for improvement.
While still completing my degree requirements, I was offered and quickly accepted a job with the division as an associate auditor. Much to the credit of K-State’s program and several very dedicated professors who mentored me along the way, my new job was a perfect fit for my particular talents and my educational background.
After several years, I was eventually promoted to the Deputy position within the division. In that role I work closely with Kansas legislators to help them develop audit requests, manage several audit teams, and direct our division’s IT security and data mining work. Not surprisingly, I regard my time in K-State’s BA and graduate Public Administration programs as the fundamental foundation of my career success, and I would highly recommend a career in state government (and the Legislature in particular) to any aspiring public servants.