Kansas State University


Political Science

A Note from the Department Head

It is both an exhilarating and a challenging time for K-State Political Science.  It is exhilarating because our students and faculty continue to flourish. As the following stories illustrate, our students have continued our long tradition of competing for nationally prestigious awards. They also go on to a wide range of noted law schools, graduate schools, and careers. Our faculty members continue to rack up an ever growing number of accolades for their teaching and research. Two outstanding political science professors won KSU teaching awards this spring, adding to our already lengthy roster of award winning teachers. In research, members of our faculty continue to be invited to eminent universities to present their scholarship and to leadership positions within our disciplinary organizations.  Given the ever-growing national and international visibility of our faculty and the many successes of our outstanding students, it is in a whole host of ways a great time for K-State Political Science.

If you follow the news, however, you are also no doubt aware that public universities face a growing number of fiscal challenges. In our department, permanent, base budget cuts this year and next have resulted in a 20% reduction in our Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) budget and the loss of one faculty position.  If state or university budgets necessitate additional reductions in coming months and years, we will have no other option but to surrender more faculty and GTA positions. As you might guess, this is highly disappointing on many levels. Most troubling of all is the impact that ongoing budget cuts will have on students. At a time when students are asked to pay increasingly higher tuition rates and are saddled with record levels of student loan debt, the reduction in our faculty and GTA numbers means that we will be able to provide fewer and less varied courses to our majors. As our staff shrinks, we will also engage in less of the cutting edge research that has so excited students in our classrooms over recent years, and the scale of our public service activities will decline proportionally as well.

Our department has thus reached unprecedented heights in recent years, but we also face unprecedented challenges. Rest assured that with our tremendous faculty and staff and the motivated students that gravitate toward our major, we will overcome the various obstacles in our path and continue to excel.  As always, we will do everything possible to provide a world class education to each new cohort of K-Staters, and we will endeavor to make our alumni and friends proud.

I encourage you to read the summer edition of our newsletter to see some of the great things our students and faculty are doing.  Like many academic departments in public universities across the nation, we face uncommon fiscal trials at this time.  But, in typical K-State fashion, we continue to thrive!

Jeff Pickering

Department Head

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