Kansas State University


Political Science

Patricia A. Seitz Named Alumni Fellow

KSU President Kirk Schulz, Judge Patricia Seitz, and Dean Peter Dorhout at the Alumni Fellow Award Ceremony

Senior US District Judge Patricia Seitz, BA 1968, was honored as a University Alumni SeitzFellow in April. Judge Seitz spent two days on campus, and shared her knowledge 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.

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Earhart Foundation to Sponsor Mini-Conference in Department

The Earhart Foundation, a charitable foundation established in 1929 by Harry Boyd Earhart, has provided a $7,500 grant to Dr. Laurie Johnson 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 will be held Friday, March 27, 2015 in KSU’s Hale Library (Hemisphere Room, 5th Floor). It is open to the public, and interested individuals are encouraged to attend.

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Notable Alumni Visit KSU Political Science Classes

Three additional KSU alumni recently returned to Manhattan and spoke to KSU Political Science classes.

John Hofmeister
John Hofmeister

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 class, 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. Talk about learning from a respected and knowledgeable source! John was also gracious enough to speak at a number of other venues on campus, including giving the Lou Douglas Lecture that evening.

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Heidbreder Promoted to Associate Professor

Dr. Brianne Heidbreder
Dr. Brianne Heidbreder

Brianne Heidbreder was promoted to associate professor with tenure in August 2014.  Brianne joined the department as a faculty member in August 2008 and quickly developed a reputation as an outstanding teacher and scholar.  She has already won the William L. Stamey Award for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence at KSU, and has published in outlets such as Legislative Studies Quarterly and State Politics and Policy Quarterly.  We are thrilled she will be a Wildcat for some time to come.

Annual Scholarship Reception and Scholarship Winners

Dr. Jim Franke and Dr. John Fliter presenting awards to students
Dr. Jim Franke and Dr. John Fliter presenting awards to students

The department held its annual scholarship reception on Thursday, April 17th, at the Bluemont Room in the K-State Student Union. Family, guests, donors, and faculty members joined our scholarship winners and majors for an enjoyable afternoon. Please consider joining the fun at this years’s reception, which will be held at the Manhattan Country Club on Friday, April 10, 2015.

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KSU Political Science Honor Roll of Giving, July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014

Generous gifts by alumni and friends are crucial to the success of our students and faculty. Such donations have helped us to support talented undergraduate students, attract quality graduate students, and enhance our instructional and research equipment, and send students and faculty to conferences to present their research findings and to stay on the cutting edge of knowledge. We are extremely thankful to those who have contributed to the department, and are pleased to recognize those giving more than $100 in our Honor Roll of Giving.

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Faculty Updates

Dr. Nathaniel Birkhead
Dr. Nathaniel Birkhead

Our faculty continues to be extremely active in the profession, as the highlights below illustrate.  As many readers can surely testify, our outstanding professors are dedicated to excellence both as teachers and as scholars. They work hard to ensure that the best new knowledge is brought into the classroom for K-State students, so that generation after generation of K-Staters receive a first class education. Below you will find a few highlights from what has been yet another strong year for faculty in the KSU Department of Political Science.

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A Note from the Department Head

Jeff PickeringK-State has set a lofty goal of becoming a top 50 public research university by 2025. This goal has multiple components, but two are perhaps central. The first is a positive, student-centered atmosphere with a concentration on excellent teaching. The second is outstanding scholarship and research, which informs and improves instruction while it simultaneously benefits society as a whole. As you know, K-State Political Science has been successful in both of these key endeavors for some time, and we continue to move from strength to strength.

We are going to highlight our commitment to students and to research success in a series of e-newsletters this fall (you probably noticed the change in format!).  The first e-newsletter will focus on the accomplishments of our outstanding undergraduate majors and our faculty’s commitment to undergraduate teaching. The second will share information on our recent research accomplishments, which continue to raise the department’s visibility in the US and across the globe. We will also highlight the generous charitable gifts provided by alumni and friends in this second fall e-newsletter installment. We could never do many of the positive, enriching things that we do without your support.

The third e-newsletter will concentrate on our graduate programs, which are in the process of undergoing substantial revision following feedback from students, the MPA program executive advisory council, and outside evaluators. We consistently work to improve our already strong graduate programs (as we do our undergraduate programs and all of our academic endeavors), and always welcome your ideas for further improvement.     

We would also appreciate feedback on our new e-newsletter format.  We are excited about it because it allows us to communicate with you more frequently and to provide a little more depth to the information that we share.  Don’t worry – we would certainly never overload your email in-box! We know that life is frequently busy in today’s world, and that there is such a thing as “too much information.”  We would be honored, however, to share highlights with you periodically.

As always, if you happen to be in Manhattan, please stop by and visit!  

Jeffrey Pickering
Department Head

A Note from the Department Head

Jeff PickeringAs promised last month, this is the second installment of KSU Political Science’s fall newsletter. This installment focuses on some of the research accomplishments of our faculty. As this brief glimpse should indicate, we are increasingly becoming an energetic hub of research activity in the profession. Major scholars visit our campus, our faculty are invited to give talks around the world, and we continue to publish in the most visible and elite outlets in the discipline. Such research activity not only helps our faculty members bring relevant, cutting edge knowledge into the classroom, it bolsters the reputation of our professors and helps to open doors for our students.

In fact, it would probably be hard to enumerate the many tangible and intangible benefits that our sustained research productivity has for both students and the department. Such benefits are definitely “felt” in the energy of an active department nonetheless, as are various positive outcomes for students, alumni and faculty.

As always, we welcome your feedback on this newsletter or on any other matter.

Jeffrey Pickering
Department Head