Political Science Department Hosts Conference on Middle East Politics

After the Uprisings Conference

After the Uprisings Conference

Michael W. Suleiman Chair and Political Science Professor Sabri Ciftci hosted and organized a workshop at K-State entitled “After the Uprisings: Public Opinion, Gender, and Conflict in the Middle East” on May 5th.  The workshop is part of a series of events planned around the Suleiman Chair to highlight the study of Arab and Middle Eastern issues at Kansas State University over coming years. The conference provided a unique forum to discuss the current state of knowledge on politics in Middle East and was well attended by faculty, students, military personnel, and community members. Continue reading

Jessica Gittemeier Nominated for Udall Scholarship

Jessie Gittemeier

Jessica Gittemeier

Jessica Gittemeier was one of five students Kansas State University nominated for the Morris K. Udall Undergraduate Scholarship in spring.

Gittemeier, a sophomore in political science and pre-law, plans to attend law school and then begin practice in environmental law. She hopes to work for a nongovernmental organization or lobbying group to address environmental pollution.

Gittemeier is a member of Pi Beta Phi, Students for Environmental Action and the Honors Program and is a former member of the Hillary Clinton Fellowship. She is the president of the university’s Young Democrats. She received the K-State Medallion Scholarship. A graduate of Blue Valley North High School, she is the daughter of Joe and Kristi Gittemeier. Continue reading

Political Science Major Jessica Van Ranken Elected Student Body President

Student Body President Jessica Van Ranken and Student Body Vice President Trenton Kennedy

Student Body President Jessica Van Ranken and Student Body Vice President Trenton Kennedy

Jessica Van Ranken, junior in political science, was elected 2016-2017 KSU student body president. Trenton Kennedy, junior in entrepreneurship, was elected as the study body vice president.

Van Ranken and Kennedy took office on April 7, and began advocating for the three initiatives of their campaign: mental wellness, diversity and political advocacy. Continue reading

General Richard Myers Co-Teaches KSU’s American Foreign Policy Class

General Richard Myers

General Richard Myers

Retired Air Force General and interim KSU President Richard Myers co-taught Kansas State University’s American Foreign Policy class with Michael Flynn, assistant professor in political science, this spring.

“The idea was for us to coordinate on a set of topics and spend the week talking about those topics from the perspectives of academics and practitioners,” Flynn said. “Myers’ lectures are a great opportunity to help students translate the ideas and principles that we discuss in class into practice. These different viewpoints are not something every college student can experience.”

“We will lecture on the same topic and our coverage overlaps in many respects,” Flynn said. “But where I offer a broader more macro view and supplement with data, Gen. Myers tends to offer more refined and detailed information on the process and his experiences.” Continue reading

Political Science Honors Students at Scholarship Reception

The department held its annual scholarship reception on Friday, April 22, at the Manhattan Country Club.  Family, guests, donors, and faculty members joined our scholarship recipients and students for a lovely afternoon.  The department awarded $17,800 in scholarship funds to undergraduate students, $5,700 for graduate scholarships, and $87,450 for graduate assistantships for the 2016-2017 academic year.  Graduate assistantships also include over $76,433 in total tuition support.

The scholarships awarded recognize students for their academic achievements and support their continuing education. Ellen Crocombe, winner of the Reba L. Cobb Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Women in Political Science, expressed her thanks at being honored at the reception.  She remarked, “After the semesters of dedication I have put into the program, I can honestly say that I do not know a major that would fit my needs and passions better than Political Science. This scholarship will not only ease the burden of having to alter my attention away from school due to financial restrictions my senior year, but will bring my education into a new perspective.” A similar sentiment is expressed by Monica Macfarlane, an incoming graduate teaching assistant in the master of public administration program, who stated “I know that the Master of Public Administration Program here at Kansas State University is the best path to take toward my professional goals of working to resolve community issues. I am truly grateful to be awarded the opportunity to continue my educational journey at Kansas State University, as it will be an honor to work with the faculty that I have come to admire and respect.” Continue reading

Sabri Ciftci Wins 2016 William L. Stamey Award for Undergraduate Teaching

Dr. Sabri Ciftci

Dr. Sabri Ciftci

Sabri Ciftci, Michael W. Suleiman Chair in Arab and Arab-American Studies in the Department of Political Science, received a 2016 College of Arts and Sciences William L. Stamey Award for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence.  Dr. Ciftci is known for being a challenging instructor who cares a great deal about his students and their success. He uses a range of active learning techniques to enliven his instruction, and he goes to great lengths to help students understand cultural differences and grasp the importance of tolerance in his classes.

Ciftci teaches courses on Middle Eastern Politics, Political Islam, Comparative Politics, and Research Methods for the department. Ciftci is a prolific scholar as well as a superb teacher. His research focuses on Islam and democracy, Arab public opinion, and Turkish foreign policy. His most recent projects examine anti-Americanism in the Middle East and religious tolerance.  He has published widely in journals like Comparative Political Studies, Political Research Quarterly, International Journal of Middle East Studies, and Foreign Policy Analysis.

Nathaniel Birkhead Wins 2016 Commerce Bank and William T. Kemper Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award

Dr. Nathaniel Birkhead

Dr. Nathaniel Birkhead

Nathaniel Birkhead, assistant professor, was one of four KSU faculty members awarded the Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award this year.  The Commerce Bank Award is a university wide recognition, which only one faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences receives annually. Birkhead’s main area of teaching is American politics, focusing on Congress, the presidency and political participation. He was associate instructor of the year for the department of political science at Indiana University in 2011.

Political Science department head Jeff Pickering noted how deserving Birkhead was of the award.  “Nate is an amazing instructor who shares his passion and enthusiasm for study of American politics with students. K-Staters are fortunate to learn from such a dedicated and hard-working teacher and scholar, who will undoubtedly have a major, positive influence on students for years to come.”
Continue reading

Kansas State University Nominates Two Political Science Majors for Truman Scholarship

Sierra Lekie, a junior in political science and economics, and Jill Applegate, senior in political science and Spanish, have been nominated for the 2016 Harry S. Truman Scholarship. The Truman Scholarship recognizes students with exceptional leadership potential who will pursue careers in public service, government, or the nonprofit sector.  It provides up to $30,000 in financial support for graduate school.  Four students from K-State were nominated, and we are extremely proud that Sierra and Jill were among them.  Continue reading

A Note from the Department Head

KSU Political Science Faculty and Staff, Fall 2015

KSU Political Science Faculty and Staff, Fall 2015

As promised, here is the second edition of our fall 2015 newsletter.  In this edition, you will find news about our faculty and the teaching and research endeavors that are helping us to reach our 2025 goals.  Political Science faculty have recently won major paper awards, teaching awards, and have given notable invited talks.  Such energy and activity makes KSU Political Science a great place for students to learn, as faculty members bring fresh and exciting knowledge into the classroom.

We hope that you enjoy this edition of our e-newsletter.

Jeff Pickering

Professor and Head


Ciftci Named Michael W. Suleiman Chair in Arab and Arab-American Studies

President Kirk Schultz, Dr. Sabri Ciftci, and Provost April Mason

President Kirk Schulz, Dr. Sabri Ciftci, and Provost April Mason

Sabri Ciftci (associate professor) has been appointed the Michael W. Suleiman Chair in Arab and Arab-American Studies in the Department of Political Science. “I am truly honored to hold this title,” Ciftci said. “Michael W. Suleiman has been a pioneer in Arab studies. Building on his legacy, I believe we can advance the study of Middle East in the Department of Political Science and at Kansas State University. Activities associated with the Michael W. Suleiman chair will help to build an intellectually vibrant community on campus and they fit well with K-State’s vision to be among the top 50 public research universities by 2025.” Continue reading